The Regional and Urban Design Forum (RUD) aims to improve the quality of the urban environment of East Bay cities and surrounding areas by promoting excellence in urban design, land use and transportation planning, public policy, and implementation in the built and natural environment. This will be achieved through education of its member and the public, in concert with allied community and professional groups; and as appropriate, by providing design and planning assistance to communities of the greater East Bay.


If you are interested, please fill out our online form here.  To receive upcoming meeting and event details, subscribe to our mailing list. AIA East Bay members, allied members and sponsors are encouraged to join as well as other professionals in the design community.

Committee Chair

  • Bryan J. Hassemer


Past Programs/Events:

2024 programs

2022 programs

  • 08/04/22: HYBRID: Hella Town: Oakland’s History of Development and Disruption
    • This event was kicked off with an introduction by Mayor Schaaf. After our discussion with the author, we hosted a Q&A with the author of Hella Town, Mitchell Schwarzer and moderated by William Gilchrist, Oakland’s Director of Planning & Building! Often overshadowed by San Francisco, its larger and more glamorous twin, Oakland has a fascinating history of its own. From serving as a major transportation hub to forging a dynamic manufacturing sector, by the mid-twentieth century Oakland had become the urban center of the East Bay. Hella Town focuses on how political deals, economic schemes, and technological innovations fueled this emergence but also seeded the city’s postwar struggles.
  • 06/02/22: HYBRID: “Building a Brighter Future”: Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club and Their New Facility
    • Event to include a virtual and “in-person” forum describing a brief history of the VNBGC relative to local and regional organizations, the sustained growth and need for a new facility, the search for an appropriate site, selection of the design team, appropriation of funding sources, and initiation of pre-design activities (including programming). Discussion items will include results of the facility program, site selection issues, conceptual building design, the difference between rural and urban facilities, and the impact of City and County (existing and proposed) site requirements.
  • 04/07/22: VIRTUAL: The Futures of Suburban Infill: Placemaking Battles on a Dynamite Factory
    • California’s suburban growth machine is broken because it was based on the subdivision of raw land. Our challenge now is to organize a new growth machine for the infill development of automobile suburbs. Steve Lawton shares two decades of lessons from his experience on the front lines of innovation in land use and urban design. Steve’s review will challenge us to deeply reconsider practices in zoning, public engagement, municipal finance, historic preservation, transportation and the regional economy.
  • 02/03/22: VIRTUAL: A Student-Led Effort to Reimagine Upper Telegraph Ave
    • A presentation about the role of student activists in creating a political coalition to pedestrianize Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. The City of Berkeley is currently in the process of redesigning some of its most important streets in the Southside Complete Streets Project. Among the proposed improvements are cycletracks, bus lanes, and pedestrian improvements on Berkeley’s most pedestrian-heavy streets.

2021 programs

  • 10/07/21: VIRTUAL The Future of I-980: Decking Over the Freeway
    • Funding is being considered for improvements to reconnect West Oakland to Downtown, currently divided by the depressed freeway I-980. The draft Downtown Plan appears to advocate replacing the freeway with a 6-lane boulevard, but is this the best solution? Bryan Grunwald will present the case for instead leaving I-980 in place and decking over it to create new buildings and parks.

  • 08/05/21: VIRTUAL Youth Spirit Artworks: Case Study
    • Please join the Regional & Urban Design Forum as we learn about Youth Spirit Artworks Tiny House Village. Architect Seth Wachtel, director of the Architecture & Community Design program at the University of San Francisco will lead a discussion with the organizers, designers, builders, and residents of this unique and important place.

  • 05/06/21: VIRTUAL Spanning the Rails: BART Transforming Oakland
    • BART Board member Robert Raburn and staff from BART’s real estate and structural/civil engineering departments will join us to discuss the process BART undertakes to ensure that the rail can continue to safely operate even as buildings emerge above ground. 

  • 03/04/21: VIRTUAL The New Old Oakland Waterfront
    • Sarah Kuehl of Einwiller Kuehl landscape architecture will present an overview of work on the water’s edge of Oakland. Topics of interest include adaptive reuse, creating public space that is truly public, and the importance of spatial sequence and procession in landscape.

  • 01/21/2021: Yearly Janus Brainstorming session

2020 programs

  • 09/17/2020: VIRTUAL Learning from Bologna: Heritage Planning in Italy w/ Mario Chitti
    • The recent landmarking controversy in Berkeley exposed issues with the City’s approach to preservation. We will look at the typo-morphological approach to heritage adopted by Italy, in contrast to the North American approach to heritage planning, to see what lessons may be learned from an alternative approach.
  • 07/16/2020: VIRTUAL Housing as Intervention w/ Karen Kubey
    • Join Karen Kubey, urbanist and editor of Housing as Intervention: Architecture towards Social Equity, for a conversation around the role of architects and architecture in fighting injustice. In this moment, how can architects best promote greater health equity and affordable housing for all? 
  • 04/16/2020: VIRTUAL Post-Pandemic East Bay w/ James Rojas & John Kamp
    • Coronavirus has exposed a basic problem with urban planning, baring plain and true the fact that we simply do not plan with human core values in mind. We realize that we live in what amounts to a whole lot of concrete and asphalt, wide inhospitable streets, and all too little in the way of nature and space for human interaction.

Start of monthly forum

  • 11/07: Post election round-up & Brain Storming
  • 12/05: Redesign of 90th Ave in Oakland, introduced by Scraper Bike Team, and The Agile ADU project, introduced by Design Draw Build.

2019 programs

  • 11/20/2019: Masterplan for Jean Sweeney Park by Kristoffer Koster & 24 Hours of Reality Climate Presentation by Alice Sung
  • 09/25/2019: Taecker Planning & Design, Shattuck-Adeline-Stanford Greenway
  • 08/21/2019: Professor Mitchell Schwarzer. Privatizing the Public City: Oakland’s Lopsided Boom
  • 07/18/2019: Ballparks – Author and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Goldberger in conversation with San Francisco Chronicle’s Urban Design critic John King
  • 06/19/2019: Mike Wilson AIA East Bay Executive Director
  • 05/15/2019: Michael Kehl of Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) on Transit Oriented Developments (TOD), which will highlight three current SCB projects in Oakland.
  • 04/17/2019: Gerry Tierney of Perkin + Will leads a discussion on how autonomous vehicles could transform cities.
  • 03/20/2019: Discussing planning issues related to recent cannabis legalization, organized by Forum member Rebecca Friedberg, and aspects of the current proposal for the new Oakland Athletics baseball park by Co-chair Brian Stryzek
  • 02/20/2019: Oakland City Planning Director William Gilchrist, who will present and lead a discussion on engaging the local architectural community in urban design and planning issues, based upon his experiences in New Orleans, Boston, and Birmingham, Alabama.
  • 01/10/2019: The Agile ADU project, introduced by Design Draw Build.

2018 programs

  • 06/19/2018: Connect Oakland, Transforming I-980: Regional Urban Design, Brian Stokle
  • 04/24/2018: AB827 with Laura Foote Clark of YIMBY, Sujata Srivastava from Strategic Economics, and John Ellis of Mithun.