Chris Carlsson, co-director of the multimedia history project Shaping San Francisco, is a writer, publisher, editor, teacher, and community organizer. He is the primary curator for Foundsf.org, the digital archive of San Francisco history organized by Shaping San Francisco. For the last twenty-five years, his activities have focused on the underlying themes of horizontal communications, organic communities and public space. He was one of the founders, editors and frequent contributors to the ground-breaking San Francisco magazine Processed World. He also helped launch the monthly bike-ins known as Critical Mass that spread to five continents and over 300 cities during the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries.

Posts on nowtopians.com are often translated into Italian and are available here.

He published his first novel, After The Deluge, in 2004, a story of post-economic San Francisco in the year 2157, and his full-length nonfiction work Nowtopia (AK Press: 2008) in 2008. At the dawn of the pandemic, he published a detailed historical guidebook of the city, Hidden San Francisco: A Guide to Lost Landscapes, Unsung Heroes, and Radical Histories (Pluto Press: 2020). At the end of 2023, his latest novel, When Shells Crumble was published by Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn, NY. He has edited six books: Bad Attitude: The Processed World Anthology(Verso: 1990); Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture (City Lights: 1998, co-edited with James Brook and Nancy J. Peters); Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration (AK Press: 2002); The Political Edge (City Lights Foundation: 2004); Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-78 (City Lights Foundation: 2011, with LisaRuth Elliott); and Shift Happens! Critical Mass at 20 (Full Enjoyment Books: 2012, co-edited with LisaRuth Elliott and Adriana Camarena).

Carlsson makes his living as a book designer, editor, desktop publisher, writer, and professor. He is also a co-founder and past board president of CounterPULSE, a San Francisco-based arts organization. Since 2011, Shaping San Francisco has been sponsored by Independent Arts & Media and has had its offices at 518 Valencia Street in the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics in San Francisco. He has been producing a series of public talks since January 2006. He conducts award-winning bicycle history tours and walking tours about two dozen times a year and hosts shoreline history cruises on the bay with Fish Emeryville.