POPUPHOOD was founded as a way to reclaim Oakland’s historic downtown neighborhood from years of vacant storefronts and inactivity. For the residents of the neighborhood, the idea that the historic downtown area they cared so much about lacked relevant commercial (and, therefore, civic) value was a source of deep frustration. It was this feeling that lead two residents and entrepreneurs to approach the City Of Oakland for support in rolling out a progressive idea designed to breathe new life into the old neighborhood.
The initiative – POPUPHOOD – offers aspiring business owners and local creatives from the East Bay Area opportunities to open their own shops selling goods made also by local artists and artisans. By allowing small businesses to launch as partnerships with POPUPHOOD, the ideas is that spaces that were previously unused in Downtown Oakland would become filled, and artists who normally wouldn’t have the resources to open a shop could do so, enjoying free rent for 6 months.
After launching last December it’s still a little early determine whether the reinvented downtown area will be able to sustain new businesses in the long run. Though if a success, POPUPHOOD will stand out as a hopeful model for other neglected urban areas around the country looking to re-invent themselves.