Photos of San Francisco’s SoMa District During the Urban Renewal of the 1970s and 1980s

South of Market by Janet Delaney

In her photo series “South of Market,” photographer Janet Delaney documented San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood between 1978 and 1986 as it underwent dramatic changes during a period of frenzied redevelopment. As a SoMa resident herself, Delaney focused on the plight of her neighbors and the old wood and masonry buildings in which they lived and worked. Many of the residents and buildings were swept aside to make way for gleaming high rises and the vast Moscone Center convention complex. Delaney’s series is available for purchase as a photo book.

These photographs were taken at the cusp of a remarkable transformation. Part of the South of Market area of San Francisco was being altered structurally: a convention center, surrounded by hotels and high-rises, replaced two story wood-frame buildings that had housed 700 businesses and 5000 residents. An even larger part of the transformation of South of Market has been the restructuring of the use of existing space. As industry moved out, artists moved into the warehouses. As families with children migrated to the suburbs, the gay community moved into the apartments. Along with these newcomers, and in spite of various plans to clear-cut the area for development, South of Market remained a vital mix of immigrant families, small businesses, and light industry.

South of Market by Janet Delaney

South of Market by Janet Delaney

South of Market by Janet Delaney

via The New Yorker

Written by EDW Lynch

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