3.3 out of 10


37.8241217802705 -122.285962843962
Great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Internet Access
  • Medical Facilities
  • Parking
Not great for
  • Childcare
  • Clean & Green
  • Eating Out
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
Who lives here?
  • Singles


2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 1/5

"A Touch of South Africa"

Clawson is a poor neighborhood to the southeast of the junction of the MacArthur and the Nimitz Freeway. The average household income in Clawson is only $30K.

The area on the eastern edge of the neighborhood is filled with worn out looking walk-up bungalows, many, obviously in need of repairs. It is not unsual to see debris scattered about the street in this area and barbed wire atop fences. Front lawns are generally sectioned off with metal fencing and it is not unusual to come across empty cement covered lots on residential streets. The streets themselves often feature cracked asphalt, while blue tarps are scene throughout the neighborhood on roofs where leaks have developed (even sometimes over the tops of campers and cars). Everywhere one has a sense of homes and businesses being fortified against possible invasion or theft.

On the western edge of the neighborhood you come across waste disposal companies, quarries, the detritus of the ports, and some of the round houses of intermodal companies that switch cargo from rail and ship and train. This has long been one of the major stops of the Union-Pacific (Oakland is actually the end of the line for that historic rail and you can still see the remains of it here) along with the towering cranes that pick the stacked containers off ships from Asia and South American.

Running right through the middle of this ugly industrial area where only tractors and forklifts really look at home, is Mandela Parkway, which at this point has a beautifully manicured green space in its meridian. The odd juxtaposition of the memorial to the great political activist and this most unwelcoming environment is either a terrible joke, or oddly appropriate given the stark realities that the man went through on Robin Island just off the coast of South Africa. Either way, if makes for a compelling visual space.

I suppose someone with an artistic eye also might find it ironic that just across the street from the monument on this southerly facing parkway should be one of the new fangled gentrified condominium complexes that were part of Jerry Brown’s plans to transform Oakland. This complex is particularly interesting because the dark shaded pastel buildings are designed in a post-modern form of architecture that employs cubic projections from the upper floors and stark metallic balconies to look out over Mandela Pkwy towards the bay.

Of course, like everything else around here, the complex is guarded by high metal walls and heavily reinforced doors of the kind that look like they could take a good half-hour beating from a battering ram without giving.

So we have a new apartheid right in northwest Oakland, where the well off can separate themselves from the poor that surround them in a walled city of their own. This is a very strange space indeed.
  • Affordable Rents
  • Close to Emeryville and Freeway
  • Gang Problems
  • Dangerous
  • Delapadated Homes
marving Clawson has changed (gentrified) significantly since the first poster from 2 years ago. West of Peralta St. is much better than east of it. Wonderful diversity of residents and architecture. New home construction have sold for over $1 million (YES, OVER $1 MIL!!!). New apartment and condo complexes are currently being erected. This part of Oakland is experiencing overflow demand from Emeryville. I have lived in Clawson/Dogtown for over 10 years, and seen positive changes. Weather is great. Proximity to SF is great, though Bay Bridge traffic is always horrible. This corner of Oakland will only get even better due to it's relative affordability and proximity to freeways/SF.
Add a comment...

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More