Yesterday I spent the morning at the First Annual Mayor’s Symposium hosted by Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City and the College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah. Entitled Riverscape: Salt Lake City Meets the Jordan River, the discussion focused on the Jordan River and how the communities lining its banks can better address the river. Professionals from across the country were invited to discuss similar projects across the country, from rehabilitation of the riverfront along Boston’s Charles River, to economic development in Denver along the Platte River with the TAXI project.
The Jordan River has a major influence on the Wasatch Front, although it has been largely forgotten in the minds of many residents. In the words of Dean Brenda Scheer from the University of Utah’s College of Architecture + Planning, the river influenced the very form of development along the Wasatch Front, the “moving up and down, moving north and south.” According to Scheer, the “river begat the railroad, the railroad begat the Interstate.” Seen as a “dangerous” area, the river and its paralleling trail system are in need of thoughtful and deliberate planning to develop the corridor into the amenity that it should be for our community. In 2008 the “Blueprint Jordan River” document was completed by EnvisionUtah, outlining the goals and objectives of the communities along the river for the future use of the Jordan.
The video/slideshow below shows images from EnvisionUtah’s 2008 process of visioning for the River.