San Jose Then and Now
September 14, 2010

Many who joined the latest SPUR study trip to San Jose were impressed to see how much the city has changed physically in the past few decades. These changes have helped accommodate considerable population growth - San Jose grew from under 100,000 residents in 1950 to 460,000 in 1970 to nearly 800,000 today. According to the Association of Bay Area Governments, San Jose will add approximately 400,000 more people from now until 2035, which will no doubt result in even more dramatic physical changes in the city. Many of these changes also reflect the city's attempts to transform itself from a suburban auto-oriented place to a vibrant, dense, transit rich city.


Santa Clara Street at Fourth looking East, 1975 and 2006. [All photos via Buena Vista Neighborhood Association]


Market Street at San Fernando looking southeast, 1975 and 2006. The Circle of Palms and the Fairmont Hotel are in the background.


Market Street between San Carlos and San Fernando looking east down the Paseo de San Antonio, 1975 and 2006.

For those of us who can't make it to San Jose or don't remember what it used to look like, The Buena Vista Neighborhood Association has compiled side by side "then and now" photographs from 1975 and 2006. This is a great website to explore for anyone interested in San Jose, transportation infrastructure, or historic preservation. There are links to other websites which show then and now photographs of aerial views of the city, its homes, and public buildings. Also be sure to check out the City of San Jose Planning Division Envision San Jose 2040 website to see how they are planning to address future growth.

And of course, check out "Retrofitting suburbia -- San Jose style," written for the August Urbanist about lessons learned from the San Jose Study trip!

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