Saturday, December 8, 2012

Comparison of City-Block Sizes

Jackson (1992) cites Joseph Smith's familiarity with the rectangular blocks of Philadelphia, as well as his New England-village upbringing as the inspiration for the size of city blocks in Smith's City of Zion plan.

As the poster below indicates, Salt Lake boasts the largest city blocks of any major American city.

Here is an even more stark representation of the difference between the city blocks of Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon:

In this class I'm taking, Digital Media and Rhetoric, one of the concepts we have discussed is the idea that  how we use space is actually a form of rhetoric. So, what were Mormon leaders saying when they designed a city with a layout unlike any other?

How ironic it is, then, that a city with the widest streets and largest blocks--what one would associate with openness and accommodation--would gain a reputation for having a narrow rhetoric in terms of the Mormon faith's stance on the consumption of alcohol and tobacco; premarital and extramarital sex; the role of women and minorities in the church's predominately white, male hierarchy; homosexuality; and gambling.

In these posts I wish to explore what the founders of Salt Lake City were saying within the physical network of wide streets and intersections and what other voices are saying back to them via the virtual, digital space that we create and in turn creates us.

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