During World War I, the military in San Diego played an important role in the economy. Through World War II, the city experienced major growth: small factories became massive and more and more people started to travel from other cities to San Diego to finally settle down. However, the city reached a point where it was overpopulated and the infrastructure of San Diego couldn't handle it. Public transportation collapsed, there were not enough jobs and a lack of freshwater which led to construction of the Diego Aqueduct in order to import water from the Colorado River. The city had to start quick changes to its infrastructure to allow for a growing population. The San Diego University was built to implement education and it grew over the years and reached more than 260,000 students. The University of San Diego started the San Diego College for women in 1952. In the 1930s and early 1940s, the area around Fifth and Island had a concentration of Asian American businesses, specifically of the Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino American communities. These businesses, particularly the Chinese American businesses, had a place in downtown as early as the 1860s. In the late 20th century, the area was designated the Asian Pacific Thematic Historic District. Until 1952, the downtown area was a focus of civic and cultural life, featuring hotels and stores. In 1970, the focus changed to Mission Valley with modern shopping centers. Suddenly, this area stopped being a zone of declining business and became a major tourist attraction that brought more tourists to the city. The most important project, to develop the Gaslamp Quarter started in 1968 and has led the area to become a global business district.
Check out this video to learn more about Gaslamp Quarter.
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