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Walnut Creek Magazine

Action For Beauty Council

Sep 14, 2016 12:57PM ● By Cale Finta


Celebrating 50 Years of Recognition for Excellence in Local Architecture and Design

Walnut Creek’s boom years during the 1950s-60s­––spurred mainly by the construction of Broadway Plaza and BART­­––attained the city’s status as a regional hub. It also created a climate where preservation of lifestyle and environment become paramount to keep Walnut Creek an outstanding place to live and work. 

It was during this time the Action for Beauty Council (ABC) was founded by citizens and city leaders to study city needs, establish standards, develop a system for projects and motivate action for beautification programs. ABC’s accomplishments included advocacy for a Design Review Commission and adoption of a tree and billboard ordinance.


Among the ABC founders was former Walnut Creek Mayor Robert Schroder who held the state’s first Mayor’s Conference here in 1966. Titled “Action or Apathy” its focus was to raise public awareness of good design and quality development. 

 As a result, in 1967 the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce sponsored a “clean up fix up” campaign, which inspired improvements to business building fronts, landscapes and homes. Soon after the Northern California Chrysanthemum Society proposed the charming bronze “Walnut Queen” for the city flower and it was adopted by the City of Walnut Creek. ABC commissioned artist William Yokoyama to produce limited number of lithographs of the chrysanthemum.

Today, the Chrysanthemum Award is the top award presented to a project that exemplifies superior design and innovative building in Walnut Creek at the annual ABC Awards Luncheon. Held each year in the fall, anyone can nominate potential candidates for a range of awards. Prominent individuals in the fields of design, landscape and architecture come to Walnut Creek to judge the work of nominees.

 Renowned architect Arthur Gensler keynotes the 50th Anniversary ABC Awards Luncheon on October 21, 2016 at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant in Walnut Creek. Tickets are $55 per person. Go to for more information.

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