Civic Center/UN Plaza, San Francisco, CA

After the 1906 earthquake destroyed the original city hall, plans were drawn up for a new complex. Constructed roughly around the the turn of the century, the SF civic center and the UN Plaza extension, are grand in the truest sense of the word. The focal point of the area is the iconic city hall, built in a neoclassical style. The area also hosts important cultural institutions such as the SF Symphony, SF Opera House, and the Asian Art museum. Throughout the past century, the area has seen its ups and downs. Though the scale and architecture are grand, the area suffers from a variety of issues at ground level. One famous issue is the homelessness problem, especially in the UN Plaza. This, juxtaposed against the chic neighborhood of Hayes Valley immediately to the west of the center almost seems to highlight San Francisco’s inequality issue. Though the Civic Center is monumental in scale, it is ironically the human-level dynamic which fails to truly unite the city.

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