The Urban Design Plan is part of the San Francisco Master Plan and was first published in 1971 and adopted in 1972 after a 2-year study. It was commissioned by the city and partly funded by an Urban Planing Grant over resident concerns that San Francisco would lose its unique character. The plan includes general guidelines that have strongly informed theories of growth and development. The preservationist and environmentalist tendencies of the report to temper and slow growth has likely contributed to the lack of affordable housing and levels of gentrification in San Francisco today.
The plan is broken up into 4 main sections: CITY PATTERN, CONSERVATION, MAJOR NEW DEVELOPMENT, and NEIGHBORHOOD ENVIRONMENT.
The CITY PATTERN is a theory of aesthetics about how the shape and character of development should happen.
The CONSERVATION outlines the goals and need for preservation. The section opens with a call to preserve the old and irreplaceable, appealing to human achievement and the human need for rest, quiet, and escape from the confinement of the bustling, dirty city. The report deems resources which provide these qualities worthy of conservation:
- sense of nature
- continuity with the past
- freedom from over-crowding
The MAJOR NEW DEVELOPMENT section documents how new projects should be undertaken to complement the CITY PATTERN while implementing CONSERVATION of existing forms and nature and preserving neighborhood character.
Improving the vitality and quality of neighborhoods.
Primary source: Urban Design Plan 1971, Prelinger Archive