They've added more ingredients, and the stew is getting thick and chunky.
Officials working to find the perfect recipe for Utah's growth in coming decades got a mix of new contents Tuesday in another phase of Envision Utah's massive planning project.As in the last part of the statewide effort, Tuesday's workshop at the E Center involved more cardboard chips to be placed on huge maps of the Wasatch Front.
There were "residential subdivision" chips worth 6,700 residents, spacious "large-lot" chips worth 2,800 people, "office/industrial park" chips worth 13,000 jobs and "activity center" chips good for 8,300 residents in shopping, office and living spaces.
In addition, participants got "village," "town" and "downtown" chips - along with an introduction to a development philosophy that hasn't been used in Utah.
This allowed lots of discussion about what should stay, what should go, and how empty space should be filled.
About 250 mayors, planners, business people and community leaders collected over maps that showed the Wasatch Front from Brigham City to Nephi and put on their thinking caps.
What kind of neighborhoods will be most efficient and livable?
How will people commute in and out of these communities?
How far will people travel to work, shop and play?
And given projections the state will triple its population by 2050, how can Utah best preserve its quality of life while providing enough homes and jobs?
"Our instructions were to not do only what we thought was practical, what was realistic or what we thought had to happen," said Colleen Minson, grants coordinator at the Salt Lake Police Department.
There are no villages in Utah. There are some examples of neighborhoods with a mix of home values but not many.
High-rise living exists only in Salt Lake City, but to accommodate the lifestyles residents say they want: to walk in their neighborhoods, to commute 20 minutes or less, to be close to areas where they work, shop and recreate, something has to change.
"This is very powerful," said Peter Calthorpe, Envision Utah's consultant. "If given the alternatives, it becomes less a density issue and more a quality of life issue."
Today, considerations for development projects are limited mostly to an analysis of their "density."
How many apartments are developers asking to put on an acre? The "low-density" approach has expansive neighborhoods with one-family homes on spacious lots with large lawns. To local city councils that must approve development, "high-density" projects connote boxy, unattractive apartments with little green space and no place for children to play.
Envision Utah's project will broaden the range of choices, Calthorpe said. "We're now looking at the more complex human scale."
It became clear in the planning exercise that it will take a huge amount of deliberation to choose a vision that will work.
Results of community workshops show 71 percent of participants said they prefer single-family, detached homes for their own families, which may contradict the high-rise living that may be necessary.
Sheer numbers of people will dictate much of the scenario. "Hopefully, we can keep a lot of green space with all this development," said Gordon Haight, of the Sorenson Development Group.
A similar workshop last month asked "Where will people go?" as the Wasatch Front population adds 1 million people by 2020 and 5 million by 2050.
Another series of 15 workshops is intended to give residents another chance to respond.