Hella Town: Oakland’s History of Development and Disruption Hardcover – September 28, 2021 by Mitchell Schwarzer

> > SKU: 0520381122


[424 pages]

PUB: September 28, 2021

$26.95 $18.72

5 in stock



Author: Schwarzer Mitchell

Edition: First

Package Dimensions: 0x229x788

Number Of Pages: 424

Release Date: 28-09-2021

Details: Product Description

Hella Town reveals the profound impact of transportation improvements, systemic racism, and regional competition on Oakland’s built environment.

Often overshadowed by San Francisco, its larger and more glamorous twin, Oakland has a fascinating history of its own. From serving as a major transportation hub to forging a dynamic manufacturing sector, by the mid-twentieth century Oakland had become the urban center of the East Bay.
Hella Town focuses on how political deals, economic schemes, and technological innovations fueled this emergence but also seeded the city’s postwar struggles.

Toward the turn of the millennium, as immigration from Latin America and East Asia increased, Oakland became one of the most diverse cities in the country. The city still grapples with the consequences of uneven class- and race-based development-amid-disruption. How do past decisions about where to locate highways or public transit, urban renewal districts or civic venues, parks or shopping centers, influence how Oaklanders live today? A history of Oakland’s buildings and landscapes, its booms and its busts, provides insight into its current conditions: an influx of new residents and businesses, skyrocketing housing costs, and a lingering chasm between the haves and have-nots.


“Schwarzer’s biography of Oakland is a big book, an important book, a powerful book and an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to reform the city by any means necessary.”


From the Back Cover

“Mitchell Schwarzer provides an engaging and comprehensive history of Oakland’s built environment. Meticulously researched,
Hella Town examines the forces that shaped the city’s landscape and exposes the structural racism that created and maintained the societal inequities that persist today. The book is a must-read for anyone seeking to better understand this fascinating city.”—Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland

Hella Town ambitiously and thoughtfully tells Oakland’s history from its cycles of expansion and industrialization to its current landscape of technology startups and gentrifying neighborhoods alongside trenchant poverty and homelessness. It is a must-read for those who want to understand how American cities get built and unbuilt.”—Mabel O. Wilson, Professor, Columbia University

“An absolutely first-rate work that fills a huge gap in our history. While Silicon Valley rules the internet, San Francisco is world-renowned, and Berkeley symbolizes American radicalism, Oakland is regularly overlooked. This great city deserves its day in the sun for being, again and again, the most dynamic, fascinating, and tragic part of the Bay Area.”—Richard Walker, author of
Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area

“Mitchell Schwarzer’s
Hella Town reads like a virtual roadmap through the complex web of discriminatory practices, policy, shortsightedness and greed that got us into the dual housing and identity crises we find ourselves in today. Will the people and the spirit that made the Bay, the Bay, be driven out along the fault lines of inequity, or will the land between the redwoods and the water prove just how resilient the spirit of the Town really is? My money is on the Town.”—Rafael Casal, actor and co-creator of

About the Author

Mitchell Schwarzer is Professor of Architectural and Urban History at the California College of the Arts, Oakland and San Francisco. His books include
Architecture of the San Francisco Bay Area;
Zoomscape: Architecture in Motion and Media; and
German Architectural Theory and the Search for Modern Identity.

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