Utah’s Daybreak Shows a Way Forward for American Suburbs

Suburban dwellers are increasingly calling for more mixed-use development, walkability, and access to transit.

2 minute read

August 30, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


View of houses against backdrop of snowy mountains from across a lake at sunset or sunrise

InnovativeImages / Daybreak, Utah

An article by Patrick T. Brown in Deseret News highlights the Utah community of Daybreak, which Brown argues can serve as a model for the more walkable, sustainable suburbs of the future. 

“In July 2020, three-quarters of Americans told pollsters that being within walking distance of destinations like shops and parks were important to them, yet too many new developments still assume a car-dependent lifestyle.” Consequently, developers are starting to build denser, mixed-use suburbs in an effort to provide both more spacious living quarters and access to amenities. 

“In contrast to restrictive zoning and land use restrictions that hinder development in many suburbs, Daybreak’s agreement with the city of South Jordan allows the developers to build housing at any density the market can support, with the potential of reaching 20,000 housing units over 4,200 acres.” Daybreak aims to offer housing at different price points and connects to the regional light rail system.

Brown argues that “The success of the Daybreak concept — using denser, traditional styles of development with amenities that attract families and keep housing costs affordable — should be one that spurs similar approaches throughout the country.” Like Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s campaign to make Paris a 15-minute city, American mayors should, in Brown’s view, take an intentional approach to cultivate dense, walkable, developments that buck traditional suburban norms. As Brown writes, “Booming metro areas will appeal to families when homebuilders are allowed to create developments where community life can organically occur.”

Monday, August 22, 2022 in Deseret News

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

May 17 - Governing

Blurred traffic speeding by on freeway with Los Angeles skyline in background.

California Testing Per-Mile Gas Tax Alternatives

A summer pilot program will test the fairness and efficacy of collection mechanisms for mileage-based fee options.

May 17 - Newsweek

Close-up of 'Pay rent' note in red marker on day 1 of monthly calendar.

After Months of Decreases, Rents Nationwide Are Going Up

Average rents rose by $12 around the country so far this year.

May 17 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.