While the rest of the world is content to build mini-malls - gray stucco post-modern seems to be the trend this week - the little neighborhood shopping area at 1500 East and 1500 South is defiantly old-fashioned.
Not old-fashioned in a cutesy way, though, with fake clapboard or gingerbread. "Fifteenth and Fifteenth" is truly a relic from the past - a bunch of stores you come upon in a neighborhood, with no parking lots but lots of character.The trend may be toward look-alikeshopping centers, but when Salt Lakers were asked to vote recently for their favorite neighborhood or district, the no-frills, neighborly Fifteenth and Fifteenth area received enough votes to make it one of five winners of the sixth annual Urban Design Awards.
The awards are co-sponsored by the Salt Lake City Arts Council and the Deseret News.
This year's winners are:
- The business owners of Fifteenth and Fifteenth, for preserving the identifiable character of their east-side neighborhood and avoiding "the pitfalls of development," according to the arts council.
"It's still on a mom and pop scale," says Stephen A. Goldsmith, a member of the Urban Design Coalition. "It has a sense of intimacy."
The business owners include the King's English Book Shop; Fresco Italian Cafe; Smokey's Records; The Framery; Brackman Bros. Bagel Bakery; Kent's Beauty Salon; Sunshine Cleaners; the Dog Show Grooming; Vogue Laundry; Salt Lake Drug and Audio Design.
- The Avenues and the Avenues Community Council, also in the category of "a neighborhood or district with a strong, identifiable character."
The Avenues, which was also winner of a 1986 Urban Design Award, has character based "on architecture and a group of people who say `We care about this neighborhood,' " says Goldsmith.
- The Salt Lake City Planning Commission as guardians of Salt Lake's views and vistas. Those views - which include mountain peaks as well as architectural landmarks - are threatened when skyscrapers or skywalks obstruct a pedestrian's line of vision up a street like 200 South or State.
Although many vistas and "view corridors" received nominations in this year's Urban Design Awards, the State Street view corridor - framed by trees and topped by the State Capitol - received the most.
The city currently has height restrictions in the Capitol area. A newly adopted master plan for the eastern part of the downtown area also calls for height restrictions there, although the restrictions have not yet been adopted as a city ordinance.
- The Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee, for its advocacy role in establishing urban bike routes. There are now 17 miles of bike routes in the city, including five miles that are totally separated from traffic.
The route on 11th Avenue is one of the bicycle advisory committee's successes. The bike lane has been covered with fresh asphalt, while the rest of the road is covered with "chip seal." The variation in color and texture makes the bike lane more visible.
According to Doug Dansie of the Salt Lake City planning office, the city's goal is to add at least one bike route a year.
- City Creek Canyon/Memory Grove, the voters' favorite jogging/biking path in Salt Lake City. In addition to getting votes for its scenic beauty, the canyon is a favorite with Salt Lake joggers and cyclists because the upper canyon road is closed to auto traffic every other day.
According to Dansie, the city is currently investigating an extension of City Creek farther into the downtown area, perhaps culminating in a pond at North Temple and State streets.
This year's Urban Design Awards will be awarded by Mayor Palmer DePaulis in a ceremony on Jan. 15.