By Sophie Haas
4 May 2018
On May 4, 2018, undergraduate students in City & Regional Planning Lecturer Miriam Chion’s City Planning 116 (CP116) class hosted a panel to discuss proposals aimed at reinventing the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center, located in Downtown Berkeley. The panel was composed of students, instructors, and local experts.
Since its construction, the Berkeley Civic Center has had a controversial presence in the community. Civic Center Park continues to be a site of public events, concerts and fairs, and the adjacent Center Street hosts a weekly Saturday Farmers' Market.
That being said, the Civic Center has also been the backdrop of controversial rallies that have become violent, causing an estimated $500,000 in damage. Furthermore, the Civic Center has also been criticized for its large homeless population and for its lack of seismic retrofitting.
To address these issues, the students of CP116 created proposals which reimagined the future of the space. The panel was composed of six proposals: Market the Park, Citizengagement, The Berkeley Promenade, Oasis, Nu Urbanists, and Connectivity.
Proposals ranged from a plan to strip the area of pavements and roads so that motorists and pedestrians are given equal priority in the space to a plan to economically revitalize the space by creating outdoor event space, enhancing transportation, and repurposing the historic post office to include office space and vendors.
Full proposals from CP116 can be viewed here.