Sunday, October 02, 2005

Pres. Hinckley Announcement Boosts One "Suburban Village"

Found it interesting that right after I blogged about the concept of suburban villages, as discussed by Joel Kotkin and seemingly the direction the Wasatch Vision 2040 conclusions are going, the idea gets an inadvertant boost in LDS General Conference.

Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, in his opening remarks on Saturday morning, revealed the Church's plans for two new temples in southwest Salt Lake County, one specifically for the Daybreak development. Immediately, interest in the development shot up -- see stories in the DesNews and Trib. Again, the idea being that LDS faithful won't need to travel so far to attend to temple worship services.

The DesNews also opined on the planning process now underway in support of the next series of Daybreaks, being discussed by Kennecott Land for their vast acreage along the Oquirrh foothills.

Kotkin, in writing about "suburban villages," said, among other things, "With this new development has come a relatively new phenomenon, the construction of large-scale cultural and religious institutions in the periphery. The suburbs are now host to some of the nation's largest new cultural centers...as well as a plethora of smaller, community-based arts facilities. And, at a time when churches in the hearts of many major cities are closing, new churches, as well as synagogues, mosques and Hindu temples [and LDS temples?]...are rising in the outer periphery."

As I said before, much of what Kotkin writes seems to relate to the concepts moving forward here, that may actually find explicit expression in the Wasatch Vision 2040 scenarios.

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At 3:53 PM, Blogger Former Centerville Citizen said...

I find it interesting that there are three new temples that are going to be built in Salt Lake County in addition to two existing ones, but there's only one temple in Davis County, with no more announced. Considering these recent announcements, wouldn't it make sense for the church to put a temple in north Davis County? Keep in mind that there are towns with populations that have doubled overnight (i.e. Clinton and Syracuse). It's just funny to me that there are only two temples for all of Weber and Davis counties, but that shortly there will be five for Salt Lake County alone. Maybe there'll be another announcement sometime in the near future for other temples on the Wasatch Front.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Student-Builder said...

I work for a home-builder here in Utah and have been wondering about the prime real estate that is provided to the LDS church for stake centers and temples. How is the decision made on who to sell the property to?
I believe in the "if you build it, they will come" addage. If you only provide LDS churches, you will tend to sell homes to primarily LDS citizens.
The new temple location announcement contrasts with the recent articles in the Salt Lake Tribune on the changing majority in Utah. If the percent of LDS members is declining, why do all new developments continue to have LDS churches placed in prime locations?

 
At 3:08 PM, Blogger Brian said...

In response to student-builder, I think the reason the LDS church tends to get the "prime" institutional real estate in new subdivisions is that their facilities folks tend to contact developers about sites early and often in the process.

A centralized organization such as the LDS Church has the money to spend right then and there if it needs to be spent. They also most certainly have clout with certain developers who are more willing to favor that faith for personal reasons to give them a discount or free land as a write-off.

Other churches typically utilize a more grass-roots effort to raise funds for new buildings - a process which takes longer and is less likely to result in a building in a brand-new subdivision as opposed to a more established neighborhood.

I'm not convinced that the LDS homebuyers are flocking to certain subdivisions just because the churches have been built or planned. It's likely just a numbers game. Mormons may be declining as a statewide percentage, but that percentage is still over 70% and the decline is a slow process that will take many years before it drops below 50% of the overall population.

Furthermore, there are certainly pockets of the state where LDS membership is over 80%, particularly in the suburbs around Salt Lake. It's only natural that the majority of churches built in those areas are for that demographic.

I don't think the developers are excluding anyone deliberately, but just strictly by the numbers LDS places of worship are in greater demand than those of other faiths. I think you'll see an increase in Catholic parrishes and churches in particular in the future due to shifting demographics. But it will be several years before you start seeing them in new subdivisions.

 
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At 8:43 AM, Blogger Student-Builder said...

I would agree that the churches deep pockets and connections with developers are the reasons we continue to see stake centers popping up prior to the completion of homes to support them.
Without a doubt, there is no deleberate attempt to exclude populations, but having an LDS stake center on the corner does send a message that "this will be a primarily LDS subdivision".
I do think the shift to a non-LDS majority is sooner than many think. In Salt Lake County, The LDS % has slipped from 63.23 to 53.27 since 1989.
We should do what we can to make newcomers feel welcome in our state and embrace the diversity that they bring.

 
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