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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Neighborhood Movement in San Francisco


Neighborhood organizations in San Francisco today are notable for the strength of their challenge to business interests in a major corporate center, and for avoiding racial conflict in a remarkably diverse city. (On other cities: Arnold, 1 979 & Crenson, 1983 on Baltimore; Edel, Sclar & Luria, 1984 & Mollenkopf, 1983 on Bos­ ton; Abbott, 1983 on Portland; Lee, et al., 1984 on Seattle). They have great influence on city planning, but at the same time, neigh­ borhood organizations which unite against the effects of downtown development are also divided among themselves. Tension over exclusion and inclusion, property rights and universal rights, local protection and regional responsibility have been an underlying theme of neighborhood politics ever since new neighborhood organizations arose out of the civil rights movement. In the fol­ lowing pages I trace the neighborhood movement in San Francisco from its origins over a century ago in conservative, parochial organizations of local property owners, to its present complexity and major role in city politics.

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