Place-based activism has played a critical role in the history of urban and environmental politics in California. This article explores the continuing significance of environmental place making to grassroots politics through a case study of Friends of Rose Canyon, an environmental group in San Diego. Based in the fast-growing University City neighborhood, Friends of Rose Canyon waged a long, successful campaign between 2002 and 2018 to prevent construction of a bridge in the Rose Canyon Open Space Park in their community. Using historical and participant observer methodologies, this study reveals how twenty-first-century California urbanites claimed and created meaningful local places and mobilized effective politics around them. It illuminates the critical role of individual activists; suggests practical, replicable strategies for community mobilization; and demonstrates the significant impact of local activism at the urban and metropolitan scales.

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