We Serve

We serve East Oakland California!

Our projects are rooted in Deep East Oakland, with every part of the plan shifting power dynamics which give residents and neighborhoods the ability to design, build, and implement infrastructure that reduces greenhouse gasses, prevents displacement, improves public health, builds economic empowerment, and promotes long term sustainability through community involvement.

The number of socially and economically vulnerable residents in the BNSN project Area heightens the importance of developing resilient infrastructure and investments that give all communities the opportunity to thrive. The Project area is 4.96 square miles with 41,566 residents in six Neighborhoods. The project ranks in the 90th percentile in pollution burden and socioeconomic vulnerability per CalEnviroScreen 3.0.  

The current ethnic breakdown of the six neighborhoods is 28% African American and 59% Latino, with significant shifts occurring in the last 10 years resulting in a higher percentage of Latinos and a lower percentage of African American residents. 

Launched by the East Oakland Neighborhood Initiative, Better Neighborhoods Same Neighbors represents a City-Community Partnership launched by EONI and put into action with BNSN. Challenging the typical top-down approach to community development, the “Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors” Initiative builds on decades of activism in East Oakland, and EONI, a partnership between the City of Oakland and twelve community-based organizations focused on equity-based planning for “Deep” East Oakland. 

In 2017 the EONI partners approached the City of Oakland and asked to partner on a Strategic Growth Council Transformative Climate Community Planning Grant. The TCC Planning Grant resulted in the Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors (BNSN) community plan that was the framework that prioritized projects to address key issues for the project area. 

In July 2020, the California Strategic Growth Council’s Transformative Climate Communities Program awarded the City of Oakland “Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors” An East Oakland Neighborhood Initiative with a $28.2 grant to implement five projects over a four-year timeframe.

The project elements are consistent with adopted City of Oakland plans and policies:

Our Focus


The Project Area is 4.96 square miles in East Oakland with approximately 41,566 residents in six neighborhoods, include the Oakland International Airport, Oakland Coliseum, Coliseum BART station, the MLK Shoreline Park, the San Leandro Creek, the Capitol Corridor Amtrak and multiple public facilities (libraries, recreation centers and schools).

Project Details

Workforce Development

The City of Oakland Workforce Development Board, in partnership with the Black Cultural Zone CDC, West Oakland Job Resource Center, Cypress Mandela and Merritt College, will provide a range of services designed to help local residents access jobs and training leading to high-paying, in-demand jobs and establish more than 100 jobs in the Project Area.

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East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative will lead the displacement avoidance work by connecting East Oakland residents with programs to halt displacement, build community wealth, and produce Additional Dwelling Units

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95th and International Housing Health and Connectivity

The project, led by Related Companies of California and Acts Community Development, will create 55 units of 100% affordable housing (20% to 50% of Average Median Income (AMI) with 25% of the units designated for homeless populations) on 95th Avenue and International Boulevard. The ground floor will include a community health clinic.

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Community Engagement
The BCZ, conceptualized in 2014 by community and supported by the East Oakland Neighborhood Initiative (EONI), is uniquely positioned for this work because of our existing collaborative work with over twenty community organizations in the Project Area. The BCZ will ensure inclusive community engagement with residents, businesses, organizations, influencers and other stakeholders in the Project Area by seeking input and providing progress on Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors Projects, Displacement Avoidance Support and Workforce Support.
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San Leandro Creek Urban Greenway
A 1.2-mile trail will be opened to East Oakland and regional residents, transforming a maintenance road into a public pathway from Deep East Oakland to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline Park. The project was initiated by the David R. Brower, Ronald V. Dellums Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies and Action with partners, Sobrante Park Resident Action Council, Higher Ground, Planting Justice, Merritt College and Madison Park Academy who are providing community design, furnishings and landscaping. The channel and access road is owned and managed by the Alameda County Flood Control District. Under TCC funding, the East Bay Regional Parks District thru a license agreement with the Alameda County Flood Control District, will provide staff for maintenance and operations, trail security, active transportation, recreation, access to open space and environmental education programming for the portion of the trail between the Shoreline and 98th Avenue.
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Community Greening

The Community Greening Project will bring together multiple community groups, organizations and local jurisdictions to plant 2,000 trees in the Project Area through a combination of street trees and trees on privately owned properties. Some of the trees will be locally sourced from the Planting Justice nursery, with the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation partnering with community organizations to provide training and paid internships for tree planting.

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Planting Justice Aquaponics Farm and Food Hub

Planting Justice will acquire a historic three-acre nursery and support neighborhood residents in building out the largest/most productive urban aquaponics farm in the U.S. The site will produce hundreds of thousands of pounds of organic produce and edible nursery starts each year, create 27 living-wage jobs, house a food hub in Oakland’s most segregated neighborhood, and serve youth education, health/wellness, community development, and business incubation programming.

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Higher Ground & Scraper Bike Team Bike Share and Youth Development

The Scraper Bike Team will partner with Higher Ground to teach bike safety and bike repair afterschool enrichment classes, and offer long-term bike lending to youth. The Oakland Public Library will also design and construct an expanded bike repair and programming space known as “The Shed” located at Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch Library. The City of Oakland’s Department of Transportation will collaborate with Scraper Bike Team and Higher Ground to implement and grow the East Oakland Mobility Action Plan.

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