Joshua Stewart


Before and after images of places like Delhi India, where the skies are now blue and clean because of quarantine should teach us Utahns that the price of an unregulated swelling economy is caustic and nasty.  The governor wants to re-start our economy.  Let’s not re-start our old ruinous one.  Utahns can choose a future that avoids air polluting industries and also reduces truck and vehicle miles traveled.  We can continue to choose to drive less, save time, and retrofit our habits and communities to enable telecommuting, walking, and cycling.   After the quarantine, employers should continue to enable work from home (or library, bakery, book store, etc.)  and build fewer office buildings.  Schools, K thru higher ed should continue more online learning and we should need fewer school buildings.  You might say, wait, that will disrupt our economy and old way of life?  Was your old life really so great?  Like we’ve done with the quarantine, we need to focus on improving our neighbor’s and children’s quality of life as well as our own.  With the quarantine, more people are out walking, cycling, gardening and using sidewalks, trails, parks, and bike lanes.  There is still plenty to build, re-build and do, and community leaders should take note and work to build safer and more enjoyable active transportation routes and let children and adults interact socially in healthier more beautiful places.  UDOT should be able to reduce traffic lanes and focus more on local sidewalks, bike lanes, daylighting our forgotten streams and creeks and retrofitting towards a new blue sky economy.  Ask yourself, did I really need that cubicle and long commute to do my work?  Did my child really need to sit in that same classroom space for 6-7 hours every day? Instead of more parking lots and high rise offices, we might preserve and create more orchards, parks, streams, and gardens?  We’ll all be healthier, wealthier, and happier if we leave the old economy behind.    

Joshua Stewart

State Street is the perfect place for re-development.  It’s the historic core of Salt Lake County, connects numerous cities, and terminates with a view of the beautiful State Capital.  Now is the time to maximize existing infrastructure and make State Street into a grand, beautiful urban walkable corridor.  One of the keys is for UDOT to allow a reduction in car lanes on State Street so the street can be slower speed, less dangerous to cross, more beautiful with shade trees, and more pedestrian friendly.  As this happens it will redevelop with more family friendly residential and begin to transform its character. 

Paris Arc De Triomphe Night2

Jump start State’s redevelopment with something cool - like a large beautiful monument that is on axis with the State capital (think Arc de Triomphe in Paris).  Re-make State Street into a beautiful multi-way boulevard.  While economically the land is going to be more expensive than farmland in surrounding counties, the State Legislature can incentivize this smart growth by buying the land along State Street (with Gas Tax revenue) and re-making it into something better reflective of the “State Street” moniker. 

The Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) has studied the transformative impact of new Boulevards.  Built in 2002, the new Octavia Boulevard in San Francisco was built in the footprint of the old Central Freeway and was designed to be both visually appealing and pedestrian friendly.  Planners also included a new park, Patricia’s Green, as well as generous tree-lined pedestrian walkways. Before the destruction of the Central Freeway, condominium prices in the Hayes Valley neighborhood were 66% of San Francisco average prices. However, after the demolition and subsequent replacement with the new Octavia Boulevard, prices grew to 91% of city average. Beyond this, the most dramatic increases were seen in the areas nearest to the new boulevard. Furthermore, residents noted a significant change in the nature of the commercial establishments in the area. Where it had been previously populated by liquor stores and mechanic shops, soon the area was teeming with trendy restaurants and high-end boutiques.

Tourists flock to great urban walkable cores and State Street connects city after city with a potential for each to be a charming jewel along a beautiful necklace of valley towns and cities.  The legislature re-located the prison, why not re-locate auto oriented uses and acres of asphalt in favor of a more beautiful walkable street that will invite people to live along this well-connected corridor? 

Napoleon I, who initially proposed the Arc de Triomphe, had an ambition to make the capital of his empire the most beautiful city in the world.  It took 30 years, along with imperial defeat and invasion, before the plans of the Arc de Triomphe became reality.  Let’s not wait 30 years to transform State Street.  Like the thousands that circle around the Arc de Triomphe for cycling’s Tour de France, let’s envision the Tour of Utah racing along a new and triumphal State Street.  And when we build that State Street monument, be sure it has an observation deck so our grandchildren can appreciate State Street’s transformation! 

About the Author: Josh Stewart is an architect and urban designer with over 20 years of experience working on transit and community designs. He lives in Salt Lake City.  

