Is this a case of Zion expanding or more people moving to Zion. The article
talked about urban sprawl, but what is the the root cause? Is it the weather?
Life in the Rookies is cold and barren. Is it the people? My trips through Utah
have shown to me some of the most polite people anywhere(except on the freeways)
Is it the education system, price of real estate, safe area to raise a family.
Maybe there are some answers out there!
as a lifelong Utahn this is not a list I am proud that we are on. There should
be a limit to the amount of cropland that we can tear up to create urban
housing. The state has gone from a nice place with many open areas to a busy,
ugly, urban setting. It is disturbing to me because it can never be undone. Once
the farm land is gone and the houses are up, that is it. You never see them
tearing down housing to create farmland. Sad
I have to agree with Brahmabull. I am a Utah native and I am sad to see this
happening. My family and I moved to West Valley City and when we lived there it
had beautiful fields and we could see beautiful sunsets, sadly it all went away
as just about every inch of open field got plowed up and homes, condos,
businesses took over. Homes were built so close together that I am surprised a
person could fit in between the houses. Well, we packed up and left because it
became nothing but a sea of buildings and more smog.
I'm one of those conservative capitalist types, and still I greatly mourn
the loss of open space on the Wasatch Front. Hugh Nibley would have agreed. It
is as if the developers see no value in land unless they can build houses and
make money. However, as the population grows, I guess people need places to
live. I suggest that just because you are from Utah does not mean you have to
live there your whole life. I didn't. I'm originally from Cache Valley
and each time I go back I hope it hasn't turned into the Salt Lake Valley.
It has grown to be sure, but still has lots of beautiful farms left. Next:
let's do a study on all those ugly billboards along I-15. I've lived
in 6 states, and this is the worse area for ugly billboards. Hugh Nibley would
have also agreed.
Just wait until Gov Herbert gets title to all that public land within
Utah's borders. Then you will really see some major sprawling. No sense
in letting all that beautiful country lie fallow doing no good whatsoever but
providing healthy habitats, vital ecosystems, and peace of mind to the harried
I wish I had the knowledge and skillset to make use of farmland; I could settle
down someplace and make such use of the land without worrying about stuff like
We must get ready for when our seniors (over age 65) will double by 2030. We
also will have a surge of the aging baby boomer that will not be able to
drive.They ought to build room for when grandma can no longer stay safely
in her home any longer. Research shows one out of three seniors will fall every
year and 20-30 percent of those who fall will require hospital care. New
homes should be built to include cushioned (yet stable to walk on) sub-floors,
rubber countertops to cushion any fall. Other things they would consider are to
include building all ramps, (no stairs), walk-in baths, cabinets that can lower
(for those in wheelchairs), flooring (rubber or cork) that is not slippery when
wet (like the kitchen and the Bathrooms). This way, 3 generations can live
together safely, learn from each other and improve the lives of all. As
for getting seniors to places like the grocery store or to the doctor's
office, perhaps driverless, electric/solar powered vans will be the way. Though
you must build complete streets with a pathway just made for these vans. These
special vans (solar powered) could be used for earthquakes.
A lot of developed land in Utah and Nevada was not crop land but plain desert
land. Not a lot of crops besides alfalfa are grown in these two states. I will
concede that utah county lost a bunch of orchards though.Utah and Nevada
growth is not for many big lots but for neighborhoods because of growth. Day
break development took in lots of ground where not much existed.
The root causes are that as a society we have become so endeared to cheap and
tasteless fast and packaged food that we have lost touch with real food. Food
that can only come from a farm. People used to savor and enjoy a meal together.
Now it's a bother, an inconvenience.And, with government
intervention, changes in technology, "advances in science", and
genetically modified food, it is so costly to run a real farm and produce real
food, that I wonder if we will ever recoup from the loss. It's far more
profitable for the grandkids to sell grandpas farm for development than they
will ever make growing food.I'm afraid this whole idea of
"save the land" so we can feed ourselves may be lost in the fast food
line and the realtors office.
"Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there
be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!"
