June 7, 2005

Treasure Island Plan for San Francisco

Category: Urban Planning


San Francisco: On extraordinarily rare occasions the opportunity presents itself to develop a piece of land in ideal, truly brilliant fashion. Treasure Island is a former military facility on landfill in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It's laid largely vacant for the past decade or so awaiting a plan to put it to use. Although a large part of it should definitely be used for parkland, it's imperative that the region needs additional living space for people. A group has stepped forward to make the island a car-free home for up to 20,000 people. A ten minute ferry ride would take people frequently to downtown SF, and the entire island would be run by solar and wind (it's really windy there). Read the article, and I think you'll agree that this is one of those almost too good to be true possibilities. Posted by Nick at June 7, 2005 2:44 PM



Wow--thanks, Nick! I'm one of the students from the Treasure Island studio, and my team (one of six) produced the illustration above. I'd be happy to answer any questions people have about our proposals.

Posted by: Jeff at June 7, 2005 4:25 PM

Good luck with that...

Posted by: John at June 12, 2005 9:48 PM

I suppose the building codes would account for building on landfill in an earthquake zone, but I can't say I'd be first in line to live there myself, despite the eco-friendly elements. A big enough shake would liquify the ground beneath me, although I wonder how the infrastructure there presently has performed in past episodes.

Posted by: Greg at June 16, 2005 7:06 PM

I suppose there are building code provisions for it, and that the existing structures designed to accomodate those codes, but wouldn't the ground be more apt to liquify in an earthquake? Much as I like the idea of an environmentally friendly community, I wouldn't want to see it sink into the bay, especially if I was living there.

Posted by: Greg [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 20, 2005 4:47 PM

Treasure Island has not been mostly vacant, there is currently a lot of cheap housing out there, with (limited) public transportation access. Problem is that there is almost nothing else that would make it liveable, like grocery stores or pubs, etc. Re-development is a good idea, though, but they shouldn't replace all of the decent low-cost housing that is already there, because it most likely won't be replaced by new lost-cost housing anywhere else.

Posted by: Tom [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2005 12:44 PM

Treasure Island could be an incredable area (the view itself is priceless) but the amount of pollution there is the reason it hasn't been developed into more than low income housing (which is almost always on polluted lands). You can drive the island yourself and see the abandoned buildings with signs showing bunnies with gas masks. I think there should be clean up before development occurs.

Posted by: Teal at October 13, 2005 10:24 AM

This place is a ghost town and would be expensive to run a business on the island.

Posted by: terry at January 30, 2006 10:35 PM


I am very interested in the concept of a car-free environment, particularly in the conversion of a habited area to car-free and alternative power. What do you believe are the main obstacles involved in bringing such a society about?

Posted by: Scott at November 12, 2007 6:53 AM

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