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APA Utah News & Events

Keynote: State Planning Coordination

September 9, 2022 9:15 am
2022 Fall Conference

Following a long, treacherous journey, pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847 and declared the area their new home. Utah will reach the 200-year anniversary of this event in 2047—just 25 years from now.

Utah has undergone significant changes since the time of these early years of log cabins to the high-rise office towers of the present. Growth has been almost constant. Utah is growing, aging, urbanizing, diversifying, and changing. The state’s population is projected to reach 4.8 million by the year 2047, and 5.5 million by 2060. Utah is growing because we have a great quality of life and a strong economy, which means our kids stay (or come back) and others want to join us.

This growth has brought Utah many new opportunities, such as record low unemployment and tax revenue sufficient to invest in infrastructure. However, it has also brought challenges, such as traffic congestion, housing affordability, and crowding of recreation areas. In a 2018 survey, the ULCT found that 63 percent of Utahns believe that the state is growing too quickly. Envision Utah’s 2021 values research found that more Utahns think that growth will hurt their quality of life than any previous poll.

Like it or not, growth is coming. It is unrealistic to think we can close the doors; however, how this growth occurs matters. Utahns have the ability to shape the way this growth occurs to ensure that we preserve what makes Utah special. It’s time to have a statewide conversation about growth. Utahns need to come together to talk about our values, about our shared goals, and about what we can do to ensure Utah remains a great place to live 200 years from that momentous day in 1847.



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