Conditions Governing Access
Scope and Contents
Title: San Francisco Department of City Planning Records
Date (inclusive): 1922-2003
Identifier/Call Number: SFH 465
San Francisco (Calif.). Planning Department
San Francisco (Calif.). Department of City Planning
6.6 Cubic Feet
Language of Material:
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Abstract: Contains reports, plans and proposals, and property surveys shaping the physical development of San Francisco in the 20th
century. Also includes photographic prints and negatives documenting neighborhoods, streets, and traffic scenes.
Physical Location: Collection is stored on site.
Language of Material: Collection materials are in
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk
Photographs cannot be photocopied. Gloves are required when handling photographs.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.
[Identification of item], San Francisco Department of City Planning Records (SFH 465), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco
Transferred to the San Francisco City Archives from the San Francisco Department of City Planning in separate accessions.
Photographs and negatives were transferred from the Planning Department to the San Francisco Public Library in the 1980s,
with a second transfer in 2013.
Researchers are encouraged to see also the San Francisco Department of Public Works Bureau of Engineering Records (SFH 458),
for files on a city-wide mapping project and related construction of a wood model of the city, created by the federal Work
See also the History Center's subject files and the library catalog.
Making City Planning Work,
Allan B. Jacobs, Washington, D.C.: American Planning Association, c1980.
Processed by Tami J. Suzuki and Christina Moretta. Primary processing and description of Block Profiles series by Ed Michael,
During processing, the collection was re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes.
Some reports were transferred to the library's book collection. Photographs have been transferred to the San Francisco Historical
Long known as the San Francisco Department of City Planning, the agency more recently became known as the San Francisco Planning
Department. It plays a central role in guiding the city's growth and development, including enforcing the Planning Code. The
Planning Commission maintains the city's General Plan and advises the department on long-range goals, policies and programs,
on issues related to land use, transportation, and current planning.
Early city planning was based on a rectilinear block plan laid out and modified by surveyors Capt. Jean Jacques Vioget (in
1839), Jasper O'Farrell (in 1847), and William Eddy (in 1849). In 1904, architect Daniel Burnham laid out a plan that was
completed just before the earthquake and fire of 1906, but the plan was ignored in the city's rebuilding. Later, some of Burnham's
ideas were implemented, including the Great Highway, Yacht Harbor, Aquatic Park, Civic Center, John McLaren Park, and Telegraph
Hill Park. Development westward also ensued.
Mayor James Rolph appointed the first City Planning Commission members on Dec. 28, 1917. The commission became a city agency
in 1929, charged with responsibility under the Charter to make, accept, and maintain a Master Plan for the physical development
of the city. The agency was known as the San Francisco Department of City Planning.
Scope and Contents
Contains reports, plans and proposals, property surveys, block drawings, and photographic images shaping and documenting the
physical development of San Francisco in the 20th century. Block drawings were prepared in 1938 and 1939 for construction
of a 3-dimensional model of the city. Subjects include height limits, urban design, lot sizes, rezoning, street connections,
Photographs consist of prints, negatives, and color slides of neighborhoods, streets, and traffic scenes. Photo subjects include
construction of the Work Projects Administration (WPA) Sectional Model of San Francisco and the Market Street transit thoroughfare.
Organized into three series: 1. Subject Files; 2. Block Profiles; and 3. Photographs and Negatives. Subject Files are arranged
alphabetically. Block Profiles are arranged numerically by map number. Photographs are arranged chronologically, and by project.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
San Francisco (Calif.). Planning Department -- Archives
San Francisco (Calif.). Department of City Planning -- Archives
City planning -- California -- San Francisco.
Land use -- California -- San Francisco.
Cities and towns -- California -- San Francisco -- Growth
San Francisco (Calif.). -- Relief models
Photographic prints -- 20th century.
Slides -- Color --1970-1980