Why Star Trek Made San Francisco the Center of Its Universe

San Francisco

In the Star Trek canon, the United Federation of Planets was formed in San Francisco, California. Starfleet maintains its headquarters there. Starfleet Academy lies within sight of the bay. Much of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home takes place in that city. More than any other city, San Francisco is the center of the Star Trek universe.

Why San Francisco as opposed to, say, Lubbock? Or Dallas, Brownsville, San Antonio, Longview or other excellent options? Ted Trautman of Wired examined why that city was important to Gene Roddenberry and a symbol of Star Trek. San Francisco was a Navy town, a site of technological innovation and a diverse, international city. Trautman writes:

Plenty of science fiction is city-specific: it’s impossible to imagine RoboCop anywhere but Detroit, or Blade Runner outside of Los Angeles. What sets Star Trek apart is the attention it pays to one little city, barely seven miles across, when the other points on its journey are not cities or countries, but planets and star systems. Many of Star Trek’s struggles take place not long ago in a galaxy far, far away, but in a city we have already built, just a couple centuries down the road. And it’s a city whose culture of curiosity, craftsmanship and tolerance have left an indelible mark on one of the world’s most successful sci-fi franchises.

What other cities on Earth do you think would represent Star Trek well?


(Image: CBS)

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