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MANY interesting lectures this summer at SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association)

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  • Asha Agrawal
    ... On Tuesday, June 2, SPUR will kick-off an inaugural series of public programs to build on some of the stories, themes and events included in the opening
    Message 1 of 1 , May 29, 2009
      ----- Forwarded by Asha Agrawal/SJSU on 05/29/2009 01:41 PM ----

      On Tuesday, June 2, SPUR will kick-off an inaugural series of public
      programs to build on some of the stories, themes and events included in
      the opening exhibition, "Agents of Change: Civic Idealism and the Making
      of San Francisco."

      Join us for this crash-course in San Francisco history - where
      participants will relate the past successes and failures of each
      generation to our own efforts to forge new movements in urban thinking.

      With the exception of walking tours, all programs will take place at the
      SPUR Urban Center, 654 Mission Street (between Third & New Montgomery).
      Events are free for SPUR members and $5 for the general public.

      Don't forget to bring your membership card for expedited entry to all SPUR
      events! Not a member? Join today at spur.org/join.


      Full listing of symposia, forums and tours also available here.

      JUNE 2-11

      The Private City: The Founding Oligarchy of San Francisco
      Tuesday, June 2, 6-7:30 p.m.
      Nineteenth-century San Francisco went from a rough-and-tumble boomtown to
      a Victorian city with cosmopolitan ambitions. Its development was
      controlled by a small group of oligarchs: miners, industrialists,
      financiers and real estate speculators who hoped to forge a world-class
      metropolis in a single generation, enriching themselves in the process.
      Join panelists Chris Carlsson, social historian; Chris VerPlanck,
      architectural historian; Jeannene Przyblyski, artist, historian and
      professor at the San Francisco Art Institute; and exhibition curator
      Benjamin Grant.

      The Bay: shorelines and timelines
      Wednesday, June 3, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      The Bay's shoreline is a dynamic interface constantly reshaped by erosion,
      sedimentation, and new - often temporary - cultural strategies.
      Historically, land has moved Bayward through fill, but now the Bay is
      accelerating landward, suggesting new scenarios. Robin Grossinger of the
      San Francisco Estuary Institute explores the fascinating and ongoing
      transformation of the Bay's geography.

      The Chinese Exclusion Act
      Thursday, June 4, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      A dark theme of 19th century San Francisco was its racism, including the
      passing of anti-Chinese city ordinances, and the participation in
      demonstrations and Congressional hearings leading up to the Chinese
      Exclusion Act of 1882. Connie Young Yu, historian and vice president of
      the Chinese Historical Society of America, discusses how Chinese survived
      in San Francisco in the era of Exclusion with the help of American friends
      and business partners.

      Potrero Point/Pier 70: past and future
      Tuesday, June 9, 3:30-5 p.m.
      Limited to 20 SPUR members; RSVP to tours@....
      Potrero Point, where Pier 70 sits on the eastern waterfront, was the most
      important center of heavy industry in the western U.S. for over 100 years.
      Today, the Port of San Francisco is leading the effort to create a Master
      Plan for the area that will accommodate ship repair, historic
      preservation, environmental cleanup, and new development and open space.
      Architectural historian Chris VerPlanck and Diane Oshima from the Port
      lead a walking tour of this dynamic site.

      San Francisco's grid
      Wednesday, June 10, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      The hills of San Francisco have always been eccentric - and charismatic -
      but the streets that cross and climb them are a legacy of 19th century
      planning. UC Berkeley professor Peter Bosselmann explores how the City's
      original grid continues to shape contemporary urban planning and design.

      Golden Gate Park: an unnatural history
      Thursday, June 11, 10-11:30 a.m.
      Limited to 20 SPUR members; RSVP to tours@....
      The nature of Golden Gate Park is deceptive: once an undesirable drift of
      sand dunes far from town, now the English-style sculpted landscape is one
      of the City's most treasured recreational grounds. Marina McDougall and
      Alison Sant of the Studio for Urban Projects lead a tour of the east side
      of the park, to explore how the park represents changing ideas of nature
      in the city.

      JUNE 16-25

      The Reformed City: Progressivism in the Wake of Disaster
      Tuesday, June 16, 6-7:30 p.m.
      The disaster of 1906 lent new urgency to existing debates about the future
      of San Francisco. How would the city grow and compete with rivals? What
      should be the role of the voting public, political parties, government
      officials, planners, business and labor? Out of these debates and
      associated social conflicts would rise a new city and a unique San
      Francisco version of American progressivism and urban form. Join panelists
      William Issel, professor of history emeritus at San Francisco State
      University; Richard Walker, chair of the California Studies Center at UC
      Berkeley; and exhibition curator Benjamin Grant.

