Thereare numerous leaders who have had a positive contribution to the cityof San Francisco. Majority of these leaders are mayors who have beenelected in different eras. However, the greatest contributors whomade a noticeable impact on the city include, but not limited to, thepotentates in the post earthquake years. According to Richards(2007), the earthquake brought the city down and “several of therecently completed structures were reduced to piles of rubbles, whileothers, although still standing, were so badly damaged that they werelater torn down”. Due to the enormous economic and social impactsthe earthquake had on the city, the governor of the California,George Pardee is among the leaders who made a major contribution inthe reconstruction of the city and the urban center in general. Other leaders who made a huge contribution in the development of SanFrancisco include Eugene Schmitz and Angelo Joseph Rossi, GeorheChristopher in the mid 20thcentury and Dianne Feinstein in the 1980s (Richards, 2007). Leaderswithin the modern political systems in the United States have madeenormous contributions in the development of the modern day SanFrancisco and the Bay Area in general. This includes local andnational elected and nominated political leaders. It would be collectto state that each senator, governor or mayor among other leaders inSan Francisco and California, has made some contribution in thehistory of the city.
Despitethe American society being very diverse socially, ethnically andculturally, tolerance to the minorities has always been an issue. TheAmerican society is a society composed of mainly immigrants anddescendants of immigrants where the natives of America are aminority. However, the level of minority intolerance in San Franciscois relatively low compared to other cities in the world.Historically, San Francisco was the mina entry port of immigrantsfrom Asia. Despite the immigration restriction in the early 20thcentury, “overseas Chinese quickly discovered that the onerelatively easy way to land in San Francisco” (Richards, 2007).Between the mid 19thcentury and the early 20 century, Asians especially from China movedinto San Francisco and inhibited the city. This was prompted by thegold rush in the mid 19thcentury. Although national population challenges resulted intoincreased intolerance and laws targeting immigrants from the east,San Francisco remained a racially and ethnically diverse city due toits strategic location (Richards, 2007). According to the 2010national census, white Americans and Asian American from the majorityethnic groups in San Francisco. It is considered to be one of themajor cities in the United States where the minority population isthe majority with non Hispanic white constituting less than half ofthe population. However, this has not been the case throughouthistory. In the early 20thcentury, the minority races and ethnic community comprised less than10 percent. Also, San Francisco is the home to the largest Filipinocommunity living outside Philippines. This is an indication of thehigh level of minority tolerance in San Francisco. Recently, the cityadministration declared San Francisco the ‘city of refuge’ forthe minorities in the society. San Francisco is rated together withHonolulu and Durham in terms of minorities’ tolerance includingracial, religious, ethnic, cultural, and religious tolerance. Due tothis tolerance, for example, the city has one of the biggest same sexcouples in the country (John, 2006).
Planningof the city of San Francisco is very complex since it is a relativelyold city. Although it is a relatively modern city, some historicalfeatures of the city planning are still visible. Additionally, “thesecond half of the nineteenth century produced distinctive style ofarchitecture that is known as Victorian” and named after QueenVictoria of England (Richards, 2007). There are some historicalevents as well as planners and artists who have played a major rolein the construction and beatification of the city. The earthquake of1906 which was estimated to be of a magnitude of 7.8 on the richerscale had devastating effects on the structures in the city of SanFrancisco. The earthquake occurred along the San Andreas Faultresulting into over 270 miles rapture between Eureka to San JuanBautista. It also resulted into an uncontrollable fire. The calamitydestroyed about 80 percent of the city. This called for a redesigningand reconstruction of the city of San Francisco (Fradkin, 2005). Bylate 1920s, San Francisco had been reconstructed and was among themost modern urban centers of the time. The most significantcontribution of planners and artists in the city took place in thisera. Some of the ambitious and renowned plans that were proposed inthe early 20thcentury, possible before the disaster were developed by one of themost famous urban planners, Daniel Burnham. His daring plannedconsisted of “Haussmann style avenues, boulevards, and arterialthoroughfares that radiated across the city, a massive civic centercomplex with classical structures, what would have been the largesturban park in the world, stretching from Twin Peaks to Lake Mercedwith a large athenaeum at its peak, and various other proposals”.Due to the radical changes in the city planning, the property ownersopposed the plan since some of their properties would be acquired torealize the plan. However, after the devastating earthquake and fire,majority of his proposals were incorporated in the reconstruction.These includes the “a neo-classicalcivic center complex, wider streets, a preference of arterialthoroughfares, a subwayunder Market Street and Coit Tower (Young, 2004).
Anotherfamous planner who made a huge contribution in the planning of themodern day San Francisco is M. Justin Herman. He was appointed by thecity mayor in the mid 20thcentury, Georhe Christopher and his proposals received comparableamount of criticism. This is because his massive restructuring of thecity tore some of the middle class neighborhoods as well as hugeareas inhibited by minorities such as black Americans. He proposed areplacement of some of the city structures with more modernstructures. He is considered to be one of the most successive cityplanners. The work of Justin Herman led to the establishment of someof the visible structures in the city such as “EmbarcaderoCenter,the EmbarcaderoFreeway,Japantown,the Geary Street superblocks, and YerbaBuena Gardens”.Mayor Dianne Feinstein, who reigned in the 1980s, also initiatedmajor changes in the city. The plan commonly known as“Manhattanization’, resulted into massive modernization of thecity for example, the creation of the financial district withnumerous skyscrapers and high-rise residential houses. The mayor alsoinitiated the plans to construct a convectional center and cable carin the city (Matthew, 2013).
TheBay Area refers to the areas in North California which includes SanFrancisco, Oakland and San Jose among other highly populated urbancenters. The area has excellent infrastructures and social amenities,and is only second to Los Angeles in the state of California. The bayis considered to be among the five largest urban areas in the UnitedStates. However, the Bay Area is relatively different from majorityof other urban areas and cities in the United States. The history ofthe city of San Francisco and the Bay Area in general has played animportant role in distinguishing it from other urban centers inAmerica. For example, in the late19thand early 20thcentury, “the Bay Area was an important entry point for immigrantsfrom Asia” (Richards, 2007). As a result, the region has one of themost diverse populations in the United States. Moreover, the level oftolerance to the minority societies in the region is above average.Additionally, the earth quake disaster in the early 20thcentury had a huge influence of the city planning. As a result, thecity was able to incorporate structures and plans that have beenincorporated in the cities recently (James et al, 1998).
Fradkin,P. L. (2005). TheGreat Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906: How San Francisco NearlyDestroyed Itself.Berkeley: University of California.
James,B., Chris C. & Nancy J. P. (1998). ReclaimingSan Francisco: history, politics, culture: a City Lights anthology,San Francisco, Calif.: City Lights Books.
JohnD. (2006). "San Francisco Then and Now," AmericanHeritage,April/May 2006.
Matthew,M. B. (2013). Downby the bay: San Francisco`s history between the tides,Berkeley: University of California Press.
Richards,R. (2007). HistoricSan Francisco: a concise history and guide,San Francisco: Heritage House Publishers.
Young,T. (2004). "BuildingSan Francisco`s parks", 1850-1930,Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.