When the development of a luxury condominium threatens a local mural depicting the diverse culture of the neighborhood, a community in a rapidly gentrifying city rallies to protect its history, voice, icons, and land.


Roy Chan is an urban planner and community oral historian. His work merges information technology and place-based storytelling to innovate how we plan our neighborhoods in more civically engaged and culturally relevant ways. Since 2007, Roy has been directing the Oakland Chinatown Oral History Project, which has already gathered over a hundred place-based stories to engage the community about social change issues and related local history. In collaboration with the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, the Asian Branch Library, and neighborhood groups, the project integrates oral history, ethnographic research, and cultural mapping as an intergenerational approach for community learning and action. Roy is currently a Senior Planner at the Chinatown Community Development Center and leads its local Creative Placemaking initiative, connecting arts/culture/storytelling with community development in San Francisco Chinatown.