Comments about ‘Urban planners take a few lessons from Brigham Young and Joseph Smith’

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Published: Wednesday, May 29 2013 7:35 p.m. MDT

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Durham, NC

I look at the ad hoc mess towns like Lehi have become, I really do with they city fathers (and mothers) would take their lead from those who did take their jobs in generations past seriously. It is disconnected business/strip mall after another. There is no reason for it other than lazy planning and bending over backwards to appease businesses that don't have the communities best interest at heart.

Brigham Young proved that under even extreme circumstance, proper planning can be leveraged all the while encouraging economic growth.... what is going on today is a cocktail of greed and laziness.

Farmington, UT

Planners need to keep the grid system and get rid of narrow streets, one-way streets, round-abouts, and culdesacs. A true grid gives multiple options for moving people from point A to point B. Interesting that modern planners think so highly of Brigham's model, yet call multiple cities touching each other "sprawl." Joseph said cities should not get too large yet today's planners want to compact millions into a little bit of space and make everyone "walk." They pay lip service but go against the very principles these two leaders espoused in city designs. Just look at how the streets around the Symphony Hall are practically useless because of TRAX, no right turn lanes, single lane streets, etc. TRAX should have gone into West Temple and not ruined Main Street, as well as 2nd South and South Temple going east (running opposite directions), not decimating 4th South. And the outlying areas got away from compass points to orient the streets. Brigham would turn over in his grave if he could see the mess of today's enlightened planning.

Danbury, CT

"European-style" grid? I know of no cities in Europe with such a design. In fact, no city or town built before the automobile has much of a grid style as streets followed the roads connecting to other towns and cities and followed the rivers or valleys.

Far East USA, SC

One thing to keep in mind.

Brigham Young was certainly a smart guy. But dont discount the fact that he had a clean slate to work with and a completely obedient group that he could dictate to.

Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT

The wide streets are the best part of the Zion plan.
Once these planners step outside of these conferences into reality...
...people aren't farmers any longer.
...their jobs are spread out over a wide area.
...spouses go in different directions to work.
...transit lines cannot follow people around to these scattered workplaces.
...biking is not an option for most due to distance and weather.
These conferences ignore the reality and point to City Center as though it were a panacea. A plan like that can never accommodate large numbers of moderate-income people.
The ship they talk of has sailed.

Magna, UT

I agree that Joseph Smith Jr. and Brigham Young were visionary in their concepts of city planning and they intended for people to be independent and self sustaining all the time owning land of their own for that very purpose.

I have a very hard time buying into the idea that Smart growth or new urbanism as taught in the universities today is what Joseph Smith saw in vision, in fact it's a blatant misrepresentation.

New urbanism is an urban planning and transportation theory strait out of the UN ajenda-21 and it's local partner, Envision Utah that concentrates growth in compact pedestrian-friendly, urban centers to avoid sprawl. It also advocates compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use, including neighborhood schools and mixed-use development with a range of housing choices.

Daybreak is NOT what Joseph Smith or Brigham Young had in mind. Try planting a garden or a fruit tree without HOA's approval let alone in a 500 sf back yard. Try getting anything past the HOA that would provide for your self sufficiency.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

I would not blame the modern idea of high density housing in multiple use complexes on prophets of God. God never intended people to live in rabbit hutches. There is a reason that highly populated areas experience massive crime.

Danbury, CT


I've lived on 3 cul-de-sacs with my family. I would never live (if I had the choice) on a through street. I know we've all gotten hooked on our cars but at a certain point, cities are MORE liveable if they have some areas blocked off to traffic where you get out and walk. It improves business (which is why people built malls and are now back to village style open areas like City Creek) and makes a visit to a town or city center more enjoyable than if your only access to shops and restaurants is across 6 lanes of traffic. Try going to a town like DC or Boston or virtually any city in Europe where they have these features and you will see it improves the quality of life.

Get out of your car and walk once in a while. You'll enjoy the fresh air, meet more people and be healthier...

