This month's edition of The Urbanist looks at what San Francisco could have looked like if certain developers and city transportation planners had their way. SPUR starts by examining a range of projects like the resort and residential district once proposed for Lands End, or the series of tall and incredibly slim towers that were envisioned for the corner of Mission and 1st streets in 2006 by renowned architect Renzo Piano. Whether liked or hated, all of the proposals presented have one thing in common: none saw the light of day.
Though none of the projects were built, many were influential in shaping the San Francisco we know today. For instance, the unbuilt "Marcinello" housing subdivision in Marin Headlands was partially credited with the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The same effect can be seen in transportation planning, since the drawings of proposed freeways that would have cut through the heart of the city became a catalyst for the project's demise. When city residents heard of the plans, they revolted, and the massive freeway expansion ground to a halt.
Many projects also provide innovative solutions to problems of the future, though some seem quite far-fetched. Take, for example, "Folding Water," which was designed to protect San Francisco's shoreline from rising waters, or even the proposal to turn the old east span of the Bay Bridge in to an elevated park. Whatever the nature of the project, the plans presented in SPUR's latest issue of The Urbanist are definitely a testament to our ability as a city to think big, even if we don't always carry out the plans we hatch.
· The Urbanist[SPUR]