Efforts to rejuvenate the city began in the early 1970s, bolstered by the completion in 1972 of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) light-rail link to San Francisco. Over the next three decades, much of the city center was rebuilt, and many run-down neighborhoods were Gentrified. Oakland’s population rebounded in the 1980s and surpassed the 1950 level in the 1990s. Although the city’s African Americans remained the largest component of the population, their numbers began to decline, and those for Hispanics increased to more than one-fifth of the total. Oakland’s revitalization was dealt a setback on October 17, 1989, when a strong earthquake caused significant damage to the Bay Bridge and caused a section of a major highway along the bay (a portion of it double-decked) to collapse; repairs on these were completed by the late 1990s.
San Francisco is not only a unique place to visit but also to live. The area has a lot going for it: exceptional arts and cultural activities, plenty of history and sense of place, a strong commercial and financial core; and all the education and services anyone could want. The climate is one of the most unusual in the world, and the area is among the most ethnically and socially diverse in the country. The many world-famous tourist attractions- Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, the cable car system, hilltop residential enclaves, and the wine country to the north- mix with considerable local entertainment and culture to make the city one of the most interesting and fun places to live in the country.
Oakland has always struggled to forge an identity for itself distinct from its famous sister San Francisco across the bay. As the western end of the transcontinental railroad, Oakland became a huge center for shipping and trade in the 19th century. Some of the grand structures built during that period can still be seen today, amidst a growing city with a pleasant climate and laid-back populace.
Oakland is still a busy port, but in the 21st century more and more people come here for other reasons. UC Berkeley, a few miles north of Oakland, is one of the nation's premiere universities. Many people who work in San Francisco live in less expensive Oakland and commute by car or public transit. Scenic Lake Merritt with its gondoliers adds an unexpected touch of archaic sensibilities to the town, a bridge to a quieter past once enjoyed by author Jack London and other famous residents.
Oakland is in west central California and is part of the East Bay metro area, along with Hayward to the south and Berkeley on the north. The city is also part of the larger Bay Area which includes San Francisco and San Jose.