The Granary District

Creating walkable, urban, human-centered neighborhoods in the Granary District.

Building community is about group identity and place identity.  Community is free.  A place is made unique by the contributions of those who cooperate to make it what it is.  The meaning of community frees us from the over-reaching control of property owners and business owners who seek to define every aspect of our lives--including ourselves as persons.  If owners want to join as equals in a discussion about what neighbors want in their district, this could possibly work and I thought it was the intent of this project to date. The purpose of building a community driven place is to free the space for the local needs and purposes that can be expressed there.  If what is happening here instead is we are being invited to a focus group to determine your brand identity that will then be unilaterally exerted over the space for yet one more alienating and arrogant environment, you can count me out.  I already live there.

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I understand what you mean. It's ridiculous to be told how to feel and what to do in your own home.

 

Though I think what is meant by 'brand' is a little different than what you're thinking. When Christian talks about branding the district, I believe what he means is that we are coming up with a logo for the district and going to decide on symbols that represent the Granary District so that it is possible for us to unite under one banner, instead of a scattered effort. Strength in numbers.

 

I get the feeling that we'll point out what the Granary District already has going for it as a livable, walkable neighborhood and find ways to enhance it and project that image into what is best called a 'brand' because the 'brand' says what we're about. 

 

I guarantee this won't be about other people telling current residents what they're home is about and how they ought to live there. If I'm wrong, then I'm on your team, and I will be very disappointed.

Joanna,

Thank you for your input and concern. This branding effort is a way to put the Granary out there to the rest of the public and invite people to join us in keeping the Granary a community that is a place filled with "spaces for local needs and purposes that can be expressed there". We just want to bring in other like minded individuals and local businesses to fill in the holes and build off of what is already existing.

We just think that a logo could be a useful tool to help these efforts.

We'd love to have your input in this process so we can as accurately as possible depict what the Granary represents through the logo. If you have any other questions or concerns about this branding effort, or purpose of this groupsite in general, I'd love to sit down and discuss with you. 

It doesn't look like your links worked James.
Oops, thanks!
From what I have studied about the concept of branding, one has to begin with the unique things about the place. The place has to do its own branding-people can't brand something. With that in mind, my thoughts immediately went to the train and the tracks. I loved the hand cart at the block party and thought that a steam engine could give folks a ride through the district. All things train. The Heber Creeper has had success, but is so far away that many people haven't been able to experience it.

Another thing I noticed about the district is bricks; maybe the City could adopt a district design requirement. I congratulate your group on caring and advocacy-you have a bright future going!

Thank you for the encouragement, Margaret! I think you're right on about the physical identity of the District — tracks and brick. I am continually amazed as I walk onto new properties in the District and see rail spurs on almost all of them. That's what drove the development and growth, and now identity of the District it seems — manufacturing and rails. Now what the identity is is changed, but building off the past will be very important for the identity of the area going forward.

Are you going to be able to attend the branding meeting this Thursday or Saturday? We're going to be discussing just that — the District has already branded itself, but what is it, and how can we portray that accurately? We'd love to have your input. 

I have the meetings on my calendar and hope to attend one of them.  Assuming I do, i look forward to meeting you James.
Likewise, Margaret. I really hope you can make it!

Good call on the train concept. While I don't know that we'd be able to do a steam train in downtown SLC, I've heard there are plans to put some kind of street car in and utilize those tracks again, which would be awesome.

 

Also agree with the brick concept. I really like the idea of keeping the industrial feel around, but making it more artistic and vibrant. Amplify it in some way.

I love the industrial character of the district, especially the brick. However, I feel that giving the city power ,such as having them impose a design requirement, forces an identity. Maybe they could provide incentive for using brick material on property, but even that is iffy. I feel that in the long run doing this might stunt the organic way in which community aesthetic comes to be.

To me at least, it seems that the city isn't the one who is branding the district, but us. And we can always change our minds whenever we want. This isn't something thought will be set into law, nor should it be. 

 

The main point of coming up with the brand is to be able to communicate with the outside world what our vision for the space is, so they know what we're about and what kind of neighborhood we want to build. If you think about it, the downtown brand is very different from the Sugarhouse brand. You know what to expect when you go to one or the other.

 

Overall I don't think we'll be coming up with design standards for the neighborhood, mostly a logo and a few go-to places/ideas that we think represent the space.

Ryan, I appreciate that it seems most people in this group are sincere about creating an authentic space with a feel and an identity that is inviting and has unique characteristics.  That's all to the good.  What I'm worried about is language.  Language matters.  "Brand" is a word that comes from marketing and is by definition about selling and manipulation.  It has been my hope that these community efforts will bring with them a lighter spirit of space-making, beauty, welcoming and freedom from the heavy-handed corporate identities that surround us everywhere.  We should not feel we have to adopt the language of business (even where local businesses may be participating) in order to be serious or focused in these efforts.  So having a sign that says, "The Granary District" that is made in a certain way, looks a certain way, and reflects the surroundings is great.  I would say, the downtown feel is very different from the Sugarhouse feel, etc. instead of "brand."  Being sensitive to what you feel in a place is important when deciding what you like and don't like in your own neighborhood or district.  But, you're not buying a tube of toothpaste (or selling it).  You're collaborating in the creation of a setting that invites certain wonderful things to happen.  This is way more than brand, so please don't sell it short by using language that stems from a hackneyed hucksterism.  You see, I'm FOR the project.  I'm against the closing down of ideas that happens when language enters that could close down that free process.  Thanks to everybody who responded to my concern.  I promise my intention is not to put down this process, but my hope is it will keep being fantastic.

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