Fillmore Redevelopment

Unfinished History

WA vacant lot1.jpg

Vacant lot in the Western Addition A-2 redevelopment zone along Geary Blvd.

Photo: Aero Photographers, courtesy San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library


Map of A-1 and A-2 Redevelopment Project Areas

Map: San Francisco Redevelopment Agency


Aerial shot of Western Addition A-1 in 1961

photo: Ed Brady

Aerial Fillmore early 1970s SFRDA aaz-0828 for web.jpg

Aerial of the Fillmore in the early 1970s.

Photo: SFRDA via SF Public Library, aaz-0828

Redevelopment was started early in WWII when future planning commissioners Morgan Gunst and Julia Porter formed the SF Planning and Housing Association (SFPHA). SFPHA published a number of influential studies, including the 1945 Blight and Taxes, which first identified the Western Addition as a prime candidate for urban renewal, citing its poor health statistics, high delinquency rates and packing it with racially loaded metaphors: "[The Western Addition] is not white. It is gray, brown, and an indeterminate shade of dirty black ... it is an unfortunate blot," unlike the Marina District, which the same report described as "clean and bright".

Family-on-porch-in-western-addition-c1950s long-view.jpg

Family on porch in Western Addition, c. 1959.

Photo: Kurt Bank

Its desirable location, just to the west of the Civic Center and the city's commercial core, south of the oldest, richest neighborhood, and home to several major hospitals and churches made it "potentially worth far more, for it is in the heart of a growing city, and anyone can see its latent value." (B&T). These latent values could only be acquired through co-opting opposition, opening the door to speculators.

--Chris Carlsson

WA Foster Klieser Bldg-now MLK Housing.jpg

Foster Klieser Building on Eddy between Steiner and Peirce, early 1960s.

Photo: Aero Photographers, courtesy San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

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