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Department of Planning & Development

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To be successful, Berkeley should have a clear and realistic vision of what Downtown is and can become. The Downtown Area Project was an effort among the City, business owners, residents, and community organizations to ensure that Downtown retains its vibrant character and historic resources while accomodating future residential growth within a pedestrian-friendly and transit-oriented district.

   Downtown Area Project Home Page Map

         Downtown Berkeley (Above)



The 2012 Downtown Area Plan (DAP) serves as the specific guiding document for future development for Downtown Berkeley. Goals of the DAP include positive Economic Development, Housing and Community Health, Historic Preservation and Urban Design, Land Use, and Streetscapes and Open Space. The DAP builds on the strengths of the 1990 Downtown Plan, which succeeded in:  

• Making Downtown a recognized center for culture and the arts

• Bringing new housing to Downtown, and 

• Preserving Downtown’s historic assets 

DAP CoverComplete DAP (.pdf - 20MB)


The Downtown Area Plan contains a number of documents, reports, and guidelines that serve as valuable resources for a wide range of topics. Of note are four major implementing initiatives:      

i. Revised zoning provisions, codified in the Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC): 

  • Chater 23E.68, C-DMU (Commercial Downtown Mixed-Use District)
  • Chapter 2B.34 (Green Pathway)
  • Chapter 23F.04 (Changes to Definitions) 

The ordinance text is available online here as a PDF    

ii. 2012 Downtown Berkeley Design Guidelines 

iii. 2013 Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP)  

iv. SOSIP Nexus Study and Impact Fee.pdf

v. Parking and Transportation Demand Management Program (PTDM)



Policies in the 2012 DAP are consistent with the Planning Commission’s May 2010 recommendations (.pdf) and Measure R (.pdf), an advisory measure that Berkeley voters supported by a 64% to 36% margin.  Policies also draw from a prior version of the DAP that was adopted in July 2009 (.pdf) but rescinded in February 2010. See the "previous versions" page for more background.

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