Ed Roberts Campus

Vision: After Ed Roberts passed away in 1995, Berkeley’s disability community came together to develop the Ed Roberts Campus in tribute to the “father of the Independent Living Movement.” The client’s goal was to build the nation’s first universally designed, transit-oriented development serving people with disabilities. The Campus would offer a wide range of programs and direct services to the disability community; from legal advocacy and job training to parenting support and wheelchair sports — all under one roof.

Challenge: The desired site for this ambitious development was a parking lot adjacent to the Ashby BART Station and surrounded on three sides by residential neighbors. Although BART owned the land, the City of Berkeley had a development option on the “air rights.” For more than 35 years, successive developers had failed to find a way to bring BART, the City and the residents together.

Solution: CDA Strategies was hired to manage community, government and media relations for the project. Highlights of our intensive outreach campaign included community design workshops with the architects; informal “kitchen chats” with residents in their homes; door-to-door distribution of newsletters in the project area; numerous presentations to city boards and commissions, BART and other transit agencies and neighborhood and merchant associations; one-on-one meetings with community leaders and other stakeholders; and the creation of an informational website, a listserv, fact sheets and brochures.

Success: After years of work with the city government, neighbors and local transit agencies, CDA Strategies guided the Ed Roberts Campus’s successful effort to build citywide support, secure its use permit and address neighborhood concerns. CDA Strategies continued its involvement with the project by leading the effort to secure more than $20 million in government grants from the highly competitive transportation-funding arena.

For more information: www.edrobertscampus.org