"Sprawl" is back yards. It's a good thing. Instead of vast tracts
of public green space, each household has its own to do with as it pleases. The alternative is apartment living, which is not conducive to how most
Americans want to live, raise families, or whatever.Sprawl is a good
Walking through older neighborhoods anywhere along the Wasatch Front, you see
tasteful houses sized for living. The relatively high population density made
for a sense of community, easy access to employment etc, and plentiful allowance
for open space.Visiting towns and neighborhoods built in the last
twenty years, you see vast rows of great huge ugly identical houses, whose
cookie-cutter architecture is designed not to be functional, livable, and
beautiful, but rather to be ostentatious.Many of them are, like
Eagle Mountain, plopped down in the middle of the desert where people have long
commutes to get to anywhere that has any merit other than cheap land.Others are where no sane person who understands the geological hazards would
build, like Suncrest or Cedar Hills. (These also cause problems with displaced
wildlife and ruin everyone else's views and mountain recreation.)Ultimately it boils down to developers' greed, buyers' arrogance,
and general self-centeredness.We subsidize this foolishness through
vastly increased transportation and infrastructure spending, through disaster
aid to houses built in geological hazards like the Cedar Hills mudslide, and by
not having them pay the social cost of their pollution.
"Let's get real. Using 2002 data, the U.S. Bureau of Census classifies
less than 5% of the U.S. as being developed, with less than 2.5% as urban. Even
in the densely populated East, New York and Pennsylvania are only 10% developed
and New Jersey, the most densely populated, has 30% of it's land developed.
These statistics alone suggest that the "Smart Growth" proposal(s) to
make 50% of America off-limits to human use has less to do with land
preservation than with...control of resources."
Dr. Erik T. Karlstrom, Professor of Geography
California State UniversityMr. Beck seems to be falling
for fear-tactics. Let's focus on the more important issue of state control
versus federal control of our own lands ~ and let local citizens decide the best
use of our land.
To Brahmabull:You may want to consider moving to Detroit--not the suburbs,
but the city, where they are tearing down houses to create farmland. The houses
that are still habitable are extremely cheap, too. But, the flip side is the
I know this may be a foreign concept to those that were born, raised, and have
lived their entire lives in Utah, but those of us who have experienced life on
the east coast know that it is possible to handle a growing population by
building upwards with a focus on more apartment, condominium, and co-op
buildings. Then handle the extra traffic that comes from the increased
concentration per square mile by developing public transportation, subway
systems, light rail that takes you where you want to go easily.Of
course, here in NYC, we're dealing with the opposite problem of people
having not enough space, and it's resulting in fewer and fewer families
living in the city and moving out to the suburbs. But if Utah takes this
approach to concentrated urban development while still preserving open land,
hopefully you can avoid these problems before they creep in. :-)
Right now developers practically run the state legislature. We need to take it
back, stop subsidizing sprawl and unwise development, and put measures in place
that will help Utah develop healthy family and community friendly urban centers
with a density realistic for the long term and allowing for open space.We often hear outcries whenever urban planning is mentioned, with lobbying
interests and the politically shortsighted decrying it as communism. Brigham
Young, whose vision of urban and community planning can be appreciated in town
centers from Chihuahua to Alberta, had a different view. Faithful Saints
responded to his call and built cohesive, well-designed communities with
population densities unusually high for the Old West. He thundered from pulpits,
especially here in Utah Valley, against individualists who usurped public
resources or fought community plans for their own gain.From time to
time I sit at the top of Ensign Peak and look out across these valleys. I wonder
what Brother Brigham saw and what fiery sermons he would have had for us today.
We need leaders with more of his vision and less developer money burning a hole
in their pockets.
Utah is the 8th most urbanized state it the USA with 90.6% of our population in
urban areas. The same as Rhode Island. This is another stray statistic meant
to make us feel guilty by those who have not researched the underlying data. As
a nation we are 80% urbanized. When you are growing a small number (9.4%
un-urbanized) by a rate slightly higher than others, it does not mean our local
governments are irresponsible or that we aare anywhere near the sprawl of states
like Vermont that is only 31% urbanized.
