City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco

City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco

City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco

City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco

Synopsis

"The importance of Chester Hartman's book reaches far beyond the case of San Francisco. It is a major work on the politics and economics of urban development, a work that uniquely foresees alternative ways to improve our cities. It will become a landmark of urban research."--Manuel Castells, University of California

"The further one reads into Chester Hartman's story of San Francisco redevelopment, the more bizarre and engrossing the story becomes. Centering his account on the downtown Yerba Buena Center project, Hartman wonderfully illuminates the conflicts of interest, ambitions, misrepresentations, extravagant promises, brutality, waste, incompetence, and sheer silliness that characterized the ill-fated American experiment called Urban Renewal and puts it into a social and economic context."--Jane Jacobs, author of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities"

Excerpt

For a city as politically fascinating and world renowned as San Francisco, it is surprising how little exists in the way of book-length scholarly literature focused solely on the city's recent history. Fred Wirt's 1974 Power in the City: Decision Making in San Francisco, Allan Jacobs's 1978 Making City Planning Work, Richard DeLeon's 1992 Left Coast City: Progressive Politics in San Francisco, Stephen McGovern's 1998 The Politics of Downtown Development: Political Cultures in San Francisco and Washington, D. C., and the 1998 collection Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture, edited by James Brook, Chris Carlsson, and Nancy J. Peters (see also their related CD-ROM, Shaping San Francisco: A Multimedia Excavation of the Lost History of San Francisco, 2d ed.), along with my 1984 The Transformation of San Francisco, stand out as the few examples. Thus, when that book went out of print several years ago, I could not resist the temptation to update and reissue it. That I no longer live in San Francisco (although I still own a home there) turned out to be both an advantage and a disadvantage. The downside is obvious. But a combination of regular trips back, constant contacts with old friends and activist colleagues, and regular consultation of the city's newspapers (now easily accessed via the Internet) gave me a basic understanding of how the various strands of my earlier history have developed in the dozen and a half subsequent years. To provide the additional detail needed, I was fortunate to recruit Sarah Carnochan, then a lawyer with the Tenderloin Housing Clinic and currently a doctoral student in social work at UC-Berkeley, who spent many weeks, at different periods of the rewrite, under my direction, tracking down the various items I needed for the new edition and writing up this new material. For my final writing . . .

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