Designing San Francisco: Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay by Alison IsenbergDesigning San Francisco: Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay by Alison Isenberg

Designing San Francisco: Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay

byAlison Isenberg

Hardcover | August 29, 2017

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A major new urban history of the design and development of postwar San Francisco

Designing San Francisco is the untold story of the formative postwar decades when U.S. cities took their modern shape amid clashing visions of the future. In this pathbreaking and richly illustrated book, Alison Isenberg shifts the focus from architects and city planners-those most often hailed in histories of urban development and design-to the unsung artists, activists, and others who played pivotal roles in rebuilding San Francisco between the 1940s and the 1970s.

Previous accounts of midcentury urban renewal have focused on the opposing terms set down by Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs-put simply, development versus preservation-and have followed New York City models. Now Isenberg turns our attention west to colorful, pioneering, and contentious San Francisco, where unexpectedly fierce battles were waged over iconic private and public projects like Ghirardelli Square, Golden Gateway, and the Transamerica Pyramid.

When large-scale redevelopment came to low-rise San Francisco in the 1950s, the resulting rivalries and conflicts sparked the proliferation of numerous allied arts fields and their professionals, including architectural model makers, real estate publicists, graphic designers, photographers, property managers, builders, sculptors, public-interest lawyers, alternative press writers, and preservationists. Isenberg explores how these centrally engaged arts professionals brought new ideas to city, regional, and national planning and shaped novel projects across urban, suburban, and rural borders. San Francisco's rebuilding galvanized far-reaching critiques of the inequitable competition for scarce urban land, and propelled debates over responsible public land stewardship. Isenberg challenges many truisms of this renewal era-especially the presumed male domination of postwar urban design, showing how women collaborated in city building long before feminism's impact in the 1970s.

An evocative portrait of one of the world's great cities, Designing San Francisco provides a new paradigm for understanding past and present struggles to define the urban future.

Alison Isenberg is professor of history at Princeton University, where she codirects the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities. She is the author of Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It.
Title:Designing San Francisco: Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the BayFormat:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.5 × 6.5 × 0.98 inPublished:August 29, 2017Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691172544

ISBN - 13:9780691172545

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Table of Contents

Introduction Land and Landscape 7

1 The Illustrated Pitch "Guys with Ideas" and the 1940s Vision for a Historic Waterfront District 26

2 "Not Bound by an Instinct to Preserve" The Modernist Turn toward History 62

3 "Culture-a-Go-Go" The Mermaid Sculpture Controversy and the Liberation of Civic Design 86

4 Married Merchant-Builders From Home-Making to City Planning in the Postwar Suburban Boom 114

5 Maaging Property An "Iffy" Collaboration 142

6 Movers and Shakers Publicists and the Writing of Real Estate 168

7 "Urban Renewal with Paint" Graphic Design and the City 196

8 Model Cities "Think Big, Build Small" 230

9 "The Competition for Urban Land" Grady Clay's Lost 1962 Manuscript 276

10 Skyscrapers, Street Vacations, and the Seventies 300

Conclusion "Got Land Problems?" 344

Acknowledgments 366

Abbreviations 370

Notes 371

List of Archives Consulted 419

List of Interviews by the Author 420

Index 421

Image Credits 433

Editorial Reviews

"Isenberg, a professor of history at Princeton University, dug deep to capture the transitional years when the city's establishment was on the verge of being altered by cultural forces that it could not control. . . . Designing San Francisco deepens our understanding of how today's landscape came to be--and the bullets we dodged along the way."--John King, San Francisco Chronicle