The Organic City focuses on stories relating to downtown Oakland, California-- particularly the areas surrounding Lake Merritt.
On a good summer weekend, approximately 10,000 people will walk around the lake. These people represent Oakland's cultural and ethnic diversity.
Oakland is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States. In addition, Oakland has an active arts community, and much of its population
is young and technically savvy.
In 1867, Dr. Samuel Merritt donated the 155 acres of saltwater marsh that later became known as Merritt's Lake. Oakland is now the only major metropolitan area to have
a saltwater lake. The lake and its adjacent land also make up the nation's oldest wildlife refuge, a 140-acre area with a lakeside shoreline of 3.4 miles.
The lake itself is eight to ten feet deep and consists of fresh and salt water. The lake supports shrimp, fish, migratory and residential birds, clams, and crabs.
The area around the lake includes a variety of attractions, such as a few miles of pathways lined by old lampposts and the "Necklace of Lights," museums, a fairy tale theme park, a sailing school, a bandstand gazebo, fountains, a demonstration garden,
a lawn bowling center, a bird sanctuary, a nature center, historic buildings, and much more.