Our daily routines are, in some way, a direct result of our state’s tremendous growth; and across our communities, whether consciously or subconsciously, we all feel its effects.
Transportation, economic development, education, business climate, housing, health care, and environment—research consistently determines these issues as some of the most important to us, and at their core, each comes down to our overall quality of life. This means that now more than ever, our life quality is directly determined by the way our communities grow.
For some, growth connotes negativity; a sense that their community is changing too quickly and the growing pains seem increasingly acute. Others share excitement about the economic opportunity growth provides. Despite differences of sentiment, Utahns can all agree that more should and can be done to prepare for our state’s continued growth.
The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute projects that our population will increase to just under 6 million, close to double the current population, over the next 50 years. This is why lawmakers, business leaders, local governments, and all Utahns must focus on addressing our state’s growth in a holistic way—today. Change and growth are inevitable, but smart planning is not.
We must employ the “Utah Way” and work more collaboratively than ever before to broaden the thinking and break down the silos between public policy issues. This publication reflects this way of thinking by viewing every issue as interconnected and growth-related. For example, conversations surrounding the future of infrastructure and transportation cannot be independently successful if land use, housing affordability and economic development are not included or considered in the process.
Utah’s business community is uniquely prepared to lead the charge for smart growth and planning. Business leaders understand the economic impacts of growth and its effect on employee recruitment and retention, housing affordability and workforce development, to name a few. History proves that when the Salt Lake Chamber coalesces around an issue, business leaders answer the call.
Utah’s business community represents the action takers, thought leaders and community builders who are dedicated to ensuring every aspect of our state is prepared for growth. Over the years, the Chamber has sketched an economic blueprint, painted in the details, and thought big about our future. Now it is time to execute our plan. We are committed to continue our strong public and private sector partnerships and use relevant, good data from organizations in our community to help support informed decisions and advance our growth-centered priorities.
With smart planning, our future growth can and will be viewed in a positive light. Preparing for growth is a force for increased collaboration to build thriving communities, improve our economic prosperity, advance Utah’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and cultivate tomorrow’s leaders. Making this vision a reality will require legislators to enact creative and collaborative solutions, businesses to understand and advocate for the big picture, and all Utahns to work together to ensure our state remains the best place to live, work, learn and play.
*Note: The Salt Lake Chamber acts as the policy arm of the Utah State Chamber Association.