Joanna L. Dyl

Joanna L. Dyl is a native Californian who earned her BA from Stanford University and her PhD in History from Princeton University. She is currently teaching environmental studies at Pomona College and living only a few miles from the San Andreas Fault. Seismic City is her first book.

Seismic City: An Environmental History of San Francisco’s 1906 Earthquake demonstrates how the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the city’s subsequent rebuilding reflected the dynamic interplay of natural and human influences that have shaped San Francisco. The disaster in all its elements ― earthquake, fires, and recovery ― profoundly disrupted the urban order and challenged the city’s perceived permanence.

From a proposal to expel Chinatown from the city center to a vision of San Francisco paved with concrete in the name of sanitation, the process of reconstruction involved reenvisioning the places of both people and nature as diverse urban residents contested the form of the rebuilt city.