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APA Utah Fall Conference Speaker

Laura Hanson, AICP

State Planning Coordinator
Governor's Office of Planning and Budget

Laura joined the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB) in 2021 with over 20 years of experience as a professional planner in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining GOPB, Laura served as the Planning Director for the Utah Transit Authority. Laura also served as the first Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission (JRC). She holds bachelor degrees in urban planning and environmental studies, and a master degree in urban planning from the University of Utah. Post graduate certificates include public involvement, leadership, conflict resolution, and visual resource management. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards from the Quality Growth Commission, Utah Chapters of the American Planning Association, American Society for Landscape Architects. Laura enjoys spending her free time at her family’s ranch in Woodland, Utah, camping in southern Utah, enjoying live music, and skiing with her husband Derrek and children, Anna and Leo.


Guiding our Growth »

2023 Spring Conference, May 12, 2023 11:10 am

Utah was the fastest growing state in the nation between 2010 and 2020. Population is projected to increase from 3.4 million today to 5.5 million in 2060, a 63% increase. What makes Utah great is also what makes Utah grow. Utah's appeal means others move here and our children stay. Growth can threatened what makes Utah great if we don't plan for it. Utah cam remain a great place to live, but we must work together to protect or improve Utah's housing costs, water resources, transportation convenience, recreational opportunities, and sense of community. It's time to come together to Guide Our Growth. Join us to learn about this statewide growth conversation, how you can participate, and how the input from Utahns will help shape the future of our state.

Street Knowledge: The Wasatch Transportation Academy »

2022 Fall Conference, September 9, 2022 11:10 am

The “Community Transportation Academy” model seeks to break down the barriers for community members to participate in transportation decision-making processes. Using a curriculum handbook developed in Portland, the U of U's City & Metropolitan Planning department launched the Wasatch Transportation Academy. Working with local, regional, and state partners, the WTA ran for eight weeks during January-March 2022, reaching a total of 49 students and concluding with a suite of 18 student-led projects. Student feedback from a post-course survey showed a high degree of satisfaction across a number of pedagogic factors, with a strongly positive net promoter score, indicating a likelihood of continued success for the course in future years.

State Planning Coordination Q & A Panel »

2022 Fall Conference, September 9, 2022 10:10 am

Join us for a Q and A panel to discuss state planning coordination.

Keynote: State Planning Coordination »

2022 Fall Conference, September 9, 2022 9:15 am

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.

Utah Water Challenges in the Age of Extreme Weather »

2022 Spring Conference, March 25, 2022 10:15 am

This panel presentation will explore the increasingly important role that water planning has on communities – from the perspective of a scientist, local government and from the state. Seth Arens will discuss the two ends of hydrologic extremes in Utah, drought and flooding, which were both present in near-record forms during 2021, and projections of what to expect in the future. Laura Hanson will discuss the state’s long-term planning approach to help mitigate these extremes. And Mayor Rosenberg will discuss strategies and actions that can be taken within the local government to better prepare cities to navigate challenges of drought and flooding.

= Keynote

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