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Lafayette Square is in the heart of former Mayor Jerry Brown’s '10K Plan', a major redevelopment initiative to lure 10,000 new residents to the area. The park, located between 10th & 11th and Jefferson & MLK, is surrounded by lots of new residential building projects. Even though some have been stalled by the recent economic downturn, people in the neighborhood are excited by this long-awaited renaissance a 40 year-old promise of change. Old Oakland Neighbors, a local community group formed in 2006, takes care of Lafayette Square and also holds many picnics, clean-ups and other events in the park.

In Oakland’s early days, there used to be a school right across from this park. In 1883, Anthony Chabot donated an observatory to the school and located it in the park. The observatory stayed in Lafayette Square until the city became too bright. It has moved a few times, and now it is up in the Oakland hills as part of the Chabot Space and Science Center.

In the early 1990s the city decided to give Lafayette Square a much-needed facelift. Walter Hood, an Oakland-based landscape architect, was chosen for the job. His belief that "urban park design should accommodate the people who already use them" guided his project. Hood and the other planners involved came up with a design that included rather than excluded the homeless who regularly used the park. Access to restrooms, shelter from rain, and barbeque pits were features requested by the regulars in planning sessions.

Downtown Oakland, CA


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lafayette square park lincoln square park madison square park jefferson square park