Design Jury Finalist, People's Choice Award, Honorable Mention: 69/70 The Spaces in Between: An Urban Design Ideas Competition
2015 Colorado Professional Merit Award, Planning and Analysis
CONTEXT: From over 200 student and professional submissions from 48 countries, the proposal represents one of six projects chosen as both a Jury and People’s Choice Finalist for the Sixty-Nine Seventy, The Spaces Between: An Urban Ideas Competition.
Since the late 17th-century, the grid has dominated American land use and planning; Salt Lake City has participated substantially in this history, implementing Joseph Smith’s Plat of Zion in 1847 and establishing the 660’x660’ block structure with a wide 132’ right-of-way – one of our nation’s largest. The competition site focuses on Blocks Sixty-Nine and Seventy, which includes a range of urban conditions; historical buildings, new construction, underutilized parking spaces, plazas and alleyways.
RECALIBRATE THE GRID: The resilience of the grid as a framework to guide urban growth relies upon its ability to be recalibrated according to emerging social, economic, and cultural conditions without undermining its multi-scalar efficacy. From the continent, to the regional township or section, to the downtown core of American cities, grids across America have evolved to suit a variety of needs. At the onset of the 21st century, American downtown cores are thriving after decades of population loss and experiencing a renewed cultural and artistic vibrancy.
Though the operations are manifested in this proposal at Blocks 69 and 70, Multi-Grid is meant to guide immediate and future development at the scale of Salt Lake City’s entire downtown. The four strategies are:
1) MICRO-GRID: Creating Smaller Blocks – The micro-grid represents the first layer in the four-stage strategy and subdivides existing 660’ x 660’ blocks into quarters to cultivate a more pedestrian-oriented realm. The new streets allow for two car lanes without compromising the ability of pedestrians to circulate among existing and proposed cultural venues, temporal events and new residential units in Blocks 69 and 70 and nearby. The micro-grid is sensitive to properties of historical significant, intensifies pedestrian circulation and maximizes the economic value of properties by increasing visibility and street frontage.
2) FINE-GRID: Activating Residual Spaces – The fine-grid complements the micro-grid by activating isolated residual spaces and enmeshing them within the vibrant downtown core. Doing so intensifies current cultural activities yet also encourages spontaneous performances, art installations, and passive recreational activities in both the fine-grid and the micro-grid. These pedestrian corridors, wide enough to accommodate service vehicles, facilitate the use of outdoor cafés, markets, and clothing sales and fuse them with cultural activity.
3) GREEN-GRID: Cleaning Air and Water – The green-grid binds the cultural and ecological dimensions of the project together while also creating an innovative and seasonally changing tourism spectacle. The cross-section of the existing 132’ right-of-way is re-envisioned, shifting the focus from an automobile to the pedestrian through a road diet. Referencing the region’s windrows of Lombardy Poplar – a cultural landscape element introduced by Mormon settlers still seen throughout the agrarian landscape – a system of urban windrows offers a bold new identity to the landscape-focused streetscape.
4) CULTURE-GRID: Binding the Arts – The culture-grid is not a literal grid, but a network of events, affiliations, and spaces that glue diverse parts of the site together—it is this matrix that imbues the project with a sensitivity to local culture, but simultaneously locates itself within the larger urban design moves. For many visual and performance artists, the process of acquiring installation space from businesses and municipalities can be complicated, tedious and lengthy.