Prodicus from Provo nailed it. But this is also a problem
throughout the United States. If we are not very careful as we convert farmland
into tracts of endless houses, we will be in the same mess with our food that we
have experienced with oil. Do we really want to be almost totally dependent
upon other countries for our food as well?Here is what the
Agriculture Department says: "As the U.S. population has grown in both
number and ethnic diversity, the volume and variety of food consumed and
imported in the United States has increased correspondingly. In 2009, U.S. food
consumption totaled 654 billion pounds, or more than 2,100 pounds per capita. Of
this amount, imports accounted for 17 percent (110 billion pounds), or 358
pounds per capita."And: "It is estimated that 15 percent of
the U.S. food supply is imported, including 50 percent of fresh fruits, 20
percent of fresh vegetables and 80 percent of seafood."Might we
all wake up hungry some morning?
People should go to the east coast if they think Utah is getting ugly and
growing too fast etc etc. This area is one of the prettiest areas to live in the
US. People complaining about growth need to move. One of the
comments saying "The state has gone from a nice place with many open areas
to a busy, ugly, urban setting" is a joke. I know some people
have not actually been outside of Utah and seen what it is actually like in
other cities. Too say this area is ugly is just flat out incorrect. Again go to
the east coast or any other large metropolitan area and see if you can still say
that. Salt Lake county is growing but still much less busy then most
This article is highly misleading. There is more open space here than most
anywhere. Try to camp outside a designated camp ground in the midwest or east
coast, on the 500 sq ft that you rent. Yes, the urban areas of SLC, Logan and
Provo/Orem/Spanish Fork are being developed. But there is more open space per
capita here than most places. The driver is growth: a growing
population, low unemployment, low taxes, great outdoor recreation, low crime and
a great standard of living. If you want to stop the growth, just hike taxes,
regulate companies out of business, and tell people to stop moving, traveling
and shopping here.
djacob10Intelligent response. Your solution to anybody who
doesn't like the open areas to be torn up is that they should move? It is
ugly here now, and you know it. They are building in the valleys, in the
foothills, and in the mountains. If you have seen the area surrounding Park city
in the last 30 years, it used to be beautiful. Now every hillside in and out of
town is dotted with houses and cabins - it is hideous. The same thing is
happening along the Wasatch front... building closer and closer to the
mountains. You look at the mountains and you see... houses. If that is what you
want your state to be, I don't know what to tell you. But it is not good.
Just want until Herbert and our legislatures control all of the land in Utah,
you haven't seen anything yet, I don't know the numbers, but it seems
that a disproportionate amount of our state legislatures have a background as
realtors or developers.I agree that it's sad to see farmland
and open space get ripped up for subdivisions, but at the same time we have to
live somewhere, and if we want to keep having large families then it's only
going to continue. Especially since everyone these days seems to think they need
a large 3,000+ square foot home. My guess is we are going to see a lot more high
density housing developments and start seeing developers building up more,
instead of out. It's just not going to be possible for everyone to have a
half acre of land anymore.
RG,I agree about the billboards. Utah is such an eyesore, someone
driving through this area would never know we actually have beautiful mountains,
you can hardly see them for the billboards. The new trend is the electronic
ones, which are even worse, especially at night. The Wasatch Front is quickly
becoming a place my wife and I don't want to live in. Unfortunately we
don't have much other choice, which I guess is how it is for a lot of
State government and the Chamber of Commerce has oversold the merits of Utah and
attracted too much attention from outsiders who have moved here, thus creating
our dubious place on this list. Urban sprawl ruins our way of life. We are now
paying too high of a price in trying to grow and expand our state's
economy. It is time to back off and to become more proactive in
passing laws which seriously protect what open lands we have left and preserve
at least a semblance of a rural atmosphere here in Utah. The governor and our
state congress need to be bold and act now before this gets any worse. I'm certain our state forefathers would not like what we've done in
urbanizing Utah to the extent we have. Becoming more like California and/or New
York is not the direction we want to continue pursuing. It has already added
shameful air pollution and created water shortages throughout the state. We need
to change direction NOW!
