Density is a big deal lately – but it's not a simple issue
The headlines keep coming: there's public pushback about some development project because it's "too dense." Rather than focusing solely on density, we should be asking how the project is designed. Will it accommodate our growth in a way that will lead to a high quality of life for ourselves and our children?

Utah is growing fast – that's why we're seeing as many apartments, condos, and townhomes as we are single-family homes. If we want to keep any semblance of affordability, we need to make sure we have ample supply of all kinds of housing. And that increased housing density isn't necessarily a bad thing. It means we use less water, develop less agricultural land, and spend less money on infrastructure. It also means our firefighters, police officers, nurses, and teachers can afford to live in the neighborhoods they serve. But how and where we build that density has huge implications for traffic, air quality, and quality of life.
Solutions for the Utah teacher shortage
We've been hard at work with our teacher initiative task force — made up of representatives from the Governor's Office, the legislature, the Utah State Board of Education, UEA, and local school districts — to create and implement solutions to address the statewide teacher shortage.

From a list of over twenty strategies, we narrowed our ideas down to eleven key solutions and broke them up into four overarching approaches: recruit, retain, and recover teachers, and elevate the teaching profession.

Recruit. Fewer and fewer college students are choosing teaching as a career. Getting the best and brightest to choose a career in teaching is essential to ending the teacher shortage. We need to:
  • Leverage CTE pathways to help students become teachers more efficiently
  • Provide more scholarships and financial aid
  • Promote teaching to high school and middle school students

Retain. 42 percent of Utah teachers quit within their first five years. We need to support teachers to develop an experienced workforce for our kids. We need to:
  • Improve induction, professional development, mentorship, and support
  • Provide more resources for teachers

Recover. There are thousands of experienced Utah teachers who could return to the classroom. We need them back. We need to:
  • Create a shared database of former teachers
  • Create more part-time career options for teachers
  • Allow teachers to return to teaching immediately after retirement

Elevate the profession. Teaching needs to become a more respected, competitive career if we want to end the teacher shortage. We need to:
  • Evaluate and adjust compensation
  • Promote the image of teachers
  • Create additional career pathways

Solving the teacher shortage is no simple task. It requires collaboration among parents, government, and educational organizations alike. But it's crucial to providing Utah's kids with the high-quality education they need and deserve, and — thanks to our many stakeholders — we have a clear picture of what needs to be done. Click here to read a brochure with more information.
Cleaning Utah's air: Ultra-low NOx water heaters
As of July 1, 2018, all water heaters sold or installed in Utah must be ultra-low NOx. This recommendation from our Clean Air Action Team will have big impacts on improving our air quality — the change is estimated to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from water heaters by around 75 percent a year at minimal cost. Cleaner water heaters will go a long way to ease winter smog, especially as our population grows and buildings start to account for the majority of our air pollution.

The Clean Air Action Team's recommendations continue to inspire action to clean our air and ensure that we can improve our quality of life, even as our population rapidly grows over the coming decades.
Podcast - Plat of Zion: Urban planning among early Utah settlers
Over 150 years ago, early pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley and plotted a grid system of streets for their early settlements that continues to be praised by urban planners to this day. This 99% Invisible podcast dives into what made the grid system such a good idea, and how cities need to adapt and respond to changes while still looking back to the planning principles on which they were founded. Click here for the podcast!
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In the news
Salt Lake Tribune
Higher density housing is becoming an increasingly heated issue in Utah. New and established residents hold mixed views of new housing construction, and business and municipal leaders
Deseret News
In Utah we have more people, more jobs, and more opportunity. That also means we have more congestion, more pollution, and more need for water. For growth to be good, it must be guided by great leaders who represent our shared values.

The most potent and long-ranging partnerships are strategic. Although they may begin with a single project, they ultimately provide a platform capable of generating new projects with the potential to achieve far-reaching impacts over time.

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