Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, is not a name that planners and urbanists usually think of in the same category as Daniel Burnham or Pierre L'Enfant. But Smith made a significant and historic contribution to American urban planning with the plat of Zion, a grid system with perfect north-south and east-west streets divided into standard distances (read more). Based on Biblical principles, the plat of Zion imposed structure and order on rugged Western landscapes.
Newcomers to Salt Lake City can’t help but come with a few preconceptions. Tim Sullivan and Michael Yount bring us this list of the Top 5 things urbanists might expect to find – but won’t – in SLC:
Homogeneity: Salt Lake Valley’s residents are indeed predominately white and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but not to the degree of the days when the Mormon temple was planned as the city’s center.
Salt Lake City’s large 10-acre blocks are bisected by mid-block walkways, alleys and small vehicular streets that improve the city’s pedestrian experience and cyclist mobility. When we incorporate mid-block walkways into the grid, we increase our intersection density from 68 to 257 intersections per square mile.
Utah’s regional visioning illustrates a holistic and continuously evolving approach toward planning, that which The Congress for the New Urbanism’s annual Congress, CNU 21, embodies: A Living Community. This readiness to embrace dynamic change makes Salt Lake City, Utah the perfect host to this year’s Congress…and why we are dedicating an entire track— entitled [Living] Together – to the region.