Resource ChallengeBy the year 2020, the population of Utah’s Greater Wasatch Area is expected to increase by a million residents. This rapid growth threatens air quality, water supplies, and land available for agriculture and recreation. To address the challenges and opportunities of this growth, the Envision Utah Public/Private Partnership was formed in January of 1997. This partnership, composed of 130 key community leaders, guided the development of a broad, publicly supported Quality Growth Strategy—a vision to protect Utah’s environment, economic vitality, and quality of life for generations to come.
Examples of Key PartnersGovernor’s Office of Utah, cities and counties along the Wasatch Front, Utah Transit Authority, Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, The Nature Conservancy, Kennecott Land Development, Economic Development Corp. of Utah, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, KSL Television, and others.
Results and Accomplishments
From 1997 to 1999 the Utah Public/Private Partnership held more than 50 workshops, with thousands of participants, to
solicit community input on how and where growth should be accommodated. Four scenarios emerged. Envision Utah developed models to analyze the environmental, fi scal, and quality of life impacts of the different scenarios. The team distributed a questionnaire to area residents asking them to choose which scenario best represented how they wanted Utah to grow. The 17,500 respondents chose a scenario that creates more walkable neighborhoods, uses existing infrastructure more efficiently, offers transportation and housing choices, and leaves more land for open space and agriculture.
The Quality Growth Strategy was released in 1999. Since then, Envision Utah has introduced the Quality Growth Strategy to 93 city councils and county commissions, created a Quality Growth Toolbox which has been presented to more than 3000 people, and involved the public in developing the long-range transportation plan. Envision Utah has also assisted dozens of municipalities in making specific changes to their codes, ordinances and general plans to protect the environment, maintain economic vitality and accommodate anticipated growth. Envision Utah has earned top planning awards from the American Planning Association, the Urban Land Institute, and the Alliance for Regional Stewardship.
Implementing the Quality Growth Strategy over the next 20 years is expected to:
Conserve 171 square miles of land.
Reduce commute times by 5.2 percent and increase transit trips by 37.5 percent.
Save approximately $4.5 billion in infrastructure costs.
Reduce water consumption.
The Envision Utah Partnership engaged the public, creating an urban vision to preserve critical lands, promote water conservation and clean air, improve transportation systems, and provide housing options.