Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


American Studies

Reader 1

Wendy Cheng

Reader 2

David Seitz

Reader 3

Lilly Geismer

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

@2023 Sarah H Weaver


Created at a key moment in New Left political rebellion and organizing in 1969, the mythic People’s Park still stands today between Dwight and Haste St. in Berkeley as open multi-use green space made of and for community development on lawful University of California Regent property. Despite repeated attempts by UC to take back the land, the insurgent space continues to pull defense from various parts of the local community, students and not, have accessed forms of self-determined social reproduction and created material critiques of UC as a vehicle for capital. For 54 years, the park was maintained significance as a central place of local multi-issue material spatial justice struggle. This paper focuses on episodes[1] in the park’s transforming significance as political-economic terrain of capitalist-determined and alternative forms of community social reproduction work. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded real and manufactured crisis of resource distribution, from housing to healthcare. The present-day defense of People’s Park, rooted in mutual aid and solidarity organizing, illustrates the profound and irreconcilable contradictions of private market-oriented public and private paradigms of urban planning and resource access. The current Defend People’s Park movement is centered around mutual aid and solidarity work, modeling community resource access outside of current structures of market-based development, that time and time again rear cruel results. This paper explores instances of when the park struggle as a counter-topography of social reproduction, opening up resistance and contradiction within liberal spatial logics of urban development.