On January 31, 2019, CNU Utah invited four people to present at one of the Chapter’s UrbanTHINK events on the topic, “The Future of New Urbanism.” Each person took a very different approach to the topic. Over several weeks, we are posting about their remarks in hopes of inspiring further thought and discussion of where New Urbanism is headed. This fourth and final installment in the series reports on the presentation by Jeff Farnum, Manager of Architecture and Design at Daybreak. Prior to coming to Daybreak, Jeff worked as an architect at 4cdesign group in Park City and at FFKR Architects in Salt Lake. 

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On January 31, 2019, CNU Utah invited four people to present at one of the Chapter’s UrbanTHINK events on the topic, “The Future of New Urbanism.” Each person took a very different approach to the topic. Over several weeks, we are posting about their remarks in hopes of inspiring further thought and discussion of where New Urbanism is headed. This third installment in the series reports on the presentation by Christie Oostema-Brown, owner of People + Place, a Salt Lake City consulting firm. Formerly Planning Director with Envision Utah, Christie also chaired the program committee for CNU21 in Salt Lake City. Christie focused her January 31 remarks on issues of loneliness and tribalism – on how we can make better communities through better housing opportunities for everyone.

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Mike Hathorne

I have been a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) for over 15 years.  In fact, one could argue I have been affiliated with CNU for my entire professional career.  CNU has certainly shaped my thinking for longer than my awareness of CNU as an organization.  I have allowed that influence to drive me professionally to the point of having been put in the position of having to choose between where to live and New Urbanism – choosing between professional relationships and New Urbanism – choosing between employment opportunities and New Urbanism.  New Urbanism won out every time.  Why?  Because it is the absolute correct mindset for making decisions which face us in the present and the foreseeable future.  When I say that, I am speaking specifically about Utah, the Wasatch Front and the challenges that are presently staring us in the face. 

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Erica Evans, Investigative Reporter

I moved to Utah about a year and a half ago from California. I have strong family ties to this state, so I had visited many times but never long enough for the air quality to really bother me. That first winter, the air quality was something that I kept noticing and kept hearing people talk about. I went on a hike, and by the time we got to the top, couldn’t see the valley floor. My sister’s boyfriend came to visit for the holidays, he’s her husband now but at the time we were really trying to impress him. We wanted him to like the place where our family is from. But as we were driving through Lehi, this haze set in where we could barely see 5 cars in front of us. And he was like wow, I feel like I’m in Beijing. I felt embarrassed! And I just wanted to know what could be done about it.

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A. Paul Glauser, AICP - CNU Utah Board Member

On a recent visit to Washington, DC, I stayed several days at a hotel which didn’t offer free internet in the guest rooms, but it was available in the lobby areas. Consequently, I spent a little of each day camped out with my IPad in the lobby. It became fairly common for other hotel guests coming and going to get off a simple ”Hi” to me, or in some cases to make comments about the hotel’s internet, or about what was on the TV on the wall behind me, or about the university t-shirt I was wearing. And I came to relish these very brief interactions with complete strangers, from backgrounds unknown, who I would never see again but with whom I shared the common bond of being a visitor to the City. A couple of times I actually left my hotel room in the evening and hung out in the lobby for a few minutes in hopes of having more such interactions. 

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George Shaw, AICP

The Cairns Plan is the current Master Plan (2017) for Downtown Sandy, referred to previously as the Civic Center and South Town Plans. The area is bordered by 9000 South on the north, the Trax line on the east, 10600 South on the south and I-15 on the west, comprising approximately 1000 acres. The vision of the plan is to create a mixed use City Center in Sandy. Sandy City was one of the first communities in the state to adopt a mixed use zoning classification. Over the years mixed use development has become an integral part of the City’s plan implementation.

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Tyler Smithson, PLA, ASLA

In the late afternoon heat of a mid-July afternoon, Greg Montgomery smiles as he cranks up the 14-passenger van that will take a group of New Urbanism enthusiasts to four unique neighborhoods that he has been working on in the past two decades. Greg has been contemplating the question of “What to do with the 10-acre block” over the good portion of his career at the Ogden City Community Development Department. Like many cities in Utah, Ogden was founded upon the principles of the Plat of Zion that organizes the city into an orthogonal grid that has ample right of ways and long blocks. 

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