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Monthly ‘City Front’ or ‘Northern Shore’ Bay Cruises in 2022!

Recent Free Public Talks and Outdoor Urban Forums
January 2020-2022

A place to meet and talk unmediated by corporations, official spokespeople, religion, political parties, or dogma.

All events are free.
At 518 Valencia Street, near 16th, in San Francisco (close to 16th Street BART)

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Saturday, September 24, 12 noon

Chain o' Lakes/Western Golden Gate Park

Our first Walk n Talk Urban Forum of Fall 2022 season, started the north edge of the Northernmost of the Chain of Lakes in western Golden Gate Park. After traversing the width of the park we proceeded west and encounter a number of other stories related to trains, bicycles, feminism, shipwrecks and more!

Video here.

Saturday, May 28

City College to San Francisco State

Learn about the struggle for union rights and a Free City College, visit the Urbano Sundial, and end at the historic SF State University campus, where the 1968-69 student/faculty strikes led to the establishment of the first College of Ethnic Studies in the U.S.

Video here.

Saturdays, April 9 and April 16

San Bruno Mountain

A walk up Owl Canyon and then down Buckeye Canyon on San Bruno Mountain, led by David Schooley, long time organizer and defender of the remarkable Mountain. A home to endangered plants and butterflies, and the last intact remnant of the ecological niche that once covered most of the San Francisco peninsula, and a place with incredible views from dense oak forests, San Bruno Mountain is also home to some key environmental battles of the 1970s to the present.

Video here.

Saturday, March 26

Fort Funston to Pine Lake

A Shaping San Francisco "Urban Forum: Walk n Talk" going from Fort Funston in the southwest corner of the city through the old base, now a park, to Ocean Beach and north to Sloat Blvd., then east on Wawona to Pine Lake. Several stops along the way with semi-long presentations by Shaping San Francisco's Chris Carlsson covering military and economic history, wildflowers, sewage, urban farming, water, swales and graywater, and many other random things. Includes photos from, video from the Prelinger Archive, and a map from

Video here.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Visitacion Valley and Little Hollywood

A spirited urban meander starting at the foot of the Visitacion Valley Greenway, with a presentation on its evolution from activist Fran Martin, then looping back through the neighborhood and down Leland Avenue, the main shopping street, checking out historic architecture along the way with commentary from Visitacion Valley Historical Society members Cynthia Cox and Edie Eps. Once we emerged onto Bayshore Boulevard we went slightly north to cross over and enter Little Hollywood where we heard from VVHS member Russel Marine, along with Edie and Cynthia, and toured the unique residential neighborhood with a stop at its hilltop park next to the Recology facility. After all that we headed back onto Bayshore Blvd., stopping in front of the former Schlage Lock factory site to hear about the failed redevelopment of it, and ended south of the county line where we could peer through the fence to see the old Southern Pacific roundhouse.

Video here.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

An Irish Catholic Liberal: Bishop Mark J. Hurley and the 1968-69 Strike at State

Countless Irish ancestry Catholic liberals helped shape the political culture of urban America in the twentieth century. San Francisco's Auxiliary Bishop Mark J. Hurley brokered the settlement of the longest student strike in United States history, but his role in bringing peace to the campus and thus enabling the establishment of ethnic studies at the college was unsung at the time and has been forgotten since. The story of Bishop Hurley and the strike at State is an important chapter in a genuinely inclusive history of the city of San Francisco. Featuring guest speaker William Issel, History Professor Emeritus, SF State University.

Video here.

Saturday, November 6

Glen Canyon to Sutro Forest

An urban forum "walk 'n talk" starting at Glen Park BART station, and meandering up through Glen Canyon, onto Portola Drive and west to Panoramic off Twin Beaks Blvd to the entry point to the Laguna Honda Trail. Coursing along behind the public hospital, the trail eventually runs westerly along an ivy-filled canyon that is directly above the MUNI Twin Peaks tunnel, leading eventually to a Clarendon Avenue exit. From there we went up and up to enter the Sutro Forest trail system, reaching the summit and then descending on the Historic Trail to the exit at Stanyan and 17th. Featuring Bob Siegel of the Crosstown Trail project!

Video here.

Saturday, October 9

Bayview Hill & Candlestick Point State Recreation Area

To the top of a rarely visited hill with incredible views, then amble down and around to the only urban-located State Park.

Video here.

Saturday, September 18

Eureka Valley

Discover a half dozen stairways, open spaces, and incredible views and gardens all across the upper slopes of Eureka Valley and Corbett Heights, above the Castro, and below Twin Peaks.

Video here.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Grandview Peak and Golden Gate Heights

Grandview Peak offers incredible views of western San Francisco, the ocean, and Marin County. Navigate southward along the side of Golden Gate Heights to discover wildlife corridors, tiled staircases, and more.

Video here.

Saturday, June 26

Dogpatch, Pier 70, Warm Water Cove

Explore the ecological, architectural, and social history of the oldest industrial enclave in San Francisco, now taking on new life adjacent to Mission Bay with thousands of residents and businesses pouring in.

Video here.

Saturday April 10

Presidio: Crissy Field to El Polín Spring

El Polín Spring and the area around it is a great example of how National Park stewardship has brought history to life. Follow the water through MacArthur Meadow, the Tennesee Hollow watershed, to the Crissy Field marshes—including the newly restored Quartermaster Reach. With Lew Stringer, Joel Pomerantz, LisaRuth Elliott, and Chris Carlsson.

Video here.

Saturday March 6, 2021

Bernal Heights and the Bernal Cut

Visit earthquake shacks, WPA stairways, and the Bernal Cut Path. Discover traces of the Spring Valley Water Company. Plus incomparable views, and the new Esmeralda Steps extensions on both sides of the hill.

Video here.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

McLaren Park and Philosophers' Way

Enjoy the remarkable circumnavigation of McLaren Park provided by the Philosopher’s Way loop, prompting discussions of various aspects of southeastern San Francisco history. Enjoy scenic overlooks and this delightful open space.

(Due to pandemic restrictions, we have limited capacity on our tours.

Video here.

Saturday, September 26 (Pre-poned from Oct. 24!!)

Black Point and Fort Mason

We traverse the grounds of the old military base and discover histories of farms, soldiers, abolitionists, and a lost lagoon. From the Fontana Towers to Aquatic Park we discuss urban development, ecology, slavery, World’s Fairs, and militarism.

Video here.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

India Basin and Heron’s Head Park

Shaping San Francisco invites you on a tour of India Basin’s shoreline open space, parks, and historic sites. Not only will you get a close-up tour of this much neglected part of San Francisco, but we’ll be discussing San Francisco’s efforts to plan for sea-level rise even while the overlooked shoreline is suddenly spruced up and made publicly available like never before. After our walk we’ll chat at the historic installation at the west end of India Basin.

A new kind of outdoor gathering to replace our normal schedule of indoor public talks. These will be shorter urban walks with a guest speaker or two, ending in a place where we can sit (safely) and have an open conversation about history, public space, and the themes that come up along the way.

Video here.

Saturday, September 6

SF General and Potrero Hill

Shaping San Francisco’s LisaRuth Elliott and Chris Carlsson are joined by longtime SF General nurse Sasha Cuttler for a brief but spirited discussion on the current pandemic, public health and the public sphere, mutual aid, mutual responsibility and the State... followed by an urban trek. We visit community gardens and other open spaces and get good views of transit corridors and the Bay.

As part of our "Urban Forum: Walk & Talk" series we've set up to replace our normal indoor Talks during the Covid-19 time, we didn't record this event.