Urban Transformation Present & Past Projects


Revitalizing Richmond! 

Facilitating a comprehensive initiative with focus to develop the economic potential ofRichmond’s 23rd Street commercial corridor to the San Pablo border including MacDonald Avenue between 21st and 27th,  galvanizing community members (merchants, professionals, residents, civic leaders, students, educators, bankers, real estate agents, and associations) to take an interest to transform this neighborhood. The result will be a renewed sense of pride and place!

Downtown Richmond Main Street District Formation - 2012

Darlene collaborated as lead project manager to successfully form the Downtown Richmond property owner based business improvement district, (PBID) the first district of its kind in Contra Costa County.

Jack London Improvement District Formation - 2013

Urban Transformation led this complex PBID formation with1600 parcels, many residential, and included negotiations with many institutions,such as Port of Oakland and BART.

Fruitvale Main Street Program
Client: Unity Council

Darlene Rios Drapkin began implementing Fruitvale's commercial revitalization program in 1996.  Her first priority was to help the community develop a consensus vision for what role the district would play in the marketplace.  Recognizing that the area was rich with Latino culture and buying power, Darlene led the education of Latinos, Asian and Middle Eastern business owners on the benefits of target marketing to this audience.  Darlene galvanized dozens of stakeholders to agree on the commercial district's revitalization efforts. The result was a clear mission statement for "ethnically and culturally diverse groups of people working together, responding to a regional Latino oriented market and creating a thriving bustling shopping area that is safe, clean and green."

City of Albany, CA

Devised strategies and actions for strengthening the Albany economy, specifically of its Solano and San Pablo Avenue commercial hubs, utilizing the comprehensive Main Street™ approach.

Addressing Crime & Grime Effectively on Main Street
LISC Detroit Partnership Academy, City of San Jose, DC Main Streets, Oakland's San Antonio district

Through an interactive workshop, Urban Transformation has worked with these programs to distinguish and work with the perceptions versus the realities of crime in their neighborhoods.  Stakeholders have learned about interfacing effectively with City agencies, Police, Public Works, and Code Enforcement and about organizing and educating the community to maximize results.


Oakland's Temescal and KoreaTown/Northgate districts

Urban Transformation  provided business district management services including organizational support and general administration while overseeing public and streetscape improvements, cleanliness and security programs, retail and special events and business retention and attraction activities in two Oakland districts, Temescal from 2004-15 and KoreaTown from 2007-11. Guided by strong community and implementation of "CPTED" strategies, Temescal has emerged as one of Oakland's trendiest neighborhoods, claiming some of the San Francisco Bay Area's best eateries.

Alisal/East Salinas Neighborhood Vibrancy Plan

As a member of the Raimi & Associates team, UT  brings  a tried and true holistic approach to develop an implementable economic development strategy.

Oakland's Koreatown/Northgate CBD Renewal

Darlene is collaborating with  NBS for successful renewal of the KONO CBD, the organiztion that leads Oakland's signature monthy  First Friday events.

Artful Play Richmond - January 2016

In conjunction with Community Ventures, as a fiscal sponsor, and Holly Carter, as the lead “play” artist, Urban Transformation secured a $24,000 grant through PLAY 60, Play On  an initiative presented by 50 Fund and the NFL Foundation, putting kids and families first in the Bay Area, transforming everyday spaces into places for play. 50 Fund and the NFL Foundation awarded $750,000 to 21 Bay Area cities, nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals.

Lakeshore PBID Renewal and Richmond Downtown PBID Formation

Darlene collaborated in 2012 to form property owner based Business Improvement Districts. She served as project manager to navigate through the exhaustive process, providing comprehensive management of all aspects of the formation and renewal process, ensuring efficient, effective, expertly guided projects. The efforts have culminated in successful passage of PBIDs providing consistent funding for the respective commercial corridors.

Huntington Park Downtown Strategic Plan
Client: The City of Huntington Park

Urban Transformation and Eichenfield & Associates completed Huntington Park's Downtown Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan served as an economic development tool to document downtown's competitive position in the marketplace and identified short and long-term strategies to help maintain and strengthen the vitality of downtown and its Business Improvement District program. Developing the plan involved extensive public input in the form of focus group interviews, merchant interviews, public meetings, a shopper survey and formal visioning sessions with the City's Downtown Task Force.  Recommended activities included those in the areas of downtown management and organization, beautification and public amenities, promotion and marketing, economics and business mix, cleanliness and security, and parking and transportation.