      The City Beautiful movement
      Wednesday, June 17, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      The Progressive era's issues echo those of today: government reform was
      paramount, expansion of public services was stressed, and new city
      agencies and philanthropic foundations were created to address social
      ills. Architectural historian and author Sally Woodbridge discusses how
      civic reform was tied to civic design, as the City Beautiful movement
      embraced Classical architecture.

      The Burnham Plan and its legacy
      Thursday, June 18, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Stephen Tobriner, professor of architecture emeritus at UC Berkeley,
      explores Daniel Burnham's 1905 master plan for San Francisco, a vision for
      the "Paris of America" that went unrealized in the wake of the 1906

      The story of Hetch Hetchy
      Tuesday, June 23, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Ever since the movie "Chinatown," Los Angeles has gotten bad press for
      "stealing" the Owens River to urbanize the San Fernando Valley. But why
      did San Francisco's leaders choose an expensive alternative, the Tuolumne
      River, to augment our local water supply, and then dam Hetch Hetchy Valley
      despite a nationwide outcry? Gray Brechin, historical geographer and
      author, explains the process by which arid land can be made to yield its
      most lucrative crop - a megalopolis.

      Saving Chinatown after 1906
      Wednesday, June 24, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      The relationship between the City and its Chinese community has often
      depended on the economic climate. Sue Lee, executive director of the
      Chinese Historical Society of America, discusses how efforts by the
      establishment to move Chinatown out of the city after the earthquake and
      fire were resisted - and led to the adoption of chinoiserie as an
      architectural strategy to define territory. Today, with liberalized
      immigration laws, new populations are adopting their own strategies for

      The Progressive origins of good government
      Thursday, June 25, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Charter reform, civil service, and settlement houses are all part of the
      intriguing tale of how progressive reformers responded to big-city
      "bossism." Buck Delventhal, deputy city attorney for San Francisco, and
      Phil Ginsburg, former director of the San Francisco Department of Human
      Resources, explore the origins and legacy of these turn-of-the-century
      reform efforts.

      JUNE 30-JULY 9

      Beyond the City: Turning toward Regional Challenges
      Tuesday, June 30, 6-7:30 p.m.
      True regional planning has been the elusive goal of many generations of
      Bay Area planners. While the region boasts some great successes - saving
      the Bay, preserving the greenbelt and the building of BART - we still
      struggle to adequately manage regional land use. This symposium will trace
      the current state of regional planning, and assess how new climate change
      laws give hope for greater regional coordination. Join panelists Radhika
      Fox of PolicyLink; Mike Teitz, professor emeritus in regional planning at
      UC Berkeley; Will Travis, executive director of the Bay Conservation and
      Development Commission; Egon Terplan, SPUR's regional planning director;
      and exhibition curator Benjamin Grant.

      Mapping the Bay region
      Wednesday, July 1, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      How we understand and visualize our region is shaped by the very maps and
      images we use to represent our environment. Familiar maps of urbanized
      areas often fail to distinguish between cities and suburbs or detail the
      connections between them. The ubiquitous BART map, for example, does
      little to show how to connect with other transit systems. GreenInfo
      Network's Larry Orman, former executive director of Greenbelt Alliance,
      along with Mike Reilly, manager at Stanford University Spatial Analysis
      Center, and Brian Stokle of Nelson\Nygaard, examine how the various
      approaches to mapping the Bay Area influence our definition of the
      "region" itself.

      Silicon Valley & our regional economy
      Thursday, July 2, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Unique among U.S. cities, the key economic driver of San Francisco and the
      Bay Area developed not in its urban center but in the agricultural
      countryside to the south. Yet as Silicon Valley has evolved from the land
      of innovative start-ups to become home to the largest and most established
      business headquarters in the region, less clear is where the Silicon
      Valley economy begins and ends - and what its long-term prospects will be
      for the entire Bay Area. Two leading economists - Russ Hancock, CEO and
      president of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley, and Ted Egan, chief economist
      for the City and County of San Francisco - discuss whether the Silicon
      Valley economy is becoming the Bay Area economy.

      The long arc of Bay Area industrial development
      Tuesday, July 7, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Although the Bay Area's industrial economy boomed during the
      military-based shipbuilding days of WWII, its role as an industrial center
      began much earlier, and continued well after the war with the rise of
      high-tech manufacturing in the South Bay. Richard Walker, leading economic
      geographer and chair of the California Studies Center at UC Berkeley,
      traces the history of industrialization in the Bay Area, discusses how
      different sub-regions of the Bay Area developed their own particular
      industrial specialization, and explains what impact this has on our
      current industrial landscape.