Not surprised, not when the state is still begetting like the bunnies like to
This documented urbanization of Utah is self evident. Those of us who have lived
here our entire lives have seen first hand the ugly effects of uncontrolled
growth. Brio is totally correct about Utah being oversold to outsiders in
misguided attempts to grow our local economies.Another obvious
factor adding to this insidious problem is illegal immigration. The percentage
of illegals living here is growing year by year. All total, they are the
equivalent to a very large city here in Utah. They use our short supplied
natural resources and hold wages down. Legal immigrants do have a right to be
here. Illegal aliens do not. And they are compounding this urbanization problem
which is unfortunately accelerating. It's time to wake up and
take action to stop (or at least drastically slow down) this problem that is
encroaching on our way of life here in Utah. There is no doubt those particular
aspects are not as good as they were even just a generation ago. Unfortunately,
it is exponentially accelerating. And as someone previously pointed out, once
good open space is lost, it is all but impossible to ever get it back. Vote wisely.
The problem is GROWTH - more and more people expecting homes, services, jobs -
and a culture and government dedicated to 'accommodating' that growth.
The parallel story by Anderson on 'City Life' and high density
housing, etc. helps - but only a little. As I noted in a DesNews op-ed on Feb.
23 (Mountain urbanism - optimism not enough), the real reality and problem is
our rapidly increasing numbers, all wanting to live along the narrow strip known
as the Wasatch Front: We must confront the very hard realities upon
us: Growth must greatly slow. We must move towards full sustainability —
in energy, in material resources, in population. We must rethink and revise our
very fundamental and ingrained religious and cultural ideologies and doctrines.
While traveling through different areas of states other than Utah, one notices
the careful planning, which includes areas where newer homes have been built.
Parks and open spaces are always included in the neighborhoods. Business areas
are carefully and tastefully planned in a similar layout.This favorable
formula has not been utilized in Utah.Just jam the stuff in! That seems to
be the way in the state of Utah.
LOL could not help it."I am a Utah native and I am sad to see this
happening. My family and I moved to West Valley City and when we lived there it
had beautiful fields and we could see beautiful sunsets, sadly it all went away
as just about every inch of open field got plowed up and homes, condos,
businesses took over." Solution, "Well, we packed up and left because it
became nothing but a sea of buildings and more smog." Where did they go
Tooele. Twice in moves by going to West Valley and to Tooele, they create urban
sprawl and then they complain about it.
Most of Utah's best farmland (Wasatch Front) has already been covered with
concrete and asphalt. The rest of the state is marginal farmland, due to lack
of water, poor soil, or short growing season. Just as in the rest of the United
States, economic growth depends on population growth, and the faster the better.
Population growth as a measure of economic success cannot go on
forever, and at some point, we must become overpopulated like India and China,
or suffer some sort of economic or societal collapse. The population expansion
ideology is built into the Constitution by the apportioning of Congress, and
into our religion here in Utah, where success is determined by the divisions of
wards and stakes. Due to individual and group economic special
interest the ideology of rapid population growth and its economic benefits may
be unstoppable until the bubble bursts. This is a major reason that the
government allows the flood of legal and illegal immigrants. Since the native
born reproductive rate has been below replacement for several decades, 70
percent of U.S. population expansion is now due to immigrants and their
An interesting story about Las Vegas and its thirst for water is found in
another part of DN this morning.Water is another aspect of
Utah's urban sprawl that is simply being ignored. It will come back to
bite us -- or cause us to die of thirst.But good planning only gets
in the way of large profits.
