Oakland CA | Completed 


A tactical temporary urban intervention: SPARC-It-Place is a local market and community performance space that brightens a vacant lot in advance of a large affordable housing development in Oakland.

Working with Oakland non-profit developer EBALDC, DBA designed this temporary community market, event space, and small business incubator to activate the future site of 34th & San Pablo Affordable Family Housing in West Oakland. The colorful plaza will activate the vacant lot adjacent to the developer’s California Hotel housing and serve as a temporary community amenity until ground is broken on the site for the planned affordable family housing development (also a DBA design). 

The project provides outdoor vendor stalls for local start-up businesses to share and sell products and also includes a performance stage, play zone, outdoor eating area, and several community art installations.

In order to be easily disassembled and reassembled elsewhere in the future, the project was designed using simple, inexpensive, and modular components. Vendor stalls were built out of construction scaffolding, the playful seating elements were constructed out of shipping pallets, planters were built with salvaged redwood, and leftover “corn cribs”—sturdy wooden stacks used to store modular units on a DBA construction site—serve as stage seating.

One of the primary goals was to enliven the site through ample planting and color. DBA worked with Public Design to create vibrant graphics on scrim panels affixed to the vendor stalls. Facing San Pablo Avenue, a 20-foot SPARC-It-Place logo is backlit during night events to create a glowing, “lantern” effect.

This active and engaging space is part of a long history of community development work that EBALDC has done to improve health and well-being along the San Pablo Avenue Corridor in Oakland, an area that suffers from limited public open space. 

Project Details

Project Number


3427 San Pablo Avenue
Oakland, CA
United States



East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation
Public Design

Project Gallery