Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mixed Use = "Just shut up please"?

In the last couple of weeks, I was faced several times with the same kind of comments, expressed directly or indirectly. The gist is that I "should have understood" when I moved here that West Oakland is a mixed use area. And "there are just certain things that go with making this choice". Followed by references to drugs, violence and prostitution.

I have been trying to tease out the logic from this, and I think it is roughly this: "mixed use" means businesses get to treat West Oakland as "industrial only", because whatever they choose to do here has to be better than poor people and poor people's problems.

"Mixed use" does not mean that businesses have a responsibility to residents' health and well-being, or that they "should have understood" that this is also a residential area, or that business owners need to treat residents with any semblance of respect.

"Mixed use" in West Oakland means as a resident you're a victim, and get used to it.

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