Student Reports

Implementing a Community Preference Policy for Affordable Housing in Berkeley

Eli Kaplan

This report seeks to help the City of Berkeley better understand the possibilities and constraints for a community preference policy. At present, both current and displaced Berkeley residents are no more likely to obtain affordable housing in their city than a similar applicant with no connection to Berkeley. However, local governments across the country have adopted preference policies that increase the likelihood that applicants meeting certain criteria obtain affordable housing. This research uses case studies to investigate how a community preference policy could be effectively implemented in Berkeley. Based on findings from the case studies, this report makes recommendations for how the City could construct a community preference policy for Berkeley that is feasible to implement in the short-term. The report then concludes by proposing more substantial changes that the City of Berkeley could make to its affordable housing processes to enable a more effective community preference policy that can stem displacement and promote housing stability for Berkeley’s low-income households and communities of color.

Read the report here.

Punitive to Rehabilitative: Strategies for Live-Work Preservation in Oakland

Viktor Bensus, Irene Calimlin, Anna Cash, Scott Chilberg, Reshad Hai, Eli Kaplan, and Aline Tanielian

This studio course report explores strategies to preserve live-work spaces in a post-Ghost Ship fire Oakland, specifically focusing on rehabilitative code enforcement for non-conforming spaces that seeks to keep people safe and also mitigate displacement, as well as affordability strategies for  for live-work spaces.

Read the report here.

How is Oakland Living? A Tenure Diversity Analysis

Anna Cash

This report describes a new type of housing analysis, tenure diversity analysis. Tenure diversity analysis aims to describe the state-of-housing in a determined geography, delineating between different types of legal housing arrangements (tenure types), and the protections connected to each tenure type. Tenure diversity analysis is by definition broad and inclusive; fifty-five tenure types were included as part of this analysis. This report describes the process of piloting this tenure diversity analysis in Oakland, California, and the preliminary findings of this work, with a focus on gaps in protection. When we bring protections to light, unprotected spaces and people also come to the fore.

Read the report here.

Community Land Trusts as Neighborhood Stabilization

James Yelen

Grounded in a case study of Oakland during and after the 2008 financial crisis, this paper investigates the role that community land trusts can play as a stabilizing force in neighborhoods coping with the volatility of a boom-and-bust housing market. It then uses a series of interviews with CLT homeowners - both in Oakland and in four other land trusts - to explore the life experiences that shaped their housing search and how the model has impacted their relationship to their neighborhood, their community, and their home.  

Read the report here.


Catching Affordability Where It's At: Acquisition/Rehab of Oakland's Unsubsidized Affordable Housing

Somaya Abdelgany

The purpose of this report is to synthesize the lessons learned thus far and further inform the process of preserving the affordability and physical integrity of Oakland’s housing stock through a large-scale acquisition/rehab strategy. The report begins by highlighting the threat of displacement in Oakland and describing the mechanics of acquisition/rehab as an anti-displacement strategy. The following section analyzes the supply of unsubsidized affordable housing in Oakland to help define the scope of work and property types that mission-driven groups engaged in acquisition/rehab will need to target. Finally, the report concludes with a discussion about existing and potential stakeholder relationships, financing, and policy tools that can be leveraged to execute an effective, collaborative, and inclusive citywide acquisition/rehab strategy in Oakland.

Read the report here.