Its Origins and Pre-Commission Development
The origins and natural features of California’s coast and seaward islands, which Douglas understood well, are surveyed, followed by a chronological overview of ever-increasing development from the Spanish missions of the late 18th century to the eve of passage of Proposition 20 in 1972. Plate tectonics, the Southern California Bight, the California Current, the Franciscan Complex, El Niño, and more are explained in the first part of this chapter. The built environment, spurred by the gold rush and followed by real estate booms, population explosion, urbanization, and industrialization, is taken up in the last half of the chapter. Rapid development along California’s scenic shore set the stage for a rising public concern about a vanishing coast.
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