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Similar to most global urban waterfronts, San Francisco’s water- front was mainly shaped by economic forces in its early days. The infrastructural network facilitated growth within the city, while con- tinuously transforming the physical nature of the waterfront. The majority of San Francisco’s southeastern waterfront still remains industrial in character, however over the next 100 years we will gradually see a transformation of program and land use.

The 1989 earthquake, an environmental catastrophe, transformed the northeastern waterfront from one driven by economics, to one highly influenced by cultural values. The Embarcadero Freeway, once separating the city from the waterfront, was torn down to expand the area into an open space park with a focus on art, recreation and other outdoor programs. This renaissance will move south during the next 100 years as San Francisco plans to redevelop it’s south eastern waterfront. This area is historically an industrial port and the majority of it is located on landfill. It is a diverse, dynamic edge that is ripe with opportutunities for change, as parts of it remain underdeveloped and industrial.



As economics played a major factor in the birth of San Francisco’s waterfront, the majority of the edge was transformed around a century ago when San Francisco relied on waterfront cargo. Today the waterfront remains part of the port of San Francisco, and is mainly landfill. However, as industrial use has subsided this area is slowly transforming to not only emphasize cultural use, but to also emphasize environmental use. As we work to protect the areas that we claimed and built as our own over a century ago, we must take into account global warming and sea level rise to plan for a sustainable future.