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San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Records
SFH 371  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Separated Materials
  • Related Materials
  • Processing Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Digitized Reports
  • Accruals

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    Title: San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Records
    Creator: San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Identifier/Call Number: SFH 371
    Physical Description: 41 boxes, 3 oversized boxes (49.25 cubic feet)
    Date (inclusive): 1947-2011
    Abstract: This collection contains paper and photographic records of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. Records document the project areas of Diamond Heights, Embarcadero-Lower Market (Golden Gateway), Western Addition A-1 and A-2, Yerba Buena Center, Hunters Point, and other project and survey areas.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored on site.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.


    Paper records are available for use during San Francisco History center hours, with processed photographs available during Photo Desk hours. The photo collection is partially processed.
    Contact the Photo Curator to access the unprocessed photographs.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscrips must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. All requests for permission to publish from photographs must be submitted in writing to the Photo Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Records (SFH 371), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.


    Materials were transferred by the City and County of San Francisco's Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, the successor agency to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (www.sfocii.org), on June 21, 2013. Additional records were transferred on July 14, 2016, Aug. 31, 2017, and Dec. 19, 2017. Papers of former agency Assistant Executive Director, John B. Dykstra, were donated by Lynn Dykstra on Aug. 9, 2018.

    Separated Materials

    Photographs have been transferred to the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.
    Rubber stamps (two) of the Redevelopment Agency's seal, circa 1999, removed to San Francisco History Center Realia Collection.
    See the library catalog for Renewing Our Cities, Colean, Miles L., New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1953.
    Removed: Centralized Relocation, A New Municipal Service, Groberg, Robert P., Washington DC: National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, 1969.

    Related Materials

    Researchers are encouraged to see also the History Center's subject and card files, and to check the library catalog for reports and related materials including the WACO Organizer, newspaper of the Western Addition Community Organization; titles by Chester Hartman including City for Sale, The Transformation of San Francisco and Yerba Buena: Land Grab and Community Resistance in San Francisco; By-Laws of the Redevelopment Agency; and agency meeting agendas and minutes.
    Related collections include the Chester Hartman Papers; SFH 5, Joseph L. Alioto Papers; SFH 7, George Christopher Papers; SFH 465, San Francisco Department of City Planning Records; SFP 24, James A. Scott Photograph Collection; and the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.
    Additional records reside with the successor agency, Office of Community Investment and Infracture (OCII). For OCII Central Records/Public Records requests, contact:
    Jaimie Cruz 415 749-2408 commissionsecretary.ocii@sfgov.org.

    Processing Information

    During processing, the entire collection was re-foldered and re-housed in acid-free folders, enclosures and boxes. Photographs were processed by Kim Hayden and Eileen Hansen in 2015 and 2016. Paper records were processed by Tami Suzuki in 2018.

