five-one-oh

Living local, urban design, sustainability, landscape architecture, and places in the East Bay. Design that works where it is.

Longfellow Neighborhood, Oakland

Victorian sisters viewed through transmission lines

Victorian sisters viewed through transmission lines

This week, my office is moving from the Longfellow neighborhood in Oakland. Each day I take a walk through the area and, in the three years I’ve been here, Longfellow has become a good friend. In March, I wrote a post about the vibrance and cultural diversity of Longfellow.

Sunflower FenceToday, I want to show you the Longfellow I’ve known. Longfellow is a predominantly African-american neighborhood, tucked into a corner created by two freeways. Its economic demographic ranges from poor to working class.

This is mainly a photo essay but there are moments and people I never captured on film. I witnessed more than one memorial to a neighbor who died too young and for no good reason. There are always people outdoors, walking, riding bikes, or hanging out in front of garages. The air often smells of pot. People in Longfellow are kind to me, asking how I’m doing and calling me “Honey.”

Vacant Lot

There are a few things that show up in the photos that I’d like you to notice:

  • Poor neighborhoods tend to have excessive overhead transmission lines.
  • People in disadvantaged neighborhoods live with a lot of billboards.
  • The large quantity of liquor stores is exceeded by the number of churches.
  • There are pockets of creativity, pride, and beauty throughout the neighborhood.

These photos were taken over the last three years. Many of the things photographed are gone now. Monday morning, I’ll be gone, too. I’ll come back to visit but I’ll miss being part of the Longfellow neighborhood. Please click on a photo below to start a slideshow.

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2 comments on “Longfellow Neighborhood, Oakland

  1. Aunt Beulah
    July 19, 2015

    What a marvelous record of a place you know and have enjoyed. The photographs are spectacular, giving me a feel for the Longfellow neighborhood as you saw it. Your words strengthen the photographs, particularly the list of things you wanted us to notice. Looking for them touched my heart and well as my eyes. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on July 9, 2015 by in Oakland and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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