David Brower Center/Oxford Plaza

Vision: Create an international center for environmental education and activism (David Brower Center) alongside 96 units of 100 percent affordable workforce housing (Oxford Plaza) on a city-owned parking lot in downtown Berkeley.

Challenge: Opposition came from downtown merchants, preservationists, people who thought the project was too big, people who opposed more affordable housing in the downtown area and those who felt it was a city land give-away.

Solution: CDA Strategies organized the public outreach campaign that addressed these concerns. We worked with local merchants to ensure parking would be replaced. We promoted the building’s green design by a world-renowned architect setting standards in environmental design to counter critics of the design.

We built alliances among the environmental, affordable housing and smart-growth communities resulting in a successful letter-writing campaign and turning people out to testify at public meetings and demonstrate overwhelmingly widespread support for the project.

Success: The project received its use permit. However, opponents staged a last-minute referendum attempt to stop the project. CDA Strategies helped out-organize the opponents and prevented them from gathering enough signatures through an intense, grassroots counter-campaign.

For more information: www.browercenter.org