Filed under: Mobility
Shifting Landscapes of Mobility: The Spatial Reconfiguration of the Mission District to Accommodate Automobility
For my Geography Master’s thesis I looked at the reconfiguration of space in a streetcar suburb in order to accommodate automobiles. This site contains downloadable chapter pdf’s of my thesis as well as related maps, links and photos.
My historical geography of the Mission District in San Francisco documents the shift from public to private transport and the resultant impact on the built environment. Spatial reconfigurations include the narrowing of sidewalks in order to increase automobile capacity, modification of the Victorian and Edwardian architectural landscape, and the large-scale replacement of front yards with driveways. This thesis also examines the increasing privatization of street space in order to accommodate parking in private residential garages and resultant significant loss (41%) of public curb parking spaces. As this study demonstrates there are significant inequalities in the use and access to public street space.
Finally, this study challenges a predominate assumption that streets are primarily intended as a space for automobiles and questions the existing framework that places street function as a conduit for transportation only, excluding other potential uses of this vast public space.
Mary Brown, December 2007
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