    Administrative History

    The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA), California's first redevelopment agency, was incorporated on Aug. 10, 1948 under the California Community Redevelopment Law and in response to the United States Housing Act. Its purpose was to improve urban living conditions by removing what they called "blight" through the redesign, redevelopment, and rehabilitation of affected areas of the city. Though separate from the City and County of San Francisco, the agency carried out redevelopment efforts authorized by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
    The first fifty years were driven by federal funding, from the Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Former HHFA regional director, Justin Herman, became the Redevelopment Agency director, serving during the mayoralties of George Christopher, John Shelley, and Joseph Alioto. Large projects as well as specific developments were undertaken.
    When redevelopment planning was begun in a community, the boundaries of a "survey area" were first defined. A survey area was the term used to describe the extent of planning research and analysis for this work. A survey area required approval by the Board of Supervisors to proceed as a project.
    Urban renewal caused considerable controversy in the Western Addition, wiping out blocks of structures including thousands of housing units, destroying thriving businesses, and displacing hundreds of African American and Japanese American residents. In 1967, a coalition of churches and community leaders formed the Western Addition Community Organization (WACO). WACO won a court injunction giving them representation in the Redevelopment Agency's decision-making process.
    In the South of Market area, residents also presented opposition. Various lawsuits challenged dislocation, financing, and environmental concerns over the Yerba Buena Center project, including the successful 1970-1973 Tenants and Owners in Opposition to Redevelopment (TOOR) suit over the relocation process. Development was halted through 1975.
    In the southeastern edges of the city, Hunters Point has faced significant and persistent social and economic challenges. Following World War II and the downsizing of the Naval shipyard's labor force, unemployment and the shortage of adequate housing caused great damage. Citizens formed a Joint Housing Committee in 1966, to provide community input to the Redevelopment Agency. Several project areas were approved, with limited fulfillment.
    Federal housing and community development assistance was halted by President Richard Nixon in 1973. In 1974, federal grants for urban renewal were made available through Community Development Block Grants. Money then went directly to the city instead of to the Agency. Urban renewal then had to compete with other local programs for federal funding.
    In the early 1990s, the agency began efforts to adopt plans in seven new survey areas simultaneously--the Transbay area, Bayview Hunters Point, Mid-Market, the Federal Office Building site, Treasure Island Naval Station, and the Hunters Point Shipyard. These were all adopted, along with Mission Bay North and South Projects. Project-specific amendments included the Rincon Point South Beach plan amendment to assist in the development of Pacific Bell Park.
    On February 1, 2012, all California redevelopment agencies, including the SFRA, were dissolved by order of the California Supreme Court (California Redevelopment Association et al. v. Ana Matosantos). San Francisco's redevelopment efforts were taken over by the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection contains documents and photographic records of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. Records document the project areas of Diamond Heights, Embarcadero-Lower Market (Golden Gateway), Western Addition A-1 and A-2, Yerba Buena Center, Hunters Point, India Basin, Bayview Industrial Triangle, Rincon Point-South Beach, Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard, and South of Market Earthquake Recovery. Several other project and survey areas are also represented.
    Included in each series are annual reports and other agency reports, survey and project area plans, promotional materials for developers and residents, reports by consultants and city agencies including the Department of City Planning, and photographs. Of note are Western Addition relocation and vacate reports (1963-1979); photographs and appraisal reports documenting Western Addition redevelopment; a Yerba Buena Center Report on Clearance and Retention (1966); and photos, negatives, and slides of models for Golden Gateway and Yerba Buena Gardens construction projects, construction in progress, and post-redevelopment.
    There are no minutes and little correspondence. Unprocessed photographic records document the Bayview Hunters Point, India Basin, Rincon Point-South Beach, Mission Bay, and Mid-Market Street project areas.
    Additional records are expected from the successor agency, Office of Community Investment and Infracture.


    The collection is organized into 26 series, by redevelopment project and survey area: Series 1. General; Series 2. Diamond Heights Project Area; Series 3. South Basin Project Area; Series 4. Western Addition Project Areas; Series 5. Embarcadero-Lower Market (Golden Gateway) Project Area;
    Series 6. Chinese Cultural and Trade Center Project Area; Series 7. Yerba Buena Center Project Area; Series 8. Hunters Point Project Area; Series 9. India Basin Project Area; Series 10. Stockton/Sacramento Project Area;
    Series 11. Bayview North Survey Area; Series 12. Mariners Village Development; Series 13. Bayview Industrial Triangle Project Area; Series 14. Rincon Point-South Beach Project Area; Series 15. Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Project Area;
    Series 16. Bayview Hunters Point Project Area; Series 17. South of Market Project Area; Series 18. Treasure Island Project Area; Series 19; Fillmore Jazz Preservation District Survey Area; Series 20. York Theater Remodel Project;
    Series 21. Federal Office Building Project Area; Series 22. Mission Bay North Project Area; Series 23. Mission Bay South Project Area; Series 24. Mid-Market Project Area; Series 25. Transbay Project Area; Series 26. Visitacion Valley Project Area.
    Project series are organized into subseries, Papers and Photographs. Arrangement is chronological.

    Digitized Reports

    Many agency reports are available online at www.archive.org .


    Additional materials are expected.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Redevelopment, Urban -- San Francisco.
    Urban renewal-California-San Francisco-Pictorial works.
    Urban renewal -- California -- San Francisco.
    City planning -- California -- San Francisco.
    Housing -- California -- San Francisco.
    Landscape architecture--Designs and plans--California--San Francisco.
    Public housing -- California -- San Francisco.
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Diamond Heights (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Golden Gateway (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Hunters Point (San Francisco, Calif.)
    India Basin (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Rincon Point (San Francisco, Calif.)
    South Beach (San Francisco, Calif.)
    South of Market (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Western Addition (San Francisco, Calif.) -- History.
    Yerba Buena Center (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Yerba Buena Gardens (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens.
    Documentary photography -- California -- San Francisco -- 20th century
    Photographic prints -- 20th century -- San Francisco
    Slides -- Color -- 1960-1970 -- San Francisco
    Slides -- Color -- 1970-1980 -- San Francisco
    Slides -- Color -- 1980-1990 -- San Francisco
    San Francisco Redevelopment Agency -- (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Archives