Housing Initiative

Housing Initiative

The shortage of available and affordable housing for Berkeley’s students and untenured ladder faculty is a matter of urgent concern for the university. At present, Berkeley has the lowest percentage of beds for our student body of any campus in the UC System, despite the fact that we are situated in one of the tightest housing markets in the state.

This lack of campus housing capacity adversely impacts the overall student experience and challenges our ability to recruit faculty, graduate students and post-docs. In the summer of 2016, as a first step towards addressing this challenge, then-Chancellor Nicholas Dirks convened a housing task force and asked its members to develop a report that would:

  • List and evaluate potential sites for development
  • Consider the impact on campus and the city of Berkeley of new development
  • Develop a financial model that will guide decisions about future housing development.
  • Evaluate market conditions and the University’s Long Range Development Plan as parameters for housing development.
  • Establish criteria that will guide decision making around the development of housing.

In January 2017 the task force completed and issued a draft report that offers a comprehensive and compelling discussion of the issues, as well as a menu of options that could significantly expand the availability of housing for Berkeley’s students and faculty by 2020. 

In the wake of the report’s release, Chancellor Carol Christ is leading a wide-ranging effort to solicit input and feedback—the next necessary step in the decision-making process. Numerous meetings are being held with various constituencies in the campus community; students have an opportunity to weigh in through a detailed survey; and a concerted outreach effort aimed at city officials and campus neighbors is underway.

Key documents:

Upper Hearst Project

At the site of the Upper Hearst Parking Structure on the northeast edge of campus, the Goldman School of Public Policy is moving forward with an innovative project that will create vital new academic and study spaces for its programs, maintain as much parking as possible, and incorporate needed faculty, staff, postdoc and/or graduate student housing through a public/private partnership.

Key documents:

People's Park

As part of a comprehensive effort to address challenges facing the campus and its urban neighbors, UC Berkeley will redevelop and revitalize the university-owned People’s Park. In May 2018, Chancellor Carol Christ announced the university’s plans to build on the site a new residential facility for students and make land available for the construction of permanent supportive housing for members of the city’s homeless population. Plans also call for setting aside part of the 2.8-acre property for open and recreational space, as well as a physical memorial honoring the park’s history and legacy.

Key documents:

Oxford Tract Planning Committee

The UC Berkeley Housing Master Plan Task Force identified the Oxford Tract Research Facility as one of several potential sites for the development of new student housing. Chancellor Christ charged a committee in April 2017 with investigating the the impacts of a possible re-purposing of the Oxford facility. The committee's findings appear below, and more information can be found at https://nature.berkeley.edu/oxford-facility/

Oxford tract documents: