The urban grid of Salt Lake City, Utah is designed to tell you exactly where you are in relation to Temple Square, one of the holiest sites for Mormons. Addresses can read like sets of coordinates. “300 South 2100 East,” … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent invisible. I am Roman Mars Turning onto South Temple Road Road place, it's just called out temple. Self Temple is, in fact the complete name of the street, on which our producers, SAM Greenspan, is driving crossing five hundred east, exactly six sixty feet later, SAM drives across the next major street. Here's four hundred east and south. Hundred sixty feet after that three hundred east. If you recognise the street, The same is calling off. You already know exactly where he is and what is it to see two hundred east now, here's eat street, which seems to work. One hundred east wow there. It is oh, my gosh, that is, the Mormon Temple, the SALT Lake Temple of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints insult. Big City Utah, it's quite striking. It's beautiful.
The urban grid of SALT Lake City Utah is designed to tell you exactly where you are in relation to Temple Square, where the holiest sites for Mormons learn about this. When I was writing a letter to a friend in SALT Lake whose address was like three hundred something south twenty one hundred EAST Salt Lake City, you t which to me sounded less like us. Pacific House number and more like a set of coordinates, but it's pretty much every address works and SALT Lake City. Any needs are generally three hundred zero Twenty one hundred east means three blocks south and twenty one blocks east of Temple Square, but the Ministry keen thing about SALT Lake GRID to us non you times is the scale. Each block is six hundred sixty feet on each side. That means you're walking more than to football fields. To get from one intersection to the next salt lakes. Blocks are the biggest in the country. You can
fifty nine Portland Oregon blocks inside one of so like cities. These giant blocks have created some challenges for the city of SALT Lake, but they were all part of the original plan for the city. One create by its Mormons founders, a century and a half ago, in an effort to create a spiritual utopia in the desert. Every city plan begins, as someone's utopia. And planners. Imagine the way their city oughta be, makes him drawings and then watch as that vision becomes reality. Throughout most of human civilization urban planners. Imagine their cities arising from a system of streets joining at right angles. A grid Ba of a grid goes back at least to twenty six hundred BC in the Indus Valley in what is now Pakistan and North West India. We know this from archaeological findings. Ancient Egypt had Its ancient Babylonia had grids. The Greeks and Romans had grids. Many cities in Europe don't have agreed, but when Europe
in settlers came to North America. They mostly build gridiron cities when Joseph Smith founder The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints the religion of the Mormons first conceived of a holy city for his new religion. He wouldn't I have had much experience with large urban grids was born in New England and then, when he was young, his family live to upstate New York. He never would have saw a city that had more than a couple of thousand residents. This is Doctor Benjamin Park My name is Benjamin Park. I'm an assistant professor of american religious history at SAM Houston, State University, Docker Parks. As the Joseph Smith's foray into urban planning begin with a document called the Platte of Zion. The plot of Zion was a man the details all the way down to how big the housing parts would be, how many roads would
fit into the city where the court House would be where the temples will be, how many people will live within these boundaries. It's a plan which Mormons believe came to their profit, Joseph Psmith part and parcel with a series of rebel. Nations that led him to found the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints a plan which wooden spire, the Mormons eventual spiritual home in the Sunlight valley. Have you been in impulse square before Yasser. Yesterday, look around and see some of the sites, so we don't have the point which is the Tabernacle, which is the Temple, feel free to radio showing SAM around Temple Square is Keith Ericsson, director of the elder s, church, history, library accompany them is Emily at historic sites, curator for the the US church I could go on for three weeks about Temple, swear heathen, Emily took SAM
the elder s, church, history, museum, so vivid, and finally, the planet itself over here. So this this is, it is it s original. This is what they described and named the Platte of Zion, the three Thus we gathered around a display case in the museum. That's actually pretty easy to just walk right past. I actually think that display case here understates the significance of. What's in it, it's just a rough hewn. You know it's designed no look like a rough hewn would box inside under thick museum glass is a large piece of parchment, with Joseph Smith's urban plan for an American you ve got the Temple blocks in the middle. Our kind of this ochre kind of red color, and in this breathe through labelled in a kind of a light green. The document were all looking at the plant of Zion is a city plan.
A series of squares divided up by horizontal and vertical lines. It is one of the first documents that the Mormon profit Joseph Smith and describes produced it's a pretty simple system very large blocks. Sick hundred sixty feet on each side, all forming right angles with one another, all of it the same, except for these special blocks in the middle which he imagined would hold. Twenty four temples the city's grid was design I am sure that you would always know exactly how far you were from its spiritual center. I see these is definitely is defiantly inspired you. These are coming from a man who had never seen a big city who would probably never heard of city planning and was really looking at. This is the basis of a revelation to understand how the kingdom of God looks when it hits the earth
This is I city that Joseph Psmith imagined would be as big as New Yorker, Philadelphia or Boston Worth the time. It would be an attempt to harness the best things. A city could offer infrastructure education community, but without the west savory bits like vice and crime. Joseph Smith sought to achieve this by giving People lots of space. It would effectively be a rural city within the large blocks, each churchmen I would have a plot of land to have fruit, trees and vegetable, gardens and Joseph Psmith. Imagine the essential piece of the urban fabric would be the home again Docker Benjamin Park. I thank you would have rejected the general separation of of commercial and domestic level. You would go to shop as based out of someone's homes, but Smith. Never got to experience is mixed use, workable, everything or dismally crafted utopian community.
After leading his convert to Ohio and then Missouri and then Illinois and clashing violently with locals pretty much everywhere. They went Joseph, Myth was killed by an angry Anti Mormon MOB in eighteen. Forty four, the leaders of the elder S. Church fell to a member of Smith's inner circle. A man named Brigham Young Brigham Young leads. A large number of the church out. West to what was then mexican territory after a journey spanning years. The more entered the SALT Lake Valley in eighteen, forty, seven and established SALT Lake City. It would be the first place that big build exactly as they want. It Brigham young began devising a plan for what they would build. He returned to Joseph Smith's plot of Zaire. Brigham Jung's plan does look a bit like Joseph Smith's plot of Zion, but with more detail and some changes. I see this utopian idea hitting some problems when you have to start dealing with actual landscape, that
really out again with the elder S. Church Brigham Young realized quickly that the plan of Zion wouldn't work in the real world. Without some modifications, Smith's plan called for twenty four temples at the centre of the city. Young decided to start with one Brigham Young also realised that the city couldn't survive on cottage industry alone. It would also need some commercial and industrial districts there were limits, to be rural city idea in the mountain, terrain of the salt, like Valley, didn't lend itself to a regular, rigid grid, but it anyway is Brigham Jung's plan for SALT Lake City is faithful to the plot of silent. The city is still after all built around a Temple square and with streets named in a way that tell you exactly how far you are from it at all times, and the orderliness of the grid dovetails with Mormon sensibilities, but the spiritual importance of me,
Training, a tidy home Brigham Young and his fellow Mormons did not stop with SALT Lake City over the next half century. They built about seven hundred towns based on a similar plan all over Utah and in many of these towns kept Joseph Smith's prescription for large city blocks six hundred sixty feet. On each side with wide streets between them, the joke, as Could turn a wagon around in the middle of the block? actually won. Version of the joke I heard is that the streets are wide enough to be able to turn a wagon around without the drivers resorting to cursing, knowing Mormons that's, probably very true in solely City the wide streets and huge blocks have the effect of making, you feel kind of small- and they said Everything is bigger in Texas, I just something: does people event Eu Top, This is Molly O Robinson urban designer for the SALT Lake City government, we're walking around
downtown salt lake and she showing me just how hostile these wide streets can feel to pedestrians, where president extreme right now are pressing for south, also known as foreigners have so we were given twenty seven seconds to cross a one hundred and thirty To fill it right away, the blinking pedestrian sign gives us less than half a minute to cross six lanes of traffic working at normal pace, not enough time to cross many, if not most streets in SALT Lake City, even streets in the heart of downtown or for or six lanes wide. All because the plot of Zion called for streets with a width of a hundred and thirty two feet back in the day, things were planted and measured using the surveyors chain surveyors chain in six years.
