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Making the Mission: Planning and Ethnicity in San Francisco by Ocean Howell

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By Ocean Howell

Within the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, citizens of the city’s iconic challenge District bucked the city-wide improvement plan, defiantly asserting that during their local, they might be calling the pictures. Ever because, the challenge has turn into referred to as a urban inside of a urban, and a spot the place citizens have, during the last century, geared up and reorganized themselves to make the local of their personal image.

In Making the challenge, Ocean Howell tells the tale of ways citizens of the challenge District geared up to say the precise to plot their very own local and the way they mobilized a politics of position and ethnicity to create a robust, frequently racialized identity—a development that will repeat itself time and again in the course of the 20th century. Surveying the views of formal and casual teams, urban officers and district citizens, neighborhood and federal corporations, Howell articulates how those actors labored with and opposed to each other to set up the very principles of the general public and the general public curiosity, in addition to to barter and renegotiate what the local sought after. within the procedure, he exhibits that nationwide narratives approximately how towns develop and alter are essentially inadequate; every little thing is often formed through neighborhood actors and matters.

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The successful vision was one in which the city would grow incrementally and in which land use decisions would be decentralized, largely guided by interest groups rather than municipal government. The informal character of this vision did not make it any less a planning agenda; indeed, the agenda was precisely to keep land use decisions decentralized and to grow incrementally. 38 For all the venom of her attack on out-oftouch technocrats wielding centralized power, Jacobs never suggests that planning power might be decentralized.

The Johnson administration’s War on Poverty provided tangible incentives for poor minority populations to identify as poor minorities. In the Mission, those incentives came in the form of funding for social programs and planning efforts from the Office of Economic Opportunity and the Model Cities program. But because the Mission was decidedly multiethnic, primarily Anglo and Latino, no one group could claim to represent the entire neighborhood in the pursuit of this funding. Understanding this, organizers acknowledged and celebrated the very multiethnicity of the neighborhood, creating coalitions that could claim to truly represent the Mission.

The Second City will make frequent appearances in the pages that follow for several reasons. 48 The third reason to compare San Francisco to Chicago is a purely practical one, related to the shape of the historiography: when it comes to scholarly literature on neighborhoods, Chicago is far and away the best-studied city in the United States. Indeed, no neighborhood-based study would be complete without at least some reference to the literature on Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, or Lawndale-Crawford, among other areas.

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