Introduced in 1957, the General Neighborhood Renewal Plan was the city's first broad plan for redevelopment and was intended to "save" downtown, which at the time was experiencing a 21% vacancy rate and increasingly losing businesses. The GNRP designated five urban renewal projects in West Oakland, for a total recommended redevelopment area of 225 acres.
The GNRP was modified a number of times between 1957 and 1971 with areas in West Oakland dropped, other areas closer to downtown added, etc. A large part of the GNRP's recommendations involved evaluating whether structures were "substandard" according to "modified APHA techniques" vs "standard." Substandard housing was deemed acceptable for demolition. In reality, though, in projects like the development of the Acorn housing project, which involved the demolition of almost every building in the project area, 333 structures classified as "standard" were demolished as well1. This created a huge level of mistrust in the West Oakland community and engendered opposition in that community when the Oakland Redevelopment Agency began working on its second project, the Oak Center housing project.
- Hayes, Edward C. Power Structure and Urban Policy: Who Rules in Oakland? McGraw-Hill, Inc.: 1972. 115-17.