Residents seeking a grassroots community

Real estate in Salt Lake City is on the rise, as the state saw an 11 percent decrease in foreclosure filings and is now ranked as the 26th highest in the nation in terms of foreclosure ratings. According to The Atlantic, Salt Lake City is ranked as the top city for community involvement, which is helping the area rise out of the housing slump.

One example of incredible community involvement in the area is happening just outside the city limits. While some neighborhoods welcome gentrification, others like Salt Lake City’s Granary District stave off the possibility of new big-box stores and cookie-cutter apartment buildings. Situated just minutes away from downtown in the light-industrial district, Granary residents are pushing individual ownership of local small businesses. The community, made up of lower and middle-income families, is opting for a “human-centered” neighborhood through grassroots efforts.

The residents of Granary District have a different vision for the neighborhood than the city, one that has an industrial aesthetic that stays true to its history. That doesn’t mean the area lacks restaurants and shopping, as the area is home to several fine dining restaurants and entertainment options. Rather, residents hope to feature apartment buildings next to silos, equipment yards and railroad sidings - to welcome the new without ridding the area of the old.

"The world 'gritty' was put forward by the people who live in the district," James Alfandre of Kentlands Initiative, a nonprofit urban design group, told the Salt Lake Tribune. "Grit is different from dirt. Grit comes from productivity - it's not a bad thing. People who are attracted to this place are makers - woodworkers, some of the city's best artists and light industry. It's a haven for makers."

The neighborhood's residents are looking to keep their community industrial chic, designing an area for urban residents not wanting to live in the suburbs. Salt Lake City’s 130-foot-wide streets, among the widest streets in the nation, open up a possibility of creative design. There is plenty of room for commuter bike routes and some designers proposed reducing traffic to one lane, adding apartment buildings, offices and boutiques in the space. The area has an abundance of alleys and courts, which would further bolster the walkable nature of the neighborhood and allot the possibility of a web of bike trails.