For an example of how to “create” open space in an urban setting
look to Detroit, Buffalo or Dayton OH. These cities they cannot keep up with the
demolition of abandoned properties. Detroit is creating agriculture land where
city blocks once existed. It’s collapsed economies have led to massive
numbers of residents fleeing to find jobs and lower crime rate locations in
which to live.Our growing economy has created jobs for our children
who once had to leave the area to find employment. Cities have allocated green
park spaces and public trails. Can we do more to draw attention to make our
communities need for public space? Of course we can. In the meantime the Wasatch
Front population will continue to expand to the extent that there is an
infrastructure and an economy to support the growth. I for one am
grateful for the thought and planning that has gone into creating this wonderful
region and look forward to participating with citizen groups to improve it for
I appreciate Amy Joi O'Donoghue article and find she is using data which is
reliable. I've been a native Utahn my entire life and have witnessed the
sprawl which has taken place in this state. I grew up in Murray where it was
farmland, now days try driving down State street! Overcrowding is terrible and
Utah has not kept up with the increase population swarming in from California,
and other states. How interesting seeing the farmlands disappear, as in Ogden,
and now see $300-$400,000 homes covering the farmland. It doesn't take a
rocket scientist to realize that our food source is dwindling. There are acres
and acres of land available but have you seen what it looks like? Take a look at
I-80 from Utah through Wyoming....barren? I'd say so! What isn't being
said is seventy percent of open-space destruction is related to population
growth; and 70 percent of U.S. population growth is attributable to
Congress' immigration policies. And the Feds want our land! Just look at
whats happening to Clive Bundy and the standoff!
@djacob10Salt Lake, UTYou said: "One of the comments
saying "The state has gone from a nice place with many open areas to a busy,
ugly, urban setting" is a joke". It is NOT a joke. I have
lived in this Salt Lake valley for 62 years. This valley and much of the state
is undergoing urbanization at an unprecedented rate. Where once lovely fields,
orchards, farms and open spaces existed now are covered by townhomes, condos and
castles.Indeed, this valley and much of Utah has lost it's open
spaces and beauty that it once had. Moreover, much of the land that is still
open is no longer accessible to campers, hunters, hikers and others. Large
ranchers and other land owners no longer want to share their open space with
others. Most of their land is now "NO Trespassing"(perhaps justified in
some cases)?While Salt Lake and some parts of Utah are still less
populated than other places, we have lost much that once was what made Utah such
a wonderful place to live. For this old timer, it is no longer such a place and
it is a sad day for me to witness the change.
Different topic than this.Others ranchers on Federal land pay their
way.Clive Bundy has wanted it for free the last twenty years.Pretty
funny watching Bundy wave the US Flag.As John Stewart pointed out, Bundy
should at least done what the Confederrate South did, and design his own flag.
@SchneeSalt Lake City, UTYou say "Not surprised, not when
the state is still begetting like the bunnies like to do".Friend, you really can't seem to find anything you like about this area
can you? You don't like our morals, you don't like the prominent
religion, you don't like the politics here. With your constant griping
about Utah and the Mormons and the society here one would wonder what keeps you
here? Pray tell, what do you like about it here?
@Meckofahess -- Why do you think this is YOUR area and not Schnee's. I
guess Schnee has as much right to live here and comment on how he/she would like
it to be as you or I or anyone else. It much feel quite cozy to be in the
majority and have everything exactly the way you want it, but sometimes
it's good to listen to other opinions and viewpoints. It might be nice if
people quit telling or implying that other people should move away if they are
not clones of everyone else in every respect.
One of the best communities in the United States for managing urban sprawl in an
intelligent manner is found in Utah. The work of Stephen James at
Daybreak, Salt Lake Valley, has helped lead the way of creating a walkable
community, with a balance and variety of dwellings, for a variety of demographic
populations. Urban gardens, walkable paths to neighbors, a lake, to a
Latter-day Saint Christian temple, to schools, and markets, and all with
driveways and garages designed so they do not poke an observer in the eye.
Steve James graduated from the University of Utah School of Architecture,
received his graduate degree at the prestigious architecture University of
Minnesota, where he won the coveted Ralph Rapson Traveling Fellowship
Competition. Two of his published books are seminal works on urban development
in Europe: Made Spaces: Enduring Places (2010) and Made Spaces: Interpreting
Places (2013). Thank you, Kennecott Land/Rio Tinto for employing James'
skills and others of his associates. May the rest of Salt Lake Valley and Utah
urban places study and follow this singular example for urban development.
