Community support and public engagement for People's Park Housing.
Plans for new student housing, permanent supportive housing, and revitalized open space at People’s Park have gained support from the mayor, members of the city council, the media, our neighbors, local churches, faculty experts and professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping and supporting unhoused people. We are grateful for their endorsements.
The park has played various symbolic roles in the last 50 years, and today, it is time for it to play yet another — one that includes housing and support for the homeless, green open space that honors the park’s history and dense student housing. We are committed to guiding that transition.Berkeley City Council member Rigel Robinson, Berkeley Vice Mayor Lori Droste, and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín
I strongly support the university’s vision for the future of People’s Park. We can honor its rich history, while reimagining it as a place where all people can come together, where we can shelter our homeless and provide needed housing for our students.Jesse Arreguín, Mayor, City of Berkeley
We have also taken an important step to ensure we are listening to the full range of representative student perspectives regarding housing issues in general, and plans for People's Park in particular.
In August 2021, the campus engaged a leading independent survey firm with extensive experience helping student voices to be heard on university campuses across the country. They conducted a scientific, random sample survey of current students. As part of our commitment to full transparency, you are invited to review the methodology and initial data set, as well as the actual survey that was sent to students.
Survey results show that:
- 68% of students support our plans for undergraduate apartments at People's Park, and 16% neither support nor oppose.
- 70% of students support our plans for a renewed park and open space, and 22% neither support nor oppose.
- 67% support our plans for permanent supportive housing for unhoused people and lower-income residents at People's Park, and 19% neither support nor oppose.
That same survey also found significant levels of concern regarding the project's impact on unhoused people. The campus shall continue to heed and respect those voices, by virtue of our change of plans proceed with construction only after having a plan in place that will offer access to shelter and services to the people currently sleeping in the park, and our commitment to new supportive housing on the People's Park site. In addition, there is work underway to expand and extend our academic programs and external partnerships that are focused on addressing the effects of, and developing solutions for, the housing crisis in our city, state, and country.
The campus has solicited extensive public feedback regarding our plans for People's Park.
When our public engagement process began over three years ago, we started with small and individual meetings to discuss the site and consider opinions about the future from a variety of perspectives. The next phase of engagement included focus groups with the architects and representatives from the campus and city communities, to formulate site layout options and project concepts. This was followed by large open house events open to the general public. Each successive open house introduced ideas, tested concepts, and allowed everyone to share their thoughts and ask questions directly with the project team. There have also been numerous opportunities for public comment on the project and its environmental review.