You’ve likely heard Utah is growing. What you may not have heard is how much and how fast. According to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, we will add 1.5 million people to the Wasatch Front by 2050. That’s 45,000 people each year!
That growth creates many opportunities, but it also brings challenges.
- Visitation to our canyons and parks has doubled over the last 10 years, causing crowding in many of our outdoor spaces.
- For the first time in decades we have more households than housing. This dynamic has pushed home prices to grow by 7% each year, outpacing income growth.
- If we stay on our current path we expect the average Utahn to spend 40 minutes more in their vehicle every day by 2050.
Fortunately, in Utah we don’t wait to see what might happen in the future. In the face of challenges, we look ahead, make a plan and move forward. This approach has served us well, creating the enviable quality of life we already enjoy.
Following this pattern, the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) – joined by our many partners – facilitated the creation of a blueprint to guide growth in our region: the Wasatch Choice 2050 Vision. The Vision considers how future transportation investments, development patterns and economic opportunities can contribute to enhanced quality of life into the future.
To create the Vision, WFRC facilitated a conversation with communities and partner agencies over the last three years to analyze different possible versions of the future and create a vision built on four key strategies:
- Provide Transportation Choices. It is critical we create a transportation system that supports all modes of travel, including roads, transit and ways for people to safely bike and walk.
- Support Housing Options. By creating more opportunities for multi-family housing in more concentrated city and town centers, we provide choices to families. Some will want to live in a center, closer to shopping, jobs and education. Others will choose more traditional single-family housing, made available by concentrating some of our growth in these urban centers.
- Preserve Open Space. The draft vision preserves 27,000 acres of open space in agricultural land and new outdoor amenities like parks and trails.
- Link Development and Transportation Decisions with Economic Development. When we place housing centers near transportation facilities, people have better access to more jobs and educational opportunities. As a result, we strength our economy and people have choices to live how and where they like.
Utah is growing, and we have a plan. Working together, we can enhance mobility, connect our communities, foster economic growth and improve health in communities and among individuals. The future we want tomorrow is created today. Let’s begin now. Learn more at wfrc.org.