I absolutely cannot fathom living in the environment depicted in the pictures
accompanying this article. Talk about ugliness personified!
@Wonder,I was curious why "Schnee" and people like you
rarely mention anything good about the local mores,traditions and culture here.
It is hard not to notice the frequent criticisms and innuendos like "the
state is still begetting like the bunnies like to do" voiced in this forum
about much here such as the local politics, religious influences and traiditonal
family structures. I did not imply that this is "MY" area as you attmpt
to imply. I have spent a great deal of time trying to understand other's
point of view, particularly that of those in the gay community. Are you
interested in the point of view of those that differ from yours?
@Meckofahess"Friend, you really can't seem to find anything you
like about this area can you?"Scenery (aside from inversion
season), low crime rates, plenty of snow, and I wanted to go to the U. "You don't like our morals"That's a loaded
statement; I'm sure we agree on most "morals" since morals go way
beyond abortion and same-sex marriage (which technically I still agree on
personally, just disagree on when it comes to whether to impose restrictions on
everyone else regarding them). "you don't like the
prominent religion"Actually I'm quite alright with it.
There's a difference between disagreeing with and disliking. I only dislike
when they get involved in imposing same-sex marriage bans on everyone, and
that's largely scaled back these days."you don't like
the politics here."True, aside from local politics. "With your constant griping about Utah and the Mormons and the society
here"I think you are reading an awful lot into my making a joke
via Reduced Shakespeare Company reference with my initial post.
Daybreak is a very cool development and it's astonishing how many very
large (massive) apartment/townhome developments are going up all over this
valley. I think this whole "anti-sprawl" thing is a devilish attempt to
control other humans and is anti-family. It's mostly a bad misguided thing.
Some talk of dwindling farmland and agricultural resources as a
cause for alarm - this idea is totally unfounded (food scarcity is strictly a
political issue). The so called "population explosion" myth is just that
- a tired old myth that gained popularity in the 70's (see "Population
bomb", Erlich).If you crave your own open space I have a
solution for you: Drive 45 minutes West and find a nice place to sit in the
middle of Skull Valley. And once there joyfully ponder open spaces.
The area I live in was built within the last 20 years. It has filled in with
houses, along with green space. It's a nice place to live, and no farmland
was used. In fact, I'm growing crops in my backyard where there was nothing
but rocks and weeds before. Is there really something wrong with that?
I've always found it funny that those who complain about "greedy
developers" ruining views and developing lands for their own selfishness are
typically the most selfish people out there. They want their view preserved,
their open space retained, their commute empty of cars. But are they willing to
pay for it? Nope. They want everyone else to pay for it, demanding that their
neighbor not develop his land because it ruins the view or some other contrived
reason. Apparently this is selflessness, standing up to those greedy developers
who just want to pave over everything to create ugly houses that no one could
possibly want, this is actually the height of selfishness, you want something
but you want someone else to pay for it.You may not like the suburbs
but there are plenty of people that do. I, for one, love urban sprawl. I have
lived in downtown Salt Lake, I have lived in a tiny apartment in a city with
over 3 million people. Both had their advantages but I much prefer my current
suburb created by urban sprawl with my cookie cutter home and patch of grass.
Agriculture is worth saving. People need to eat. Destroying farmland to build
houses is a very poor choice. There is much available land that is not suitable
to farm, that is where homes should be built. Quality of life and sustainability
are still important.Once you put houses on a farm it is gone forever.
Intelligent thoughtful growth is worth the effort.
elarue, we've tried apartment living several times. Each time we move to a
new state we start in an apartment to give us time to explore. It's just
not conducive to raising children. You have to walk them to the playground
instead of letting them run out the back door.Utah's open space
is what brought us back here after living in Seattle. Here we have enough room
to keep goats and chickens without them bothering our neighbors, for less than
the cost of a house with small yard in Seattle.