20 Years Later: Envision Utah's Quality Growth Strategy Deemed a Massive Success

The state of Utah created Envision Utah in the late 1990s to address growth while maintaining quality of life and protecting the environment in the state. The plan set goals for 2020, so it's time to evaluate its success.

2 minute read

July 16, 2020, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Salt Lake City

Bring Back Words / Flickr

Tony Semerad checks in with the fruits of "Quality Growth Strategy" at the heart of Envision Utah, the state's plan for growth approved 20 years ago to prepare for a wave of new residents. Planetizen shared accolades for Envision Utah in 2015 and 2017.

Here's how Semerad describes the impetus for Envision Utah:

Residents grew anxious over the visible ways Utah was changing. State officials and urban planners launched what proved to be a massive public process in hopes of getting ahead of the challenge.

The aim: Let everyday Utahns — and not just politicians — define what was dubbed “quality growth.” The resulting template would help guide land use patterns in the state through 2020.

The assessment Semerad provides is unequivocally positive. 

By applying those quality growth strategies across the 10 counties spanning the Wasatch Front and Back and beyond, the state saved vast amounts of land and water, reduced car trips and smog and built more of a mix of housing to better suit its population. The shift also accelerated construction and use of mass transit.

Providing the data for this analysis is a report released recently by Envision Utah to evaluate the results of the long-term plan. For more information on the accomplishments of Envision Utah, see also the website for the Quality Growth Strategy Commission, a state organization with the purpose of supporting local governments with Quality Growth planning.

Saturday, July 11, 2020 in The Salt Lake Tribune

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