Open Space

Open Space

Natural Lands, Agriculture, and Recreation Options

Utah has unmatched beauty and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation. Unfortunately, we've all seen development replace our agricultural lands, block access to recreational areas, harm wildlife, and damage watersheds that supply our drinking water.

In the late 1990s, when Envision Utah did its first large visioning effort, development was chewing up our available land so rapidly that projections showed we would lose as many as 300 square miles in the Greater Wasatch Area by 2020. Today, however, we're on pace to only use 100 square miles. That means we have more agricultural land and open space.

How did we achieve this? First, we've reduced the amount of land new homes use. To meet market demand, we've built more townhomes and apartments and we've reduced lot sizes for single family homes. Second, more of our growth has happened within already-developed areas. This kind of growth is known as "infill."

Moreover, we've gotten better at protecting critical lands like steep slopes, hillsides, ridgelines, streams, and sensitive habitat.

As we add another 2.5 million people by 2050, will we ensure that there are still open spaces like agriculture, natural areas, and recreational lands? Will we provide parks and easy access to natural areas where people can play and relax? We believe that market-driven development patterns and voluntary strategies can reduce pressure on critical lands. With forethought, we can accommodate growth, build world-class cities, and preserve the stunning beauty of our state.