Excerpts from "How Urban Renewal Destroyed the Fillmore in Order to Save It" by Walter Thompson
After World War II, American cities were transfixed by a bold social experiment that came to be known as urban renewal.
Proponents, including leading liberals as well as business and civic interests across the country, believed razing and replacing large swaths of economically depressed older neighborhoods with bigger new buildings would result in lower crime, economic growth and a higher standard of living.
San Francisco became a key testing ground for the concept from the 1940s into the 70s, with large portions of the Western Addition around Fillmore Street getting bulldozed and eventually rebuilt.
But the promised benefits didn't materialize.