introduction | terminology | background | summary

Terms & Terminology

About Terminology
Unit Types
Other Terms
Proximity Types

About Terminology in this Document:

The Oakland Building Code contains an interpretation of the Code for Live/Work. It was adopted in 1996 and revised in 1999 and has the force of law. It is this document that we seek to make simple and, to that end, here we call it simply The Oakland Live/Work Building Code, or sometimes The Live/Work Code.

A form of live/work not covered in this code is Home Occupation, which is accessory work use of a residence. It falls under strictly residential regulations and is discussed in the types section.

With the 1999 code, a new occupancy category has been created, Urban Core Residential Conversion (UCRC), or R-9 Occupancy. We have dedicated a separate section of this site to addressing these new code sections.

In the Overview of the Code Section, the creation of Joint Living and Working Quarters, which includes further relaxations of the building code beyond live/work and work/live alone, is described in detail. Again, for the sake of simplicity, we are abbreviating this type as JLWQ.


Unit Types

The Oakland Live/Work Building Code divides live/work into two different kinds of spaces:

  1. Residentially oriented live/work, which we are simply calling live/work, and

  2. Commercially/industrially oriented live/work, which we are calling work/live.

Hereafter, when the two types are being used (as distinct from the generic subject of live/work), they will be italicized.

The differences between the two types are outlined in detail here.


Other Terms Used in Live/Work in Plain English:

Any time working and living activities occur on the same property, that is a live/work use. However, there are different types. As explained above, the terms live/work and work/live express the differing emphases that such spaces assume - the former on residence and the latter on work. In order to further differentiate between the types of live/work spaces, we have coined the terms live-withTM, live-nearTM and live-nearbyTM. These terms describe the relationship of proximity between the work space and the living space within an individual live/work unit and building types.


Proximity Types

LIVE-WITHTM: This type of space is what most people imagine when they picture a typical "artist's loft." A live-withTM unit is typically a single space, usually including a mezzanine sleeping space, with kitchen below, looking out over a large working space. This arrangement offers the greatest flexibility and the fewest interior partitions, allowing its user to adapt it to many different configurations. The amount of space devoted to the "live" area and the "work" area depends on the occupant's needs at the moment, and will likely vary over time to reflect his/her changing needs.

LIVE-NEARTM: Live-NearTM meets the needs of those who feel that the proximity to work that live/work affords is important but nevertheless would like some separation between their living and working spaces This may be for reasons of exposure to hazardous materials or high-impact work activity, family or roommate considerations, or just the need for the bit of distance created by a wall or floor. In a live-nearTM unit, the living portion may more closely resemble an apartment or townhouse. The work space is separated by a wall (sometimes glazed) or a floor.

LIVE-NEARBYTM: Here the living portion and the work space are separated by a short walk, across a courtyard to a converted garage or other accessory structure, or up or down an exterior staircase. While this type would appear to be simply a mixed-use, calling it live/work may permit its existence in places where a residence or a commercial space alone might not be permitted.

top | next