Springville, UT

This is a topic in which I have had a long term interest. Some of the principles of 19th Century planning implemented in SLC are certainly good, but there are some drawbacks. The fact that SLC has had to adapt to changing times is an indicator that the system was not perfect. And I've never really considered the Utah model as all that pedestrian friendly. Orderly, yes. Interesting, not as much. Further, the concept of religious freedom in terms of city planning borders is absurd. This speech seems to contain a certain amount of pandering to the local audience.

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

It's about the jobs.
Where do you go every day? For most of us it isn't downtown.
Urban planning is a pipe dream unless the jobs are centralized. They aren't.

Saint Louis, MO

As someone who lives in an urban environment with a great deal of crime, it would help to have "urban planning". Here in the Midwest, August Busch was the force behind the modern development of an urban giant. Sadly, even Macy's last week "threw in the towel". This city could look favorably toward the model of development used by Salt Lake.

Dave D
Spring Creek, NV


It's true. Joseph Smith envisioned communities of no more than 20,000 people. But he did not envision sprawl. Joseph's City of Zion plat and urban design patterns were thought up with buffer areas in mind. Large parcels allowed for citizens to grow much of their own food, while the outside of each city is where farms were. Farmers were to live in the city in order to take part in community life. I recommend taking a look at Craig Galli's BYU Studies article on the subject. He goes into much greater detail concerning the commonalities of Joseph's City of Zion plat and Smart Growth.

Brigham City, UT

Mannheim, Germany, is laid out in a grid. On Wikipedia there are a couple of images where you can see it, one from 1758.

Norco, CA

American ingenuity in the planning of cities by these two leaders reminds me when JFK called for us to put a man on the moon. Young people all over the country grew enthusiastic about studying physics, engineering, and the space sciences. We became a more technically proficient people. And we became the first nation on earth to put a man on the moon.
From wagons turning around in a city street to SLC using multi-use streets with street cars, bikes, pedestrians and cars is just another example of derring-do, and faith in providence helping us see into the future needs of this country.

Moab, UT

There is certainly no shortage of wolves in sheep's clothing in SLC. Using Joseph Smith to put the stamp of approval on UN Agenda 21 and it's policies is disgraceful and beyond the pale!! If the proponents of "smart growth" really cared about the people of SLC, private property rights, and freedom more than they cared about the ICLIE money, Federal compliance monies and status received for being good little "yes men" , they would be doing everything they could to rid the city of Agenda 21 policies instead of doubling down on implantation of them. Calling it "Urban Planning" doesn't change what it is. Educate yourselves on what "smart growth" and "sustainable development" as defined in Agenda 21 really is. Again, using Joseph Smith to push this anti-freedom agenda is disgraceful and is the absolute antithesis of what Joseph Smith believed in. Shame on you!!

Mesa, AZ

The best part of the Salt Lake valley is from North Temple to 9th South and 8th West to 9th East. Wide navigable streets accommodating multiple use. Move outside those boundaries and you get narrow pathways that are barely useful for one mode of transportation. Trying to solve this problem with Bangerter Highway and the new Mountain View Corridor is like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Agenda 21 being anti-freedom....someone is being deceived and has too much time on their hands for bitterness.

Oldy Glocks
Orem, UT

The title of the article caught my attention as I knew that there is no way to imagine that Salt Lake and other cities are following the plan of Brigham and Joseph which were both genius in design and concept.
Seeing folks prattle about how things can no longer be that way due to dense populations, simply proves that they have no concept of prophetic city designs.
Obviously they have no concept of the State of Deseret which would have included parts of 5 more states and were in the plan of Brigham.
After being chased from every state they had settled in, upon arriving in the Utah Territory of Mexico, they began soon after to badger Brigham and John Taylor to press for statehood.They had to abandon several practices including their own political party and the plans of Deseret extending to San Diego was also given up.
Satan's plan is well in force in the design of cities.
To hear folks claim that we are not an agrarian society merely proves that we lost the rights to that long ago, but not the NEED.

Durham, NC

I have to laugh at the comment about "god never intended people to live in Rabbit Hutches". Good grief... has the writer of that never visited "the holy lands"? It at the time of Christ was Rabbit Hutch central... and not much has changed.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

19th century urban planning models of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young may have been practical for their times. In today's world, light rail and rapid transit carry more weight with city planners than making a street wide enough for an ox team and wagon to make a circle.

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