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San José’s Northside Neighborhood: “A little bit of heaven”

Author: Nicole Guzman

The Northside Neighborhood Community Open House revealed the results from the Northside Neighborhood Survey Day, which took place on September 24.

Our headquarters for Survey Day was in Backesto Park, at Carmen Cautiviero’s center for the Downtown Enrichment Program. A total of 150 San José State students went door-to-door to conduct surveys in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. At the end of Survey Day, 311 surveys were completed! Galadriel Burr (Project Coordinator for CommUniverCity), Jason DeHaan (Sociology Lecturer), and Sociology and Urban Planning students worked together to analyze the data.


The Open House took place at Grant Elementary School in their cafeteria on the evening of November 16. One of the purposes of the Open House was to facilitate collaborative learning between students and local Northside residents. The various stations covered topics regarding new development, safety, and neighborhood satisfaction. One station was all fun and games! There was an area for the children to play with legos, and provide feedback about their community by creating drawings of their favorite things about Northside.


Bob Ellington and Mayor Liccardo








Also, Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmember Raul Peralez attended the event and spoke with residents. Their presence emphasized the value and meaning of community in San José’s Northside Neighborhood.

Councilmember Raul Peralez, Don Gagliardi, and Paulette Zades

Some of the main takeaways from the event highlighted the importance of place diversity, supporting small businesses, mitigating homelessness, and opinions on future mixed-use development. Other necessities that the residents want added in the neighborhood include: grocery stores, two-way streets, community gardens, a teen center, elder care residences, and more trees along the sidewalk. Furthermore, residents want to see redevelopment along 13th Street, a bicycle path connecting to Coyote Creek Trail, new playgrounds at Backesto Park, and improvements in the cleanliness of public facilities. All of the feedback that was given at the Open House will be utilized in future community assessment reports, which will assist neighborhood leaders and city planners to prioritize and address the needs of the neighborhood.









The graduate students from San José State University’s Urban Planning program put together a video showcasing the history and residents of Northside. 

“The video is great, it was energizing for me, and having it on Youtube and being able to send it around, it will have a very long afterlife.” -Don Gagliardi, Northside Neighborhood Association Member

Lastly, it is not surprising that 84% of survey takers in Northside would recommend the community to someone else as a good place to live. The discussions and exchange of ideas that occurred at the Open House was a great opportunity for the residents to communicate the changes they want to see. We hope all community members continue to be engaged and contribute to shaping the future of Northside.


Special thanks to:

  • Paulette Zades, Jesus Radillo, and the rest of the staff at Grant Elementary School for allowing us to host the Open House in their cafeteria.
  • The PTA at Grant Elementary School for providing food/drinks: tamales, popcorn, nachos, and hot chocolate.
  • Mayor Sam Liccardo
  • Councilmember Raul Peralez
  • Carmen Cautiviero
  • SJSU Faculty involved: Richard Kos, Kevin Fang, Jason DeHaan, Mary Currin-Percival, and Garrick Percival.
  • SJSU Students from URBP 201, SOCI 204, POLS 195A, AND POLS/URBP 103

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