Shaping San Francisco hosts Public Talks on a variety of topics on Wednesday nights, about 18 times a year. Our topic themes vary, but we've grouped them over time into these categories: Art & Politics, Ecology, Historical Perspectives, Literary, and Social Movements.
Since Covid disrupted our use of the 518 Valencia Street gallery for our Public Talks, we have conducted outdoor "Urban Forum: Walk and Talks" since Fall 2020. This page has the Walk & Talks from 2022 and if we get to hold some indoor Talks later this year, we'll add them here too.
November 19, 2022
Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow
The final Urban Forum: Walk n Talk of Fall 2022 took us to Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow. Starting at the Spreckels Mansion at Washington on the north edge of Lafayette Park, we wandered west to visit Tucker Town, Captain Leale's 1853 farmhouse, the Bourn Mansion, and the cluster of Flood mansions near Broadway and Webster. Guest host Gail MacGowan gave great stories and background on the Casebolt Mansion, the churches on Steiner at Green and Union, and ending at the Russian Orthodox church at Green and Van Ness. In between we also stopped at the site of the first reading of "Howl" and passed the Vedanta Temple, discussed house moving, the Octagon House, Allyne Park, and Washerwoman's Lagoon.
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November 5, 2022
China Beach to Mountain Lake
A Walk n Talk through the misty drizzle, starting at 30th Avenue and California and walking over to China Beach. It was the first day of Dungeness Crab season and many small boats were offshore, west of the Golden Gate, and the beach was full of fishermen too. From there we walked through Seacliff and over to the Lobos Creek area and the huge dune restoration project. Following Anza Trail up and behind the former Marine Hospital we paused at the Marine Cemetery overlook, and then headed down the stairs to the underpass under the highway, and ending at a couple of spots overlooking Mountain Lake, including the original Anza campsite plaque.
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October 15, 2022
Tunnel Tops to Francisco Park
Starting at Battery Slaughter, recently opened to the public with its expansive views of the Golden Gate and the bay, we strolled through the restored landscape and old 1890s military installations. We made our way to the official "Tunnel Tops" park between the Main Post and Crissy Field, wandered past Quartermaster Reach, and eventually out to the long walk along the Marina Green. There we saw a few surprising monuments amidst the hundreds of tots battling it out in goalie-free soccer. We passed through Fort Mason and its spectacular community garden, before concluding our WalknTalk at the new Francisco Park built over San Francisco's first reservoir site after years of abandonment.
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September 24, 2022
Chain o' Lakes, Golden Gate Park
Our first Walk n Talk Urban Forum of Fall 2022 season, started the north edge of the Northernmost of the Chain of Lakes in western Golden Gate Park. After traversing the width of the park we proceeded west and encounter a number of other stories related to trains, bicycles, feminism, shipwrecks and more!
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May 28, 2022
City College SF to San Francisco State University
The final Urban Forum: Walk n Talk of Spring 2022, we started at CCSF and heard from longtime Labor Studies chair Bill Shields, followed by Marcy Rein, co-author of the 2020 book Free City (PM Press). Then we walked through the historic installation near the MUNI turnaround, down Ocean Avenue, along Urbano to the Urbano Sundial, and ended at San Francisco State University where we heard from Katynka Martinez, chair of Latino/Latina Studies in the College of Ethnic Studies. Other stories peppered the walk, and a lot of relatively unexplored neighborhoods were visited.
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April 9, 2022
San Bruno Mountain
A walk up Owl Canyon and then down Buckeye Canyon on San Bruno Mountain, led by David Schooley, long time organizer and defender of the remarkable Mountain. A home to endangered plants and butterflies, and the last intact remnant of the ecological niche that once covered most of the San Francisco peninsula, and a place with incredible views from dense oak forests, San Bruno Mountain is also home to some key environmental battles of the 1970s to the present.
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March 26, 2022
Fort Funston to Pine Lake
A Shaping San Francisco "Urban Forum: Walk n Talk" going from Fort Funston in the southwest corner of the city through the old base, now a park, to Ocean Beach and north to Sloat Blvd., then east on Wawona to Pine Lake. Several stops along the way with semi-long presentations by Shaping San Francisco's Chris Carlsson covering military and economic history, wildflowers, sewage, urban farming, water, swales and graywater, and many other random things. Includes photos from OpenSFHistory.org, video from the Prelinger Archive, and a map from davidrumsey.com.
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January 29, 2022
Visitacion Valley and Little Hollywood
A spirited urban meander starting at the foot of the Visitacion Valley Greenway, with a presentation on its evolution from activist Fran Martin, then looping back through the neighborhood and down Leland Avenue, the main shopping street, checking out historic architecture along the way with commentary from Visitacion Valley Historical Society members Cynthia Cox and Edie Eps. Once we emerged onto Bayshore Boulevard we went slightly north to cross over and enter Little Hollywood where we heard from VVHS member Russel Marine, along with Edie and Cynthia, and toured the unique residential neighborhood with a stop at its hilltop park next to the Recology facility. After all that we headed back onto Bayshore Blvd., stopping in front of the former Schlage Lock factory site to hear about the failed redevelopment of it, and ended south of the county line where we could peer through the fence to see the old Southern Pacific roundhouse.
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