This is the story of what might have been.
A story of what didn't happen, told by what isn't there.
It’s a story of a planned community for thirty thousand people across from the Golden Gate Bridge; of a nuclear power plant on the Sonoma coast; of San Francisco Bay reduced to a shipping canal lined with cities built on landfill; of a freshwater lake, tract homes, and a yacht harbor on what became Point Reyes National Seashore
These are places where “progress” can’t be measured in dollars or development. Instead, these places are the Bay Area’s public open spaces. Collectively larger than Yosemite National Park, their preservation was never a given. Rather, courageous activism and skillful political leadership has given us a legacy that can be measured in what we don’t see.
Gratefully, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of those involved in the battles to protect the parks and open spaces make our busy, crowded, urban lives more livable—those who volunteered thousands of hours to preserve what we who live here now celebrate, indeed cherish.
There is much to be learned from their vision, commitment and strategies—and much to inspire. The lessons they offer are not location-specific. Anyone, anywhere who may wonder if they can take on an oil company, the political machine, or even popular opinion, will be heartened to know that success is possible.
My goal was to create the first-ever composite of how the Bay Area would look had the mid-twentieth development schemes come to pass. I am grateful for the support of many people who helped me to reach this goal, especially illustrator Alfred Twu, whose talent and passion helped to bring this project to life.
I hope this work, what I’m calling “SF Bay Area: What Might Have Been” inspires questions, sparks curiosity, and contributes an additional layer of appreciation whenever one looks out across the Golden Gate and realizes that so much of what we have inherited is what we don’t see.
-- Victoria A. Bogdan Tejeda, March 2014
(Please see below for a short video, created during the project's fundraising phase, explaining the its origin and vision.)