Boom disneyfied


The Hiller Highlands neighborhood was wiped clean by the October 1991 Oakland Hills fire. Once a quarry site, it later became a woodsy enclave of cottages. Then all that was wiped out, and an architectural monoculture succeeded it, the precious lots built to the edges with large structures—SUV homes—financed by insurance money. The area will not achieve any charm for many decades, if ever.

This is what the big Hayward fault earthquake will do, only the transformation will be a hundred times larger and extend up and down the East Bay. And it will affect the flats as well. That is why I try, every single day, to take pleasure in Oakland as it is. One day, in the twinkling of an eye, it will be gone, or changed irrevocably.

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