I'm in need of some questions answered about Oakland, Berkeley, and the general areas surrounding.
(1) In what neighborhood might three lower-middle/middle class kids live in and where would they go to school? I need them preferably to live in neighborhoods where they're in houses rather than apartment buildings. Even more specifically, I'd like them to not be in row houses or brownstones (not that I even know if they're common to Oakland.) They're canonically from Oakland and mention Jingletown a lot, but from what I gather about Jingletown, it's much more upscale than where they would have grown up, and I think they're just mentioning it as a more general representation of Oakland. More specifically to this question, what would the character of this neighborhood be? Mostly white? Mixed ethnicities? Suburbs? City?
(2) In the mid to late 90s, where would these kids skate? I've been told by locals that there were skateparks in the area in that time, but they can't really remember where. I'd like them to have a central park where they could skate with friends, but then I need a separate location as well, which leads me to question three.
(3) Where could two 16-17 year old boys in approximately 1997 go to skate that wasn't a park. It would be ideal if there were stairs with a rail and some structures like low concrete fountains or concrete barriers that they could use. Even more specifically, is there an area like this in Oakland or Berkeley (or even San Fran) where they could skate without being run off by cops/shop owners?
(4) Finally, these same two boys, all grown up, are back in Oakland and living/working there in 2009/2010 ish. What neighborhoods might they be living in now, with a combined income of about $75,000/year? The rent for Oakland doesn't seem too outrageous compared to other cities. But... what I'm interested in more is... what would be the cool place for these guys to live in their early thirties? They were very into the Oakland/Berkeley punk scene when they were younger and have kind of grown into hipsters. Where would they live?
I've researched from asking friends who are from Oakland/SF/Palo Alto and I've looked extensively on Google Maps and Rent.com, but it's hard to get an idea of an area just from maps, even with the amazing invention of Street View.