      Edge cities: redefining suburbia
      Wednesday, July 8, Time TBD.
      Limited to 20 SPUR members; RSVP to tours@....
      In the 1980s, edge cities pulled jobs from the central cities and remade
      the suburbs as car-oriented employment centers. Today, those edge cities
      are in the middle of the region and often have major transit lines running
      through them. What happens next to remake suburbia and the transit
      stations within it? Leading this tour along the Pittsburgh/Baypoint BART
      line are John Rennels from BART; Gary Craft, principal and founder of
      Craft Consulting Group and a Contra Costa Council board member; and Jim
      Kennedy, redevelopment director for Contra Costa County, who will explore
      transit-oriented development in the county and assess the future of
      suburbia - for both jobs and housing.

      The future of open space
      Thursday, July 9, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      The Bay Area leads the nation in open space preservation near its urban
      core. But the region sits next to the country's most threatened farmland
      and the urban sprawl of the San Joaquin Valley. Is the future of the open
      space movement in the Bay Area to look beyond the nine counties to address
      watershed and farmland preservation in the Delta and Central Valley, or is
      it to shift to new strategies that make our current preserved land more
      accessible? Join the discussion with two of the leading open space
      activists in the region - Jeremy Madsen, executive director of Greenbelt
      Alliance, and John Cain, director of restoration programs at the Natural
      Heritage Institute.

      JULY 14-23

      The Rational City: The Complex Legacy of Top-Down Planning
      Tuesday, July 14, 6-7:30 p.m.
      The Moderns sought to address substandard housing conditions and provide
      light, air and green space through urban planning and design. Yet in
      creating the "City of Tomorrow," they destroyed many of the places they
      tried to save. What can we learn from the Moderns' vision - and its
      pitfalls - today? Join panelists Dan Solomon, architect with Solomon
      E.T.C., a WRT Company; Anthea Hartig of the National Trust for Historic
      Preservation; Fred Blackwell, director of the San Francisco Redevelopment
      Agency; and exhibition curator Benjamin Grant.

      Optimism, Modernism, and the cult of expertise
      Wednesday, July 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Modernism was defined by a faith in the transformative capacity of
      expertise. Organizations like CIAM and Telesis produced manifestos and
      visionary schemes for urban transformation. Architect Dan Solomon of
      Solomon E.T.C., a WRT Company, and Peter Allen, urban historian and UC
      Berkeley doctoral candidate, explore this crucial characteristic of the
      modernist vision: an optimistic belief in humanity's power to shape the

      Federal housing legislation and the built environment
      Thursday, July 16, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      From the creation of the Federal Housing Administration in 1934 through
      the HOPE VI program of the last decade, federal housing legislation has
      had a tremendous impact on cities and regions. Doug Shoemaker of San
      Francisco's Mayor's Office of Housing, Dianne Spaulding of the Non-Profit
      Housing Association of Northern California, John Stewart of John Stewart
      Company, and Victor Rubin from PolicyLink explore the role the federal
      government has played in housing over the past century.

      From class war to class coalition
      Tuesday, July 21, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Labor strife and class conflict characterized much of San Francisco's
      early history. But the post-war period saw the emergence of pro-growth
      coalitions of business, government and labor. William Issel, professor of
      history emeritus at San Francisco State University, discusses the
      emergence of growth liberalism in San Francisco.

      High Modernism in San Francisco
      Wednesday, July 22, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Limited to 20 SPUR members; RSVP to tours@....
      John Kriken of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill leads a tour of some of the most
      distinctive and emblematic examples of Modernist architecture and urban
      design in San Francisco, including the Crown-Zellerbach Building and the
      Golden Gateway development.

      From urban renewal to contextual planning
      Thursday, July 23, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Urban renewal, the result of top-down planning by government entities with
      extraordinary land use powers, left deep political and physical scars in
      San Francisco. In response, a variety of efforts to assert community
      control and preserve the physical qualities of the city defined
      development politics for a generation or more. Redevelopment Agency
      Director Fred Blackwell, Planning Director John Rahaim, architect Bob
      Herman, Steve Nakajo, executive director of Kimochi, Inc, and Regina
      Davis, executive director of the San Francisco Housing Development
      Corporation, discuss this troubled chapter in the City's history.

      July 28-August 6

      The Protected City: Localism, History and Preserving the City Fabric
      Tuesday, July 28, 6-7:30 p.m.
      The Downtown Plan and the Plan for Mission Bay were among the first
      schemes in a new era of urban planning that responded to the excesses of
      the Moderns. Newly powerful neighborhood and community groups insisted
      that planners consider their needs and values, and promoted a planning
      agenda characterized by sensitivity to context, historic preservation,
      localism and inclusivity. Join panelists Dean Macris, former San Francisco
      planning director; Aaron Peskin, preservationist and former Board of
      Supervisors president; and exhibition curator Benjamin Grant.