Its feet also known as one furlong? The width of our street is too furlongs wishes a hundred thirty two feet, the streets or so many seem to cross. The city tried, make them safer by offering pedestrians bright, orange flags visited a lamp post. There is bucket affixed to it a plastic there's like one two, three, four five, six, at least for the three big you're supposed to pick up a flag and carry the flag with you. As you cross the street for added visibility. We do it, we should, and I'm gonna make you do it costs. Your bears! No. I refuse to carry a flag recrossing. Now I am waving this flag. I've seen these I've seen flags and other places. My neighborhood actually has them at the intersection near the elementary school, but it doesn't kind of absurd to ask people to carry bright orange flags.
I want out of a large american city made it across job is neither bug it, so you refuse to carry these tire. She's carry the flag on principle, and I believe that our streets should be designed to inherently make pedestrian crossing safe, and if you have to carry a flag across the street to get someone to notice you Then we haven't designed the street safely and difficulty crossing the street is not the only problem with large blocks. Urban planning have long known. That short blocks are inherently more interesting, because there is a greater density of what they call network notes or sites of possible interaction between people. Shorter blocks mean more intersections and more intersections mean more options for what to do or where to go. Given the problems at large blocks and wide streets have created in SALT Lake, you might get the idea that salt lakes founders just started out with a bad plan. Not at all, oh no What you're saying there is a complete misunderstanding: I'll bring em younger
conception that grace Dulany a partner with the architecture, firm de pc. Also one of the founders of the new Urbanists movement, which seeks to make cities and suburbs less car oriented, more workable and more environmentally friendly undressed. When he says that in Brigham Young original plan, the streets were never supposed to be paved from. Curb to curb the streets were basically a green space with pavement only in the parts were set. Serenely meant for farming would remain intact. As the city evolved. He understood that the blocks would have to be subdivided from agricultural to urban over time for it The salt from agricultural to urban today represents I need the SALT Lake City we have today represents the stagnation of Brigham Young Street SALT Lake City, wiped from most beautiful to accede among our most hoss. Following the west end up. That's a misunderstanding of the intention of Brigham Young and the plot of Zion,
Making the city less hostile to pedestrians is exactly what Anti Orange flag Molly, O Neill Robinson is trying to do. She wants to take those huge blocks, break them down into more workable sections and make them more interesting in out that there's something kind of engaging in delighting, I, as you're moving along Molly, is hoping to do this blog by block and SALT Lake City. She took them. Until one current project on regions Street were there working on getting more pedestrian life into the middle of the block, so region stream is really the first pedestrian first street in solid suggest rate the street, as always been here, but you're gonna, redesigning its use Yes, yes, region Street, used to just be an access road for some downtown parking structures. Now it's a pedestrian walkway that opens up into a plaza with a brand new feeder and new restaurant space. The idea with this trade is that we will be able to close down portions of the street for festivals and advance
Big theatre openings things like that. At the time of this recording region. Street is still under construction, but even so, people are already drawn to walk through it. The stakes then in nature, is easily accessible. Salt lake suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the country. The mountain ranges around the city. Try. Salt lake suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the country. The mountain ranges around the city trap in all the smog, which largely comes from cars with more salt lake is expected to double in population by two thousand and fifty, and it can expand its city limits because of geographic boundaries like Mount In a great big, salty lake. The city's ability to thrive will be determined by its ability to make more efficient use of the space. It already has there's a lot of optimism in the city for finding better ways to use its large blocks and wide streets and there's been some progress, but several developers
mean that the new city administration has not been kind to these approaches. Seem to be more about keeping salt Lake City as it is. In the church of Latter Day saints. There's a principle called continuous revelation that God is still speaking in that divine truths are still being reviewed. And so maybe with SALT Lake City needs. Maybe what all american Citys need is a kind of content. He was revelation away. Of honouring the principles on which the city was founded, but with the understanding that they must adapt and respond to the demands of the present
Ninety nine percent invisible was produced this week by same Greenspan Sharif. You said: Katy Mingle, Kurt caused at every truffle men, Emmett, Fitzgerald, Delaney Hall, Terran, Massa and me special exit Amy are fond rate. Thomas Carter, reviewing SAM, warlike, Jason Brown, Catherine Daily incur bad. Can all the songs and remixes on this episode were made by the great ok, a coming on the great how audio label from the great state of veto we a project on any one point: seven k, Ale debut in San Francisco, introduced on radio row in beautiful, downtown oakland. California,. We often don't think of winter is a time of growth or creation, but you think about it. It's the perfect time to create your own website, because her cooped up your thinking about being productive announced,
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.