The original City Plate was a commemorative platter in honor of the 2006 AIA Convention, which was hosted by Los Angeles. The notNeutral parent firm, the Rios Clementi Hale Studios, had been working on a series of diagrams for their Civic Park project in downtown Los Angeles, looking at elements such as open space, circulation, and land use in the downtown core relative to the urban context of greater Los Angeles. A draft of the plan was up on one the common walls in the studio that notNeutral and the Rios Clementi Hale Studios share, and, typical of the cross-disciplinary interplay, notNeutral had the inspiration to translate the diagram onto a ceramic plate. The reductive graphics of the diagram and the recognizable pattern of LA streets and landmarks translated well to the medium. The response to the plate at the Convention was very enthusiastic ('Do my city!'), and the notNeutral expanded the idea into a series of plates. The result was a line of City Plates, released in series of four, which look at cities as a graphic language of line, color, and pattern as a means to investigate the cultural, economic, historical, and political impacts on city form. Each series has a particular conceptual framework that relates the four cities to each other, and the series as a whole operates within an ecological matrix organized by patterns of urban development: organic, baroque, gridded, and eclectic. The idea was that as the series evolved, the City Plates would form a network of relationships to each other that would allow people to design their own combination of plates (American cities, Coastal cities, Colonial cities, for example) that would allow interesting comparisons. This methodology led the notNeutral to some of the great cities of the world, and also to some less well-known cities that warrant attention. Each plate celebrates the beauty implicit in a city's unique form, a distinct pattern that has evolved over time as layers of history are inscribed into the urban landscape. The California Gold Rush put San Francisco on the map for tens of thousands of Americans and immigrants from around the world who were in search of buried treasure. What was once a small settlement became a boomtown connected to the rest of world by sea and rail. The pioneering and entrepreneurial outlook that helped San Francisco recover from the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906 is a quality that is still palpable in the city today.