      From trafficways to livable streets
      Wednesday, July 29, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      San Francisco's famous freeway revolt stopped many projects that seem
      outrageous today, but not before miles of freeways destroyed many
      neighborhoods, and one-way streets and expressways turned relatively
      livable streets into dangerous traffic sewers. Tom Radulovich, executive
      director of Livable City, discusses contextualist urban transportation,
      the initial freeway revolt of the 1960s, and the ongoing movement in San
      Francisco and elsewhere to remove freeways and convert existing
      trafficways into livable streets.

      The rise of counter-institutions
      Thursday, July 30, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Community-based antidotes to the anti-humanist mega-schemes of the Moderns
      flourished in the 1960s and 1970s, and some morphed into sustainable new
      models of community organization. Join a discussion with James Tracy, San
      Francisco Community Land Trust Board of Directors president; Rene
      Cazenave, executive director of the San Francisco Information Clearing
      House; Pam Peirce, author and founder of the San Francisco League of Urban
      Gardeners; and Gabriel Metcalf SPUR's executive director, to learn about
      the origins of urban gardens, land trusts, and community development

      Contextual urban design
      Tuesday, August 4, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      The contextualist movement in San Francisco arose following the
      simultaneous realization of Modernist projects like the Embarcadero Center
      and the loss of historic buildings like the City of Paris. David Baker of
      David Baker + Partners takes a critical look at the strengths and
      weaknesses of the movement, from the early historic rehabilitation of
      sites such as Ghirardelli Square to the various forms of buildings that
      are designed to fit in, and assesses the wisdom of legal guidelines that
      enforce the movement.

      Assessing district elections
      Wednesday, August 5, Time TBD
      District elections brought a new era of local representation to City Hall,
      including the city's first Asian Supervisor and first gay Supervisor. The
      tragic City Hall assassinations of 1978 ended district elections until
      they came back in 2000. This forum examines the positive and negative
      aspects of district elections, and what other methods jurisdictions use to
      elect their representatives. Speaker TBD.

      A tour of the Downtown Plan
      Thursday, August 6, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Limited to 20 SPUR members; RSVP to tours@....
      This tour will focus on highlights of the City's 1985 plan to address and
      control high-rise development. Two authors of the Downtown Plan - Dean
      Macris, former San Francisco planning director, 1980-1992, and George
      Williams, former deputy planning director - discuss the history of the
      plan and its implications for a future in which the skyline can evolve but
      still fit into the familiar context of the existing city.

      AUGUST 11-20

      The Post-Carbon City: Planning for Abundance in an Era of Dwindling
      Tuesday, August 11, 6-7:30 p.m.
      Eco-Urbanism is a movement that emphasizes sustainability, as planners
      promote green buildings, "closed-loop" architecture and neighborhood
      planning, and seek to build robust transit systems that can play a role in
      reducing emissions. Join panelists Carl Anthony, founder of Urban Habitat;
      Jeff Tumlin of Nelson\Nygaard; Leah Shahum, executive director of the San
      Francisco Bicycle Coalition; Harrison Fraker, former dean of UC Berkeley's
      College of Environmental Design; and exhibition curator Benjamin Grant.

      The architecture of Eco-Urbanism
      Wednesday, August 12, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Unparalleled in its commitment to sustainability, the Treasure Island
      redevelopment project establishes relationships between buildings, open
      space, transportation, views and natural forces. Craig Hartman of
      Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Kevin Conger of CMG Landscape Architecture
      discuss the creation of this compact, transit-oriented community.

      Rising tides: the challenge for city planners
      Thursday, August 13, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      The issue of sea-level rise is one of the main climate challenges faced by
      city planners today. The Bay Conservation and Development Commission held
      an international design competition for ideas responding to sea-level rise
      in San Francisco and other cities. The BCDC's Brad McCrea, manager of the
      competition, presents some of the most compelling entries.

      New Orleans: rebuilding in an era of climate change
      Tuesday August 18, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      New Orleans is a natural case study for examining the consequences of
      global climate change up close and personal. Edward Blakely, former
      recovery chief for the City of New Orleans, focuses on the
      inter-relationships of ecological, social, economic and environmental
      re-planning in one of America's most important regions.

      The future of energy
      Wednesday August 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Should energy policy be a local or a state issue? Molly Sterkel, program
      manager for the California Public Utilities Commission, David Hochschild
      of Solaria, and Dan Kammen, director of UC Berkeley's Renewable and
      Appropriate Energy Laboratory, consider what progress we are making toward
      renewables, and what kind of innovations will change the way we use

      EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park
      Thursday August 20, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
      Limited to 20 SPUR members; RSVP to tours@....
      Now under construction, the EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park will be the
      first environmental education facility in southeast San Francisco, and San
      Francisco's first 100 percent "off-grid" building. This tour, with Laurie
      Schoeman from Literacy for Environmental Justice and David Beaupre of the
      Port of San Francisco, also visits the site of the planned Eco-Industrial
      Park in the backlands of Piers 90-94.

      654 Mission Street |San Francisco, CA 94105

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