San Francisco's Japan Center Struggles to Shake Urban Renewal History

The ongoing effort to improve Japantown shows just how difficult it can be to shed the past.

"San Francisco's Japan Center opened in 1968 as a showcase of the era's most modern thinking in urban design.

Three cleared blocks were reconceived in an attempt to combine the best of the suburbs and city: a shopping center that mimicked the charm of Japan's traditional streets and shops, but with climate-controlled walkways and convenient underground parking.

Forty years later, the dated Japan Center, with its three indoor malls and drab, concrete plaza, is an example of what urban planners are trying to deconstruct both in San Francisco and around the country.

As many cities are struggling to undo the 1960s auto-centric version of America, they are confronted not only with the outdated design of the past, but also its structures - many built before modern codes required more seismic fortitude."

Thanks to Rob Brgoff

Full Story: S.F. searches for solution to Japan Center woes

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95