Car-free zones, cycle paths, pedestrian-friendly urban design; these are not the characteristics of a typical American suburb. They’re more like something you’d find in the Netherlands rather than Salt Lake City, Utah, where a new “one-car community” is being built in an experimental suburb.
Called Pointit is located on 600 acres of federal land in Draper that once housed a prison and will be purpose-built so that businesses, families and individuals can access each neighborhood within a 15-minute walk or bike ride.
Utah is famous for having 60% of its land under various forms of state and federal protection, due to its majestic and unique desert and scrub landscapes. As the population grows, planners and developers wonder how to grant access to one of the most beautiful states without impacting nature too overtly.
In order to understand this, town hall-style meetings revealed that local opinions favored a more walkable planned community.
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“We heard loud and clear from them that the principles of having a more hands-on, less car-focused development, and a somewhat more compact, amenity-rich community, would be appealing,” Alan Matheson, executive director of The Point of the Mountain State Land Authority, said fast company.
About 7,400 homes together, built by global engineering and development firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, will be located in cells connected by veins of greenery to each major city area.
Cars aren’t banned, but streets will have bike lanes and wide sidewalks, and buses will run around the perimeter, perhaps automatically, to transport people to major areas, as well as downtown Salt. Lake City.
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The point will connect to the Jordan River Parkway to take hikers and cyclists to nearby mountain trail networks. This trail will also facilitate the movement of wildlife between the river and the mountains.
“The idea here is that it’s an economic driver for the state to attract young workers who are in the tech sector or the science sector, and we know they don’t want to live in the suburbs, often, as the suburbs are currently configured,” Peter Kindel, one of the developers, told Fast Company.
“They want more urban features, they want to know their neighbors, they want to be part of a community. They don’t want to spend their day driving.
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The Point was created in three different configurations, which preserves all the fundamental “points” of the idea, namely community, connection with nature, intelligent and less car-oriented public transport, and economic opportunity, as well as a coverage of 45 % of the city in green. These configurations, the developers hope, will influence future building growth opportunities.
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