Friday, January 20, 2017

How ruby red Utah became the nation's land use planning leader

Guess where the most ambitious and successful long-range land use planning effort in the U.S. has taken place, one that included the building of an expansive regional commuter and light rail system and has been expanded to cover an entire state?

If you guessed Vermont or Oregon, you'll be surprised to learn its Utah, and my latest piece for POLITICO Magazine's What Works series is on how and why they did it. There's lessons in it for cities and states everywhere, including very conservative ones.

The Deseret News, the statewide Salt Lake City daily owned by the LDS Church, picked up on the piece today with this nice summary, which I appreciate given the church itself declined to participate in the story.

This is my eleventh full-length "What Works" piece over the past year. The others were on how Des Moines went from dull to cool; how Manchester, New Hampshire turned its vast 19th century millyard to spinning high-tech gold; on how Denver built its game-changing light rail system, only to discover its most powerful effects were not what they'd expected; how Cincinnati transformed "America's most dangerous neighborhood"; how Philadelphia repurposed a 1200 acre former naval base;  how Milwaukee breathed life back into a legacy industrial district, creating the manufacturing park of the future; how Roanoke, Virginia went from a train city to a brain city;  how Winston-Salem, North Carolina pivoted from tobacco manufacturing to high-tech innovation and how Burlington, Vermont -- Bernie Sanders' hometown -- became the country's first all-renewable-powered city; and how Albuquerque, New Mexico took on homelessness (under a Republican mayor, no less.) In addition -- on the occasion of the Republican National Convention -- I had this shorter story on how Cleveland revamped its long-neglected Public Square.

After twelve crazed months, I'll be taking a hiatus from piloting the What Works series to catch up on other projects, but expect more as the year progresses.

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