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In 2019, I worked in a team of 4 alongside a community partner to create design solutions for their specific problem.

The partner was The Crucible. A community partner and industrial art school based in West Oakland, CA 

1. The Crucible is situated on the 7th street of West Oakland, a neighborhood seeing a mass gentrification drive. 

2. Being a maker space, they are concerned about their future, so we were assigned to visualize the data of the demographic and real estate changes.

Check out my contributions here. 


Creative strategy

Brainstorming and conceptualizing the idea and the execution.

Communication and collaboration

Served as a point of contact for the partner and ensuring transparency in communication channels.

UX Research and data visualization

Scoping through the data and writing the content, visualizing the flow of information, and executing the same.


Strategizing the presentation flow to speak about the project in an engaging and concise manner.

Problem / Background

  1. The Crucible is an Industrial Arts school centered in the heart of West Oakland.

  2. It is the largest non-profit industrial arts school in the United States and a community partner for years, facing a massive gentrification drive.

  3. Taking this into consideration, they tapped into our expertise to visually represent the data of the accounted changes, which could help make strategic business decisions.

  4. Additionally, they started a Futures Committee, a group of board members and advisors who can look both ways at the changes around the street.

The ask: We were required to design a set of graphics and other communication tools around the real estate development and demographic shifts occurring in the vicinity of the Crucible (West Oakland) over the next five years.

Solution: Representing all the changes through a board game, West Oakland Monopoly.  

Solution and the artifacts below

Board (Isometric design)

With the board acting as a catalyst, we structured elements around it. We embedded the entire map of 7th street into the center of the board and marked out directions from the building to the sections of the board. To make the map and the game board more coherent, we have recreated 7th street in a visual style that fits into the monopoly aesthetic.

To summarize all the data and information we used on the monopoly board, we have also created a Monopoly brochure.


The brochure includes a brief overview of the game, followed by the data points we used, persona explanations, and a map of 7th Street.


More information such as the rules of the game and the history of Oakland can be viewed by scanning the QR code on the brochure. 


The final products

From icons to data to graphics and cards, we created tangible deliverables. 


We followed the below steps to reach our desired goals to create the final deliverables and accurate data. 

Secondary research

First, The Crucible shared several documents and other resources that provided data on the various activities undertaken.

Scope and stakeholder

  • As we developed a sense of the new developments, we began browsing through the various other resources and seeking out additional information that would give us more depth in representing the problem and understanding West Oakland as a whole.

  • Developments outside a 1-mile radius of the Crucible and scheduled to happen after 2025 aren’t considered.

  • Overall we scoped through a vast amount of data only to collate and bring it down to what is relevant in terms of impact and time.

Learnings and insights

  • As San Francisco and Silicon Valley have become unaffordable even for professionals earning six-figure salaries, capital has migrated to Oakland via new residents — over 40,000 since 2007 — as well as jobs and development.

  • The location and transportation will bring a sea of change for Oakland. This city once suffered catastrophic disinvestment and is now plagued by a tidal wave of aggressive reinvestment.

  • Additionally, the fabric of West Oakland as a Center for the Arts,  notably Jazz music, is threatened. With the proposed developments underway, fewer spots for affordable housing exist, and increased possibilities of clashes between the haves and have-nots.

  • On the downside, with the proximity to San Francisco and mass transit, this part of Oakland can expect a shifting social structure with the recent influx of new money from more affluent arrivals.

  • There is a sense of apprehension stemming from the overall unpopularity of gentrification in the area. The long-term implications for residents concerning housing, transit, retail, and demographics remain to be seen.

Opportunity Statement​

  • How might we help the Crucible understand their future neighborhood?

  • How might we make layered data about the upcoming developments more digestible?



​We invited three people to try out our prototype in a classroom session. 


All three testers questioned the connections between the Monopoly Board and West Oakland during the user testing session.


They left us finding answers to the following: 

  • How can we make the aesthetic of the monopoly and the actual map coherent?

  • Who are the audiences that are going to play the game?

  • What is the goal of the game?

  • How can we learn the property's information through the game?

The feedback was that the game lacked context and did not resonate with what we wanted to interpret.


It was also critical to balance the anchor point between data and game.

Expert interview


To address the flaws we found from the user testing, we set a meeting with Shawnee Keck, a data expert and a future committee member.

We consulted her about what could be done differently. She gave us a clear picture of the happenings around the West Oakland neighborhood and what gentrification looks like. 


In her opinion, most major world cities would be getting more vertical, and cities in the United States are playing catch-up. In many ways, the gentrification drive is inevitable.


In terms of calculating projections, Shawnee suggested simple guesstimations, where we could find out how many units each project had and the bedroom structure.

  • Based on the number of bedrooms, we could estimate how many people occupied each unit.

  • For instance, 1b1b (1 bedroom 1 bathroom) is usually occupied by 2 occupants. 

  • It’s with these estimates in mind, did we calculated the numbers that would make a huge impact on West Oakland in the years to come.​



  • Overall, the project tested our skills in understanding an important real-world issue of gentrification.

  • Based on our varied individual backgrounds, we utilized our skills to make a somber topic more relatable.

  • The gameplay is also helpful to the narrative where past, present, and future can be communicated and where key details are not lost in translation.

  • We considered that the project is only an informational and educational tool.

  • Hence, it is not designed to follow any particular narrative and aims to dispense information as it is to the best of its abilities.

  • Linkedin
  • Behance
  • Twitter


We also came up with a set of personas representing the population who are initially inhabitants of West Oakland and the new populations that are yet to come. The personas are depicted as player tokens on the monopoly board.

Property cards

The property cards would provide all the details of the particular property, such as an address, expected completion date, number of units, bedroom specifications, etc. 

Impact cards

Chance cards are replaced by impact cards, giving a Macro-level picture of the demographic changes to come comparatively.

Digital extension

Taking the game a step further, we are thinking of making the game actually playable. We want to set up future meetings with The Crucible to gather more information about West Oakland and develop more personas to make the game come alive. 

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