The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Previous Projects

iUtah

iUTAH is an interdisciplinary research project dedicated to preserving Utah’s water resources. Comprised of a vast network of researchers, universities, governmental agencies, industry partners and non-profit organizations statewide, this is the first water monitoring project of this scale to be attempted in the history of the state….  (continue reading)

FrontRunner

The Wasatch Front is a rapidly growing metropolitan area situated in a region with natural features that extraordinarily limit growth. The Wasatch Front Mountains constrain growth on one side while the Great Salt Lake and the Oquirrh mountains constrain the other…..  (continue reading)

Do Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) Make a Difference?

The United States is moving into a new era of metropolitan development and form. The demographic, economic, and finance drivers that made America a suburban nation have run their course. America will see a shift toward infill and redevelopment. Facilitating this will be fixed-guideway transit systems and the transit oriented developments (TODs) they serve….  (continue reading)

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Outcomes

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is poised to become the “next big thing” in public transit. From virtually no systems a generation ago, there are now 19 lines operating with at least seven under construction and more than 20 in the planning stages. BRT is gaining popularity because of its combination of low capital cost and potential for high levels of benefits. But are BRT systems effective in…  (continue reading)

Assessing the Impacts of Streetcars on Economics, Equity, and Quality of Urban Life

This research project aims to explore the benefits and costs associated with the “streetcar movement” taking place in cities nationwide through the lenses of economic development, equity and quality of life. We will answer the question: Can streetcars perform as an economic revitalization tool while enhancing urban quality of life equitably for all residents?…  (continue reading)

Arts and Shrinking Cities

The idea that arts and artists play a critical role in transforming blighted neighborhoods into hip enclaves is well established in existing literature (e.g., Currid 2009; Lloyd 2002).

Reduced to its simplest, artists seek out low-rent areas, bringing with them a creative vibrance and authenticity that attracts new businesses and residents, which works to raise rents, often pricing out the very artists…  (continue reading)

Envision Tomorrow Plus

Envision Tomorrow Plus (ET+) is an open-access scenario planning package that allows users to “paint” development scenarios on the landscape, and compare scenario outcomes in real time. Scenario comparisons include a comprehensive range of indicators relating to land use, housing, demographics, economic growth, development feasibility, fiscal impacts, transportation, environmental factors, and quality of life. ET+ provides a quick, sketch-level glimpse of the possible impacts of policies, development decisions and current growth trajectories, and can be used by communities to develop a shared vision of a desirable and attainable future. It can be applied at scales from a single parcel to a metropolitan region (CLICK HERE TO VISIT ET+).

*This project was completed with funding from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities

How Affordable is HUD Affordable Housing?

PI Reid Ewing and Research Assistant Shima Hamidi assessed the affordability of HUD rental assistance properties from the standpoint of transportation costs. HUD housing is, by definition, affordable from the standpoint of housing costs due to limits on the amounts renters are required to pay. However, there are no such limitations on transportation costs, and common sense suggests that renters in remote locations may be forced to pay more than 15 percent of income, a nominal affordability standard, for transportation costs. Using household travel models estimated with data from 15 diverse regions around the U.S., we estimated and summed automobile capital costs, automobile operating costs, and transit fare costs for households at more than 18,000 HUD rental assistance properties. The mean percentage of income expended on transportation is 15 percent for households at the high end of the eligible income scale. However, in highly sprawling metropolitan areas, and in suburban areas of more compact metropolitan areas, much higher percentages of households exceed the 15 percent threshold. This suggests that locational characteristics of properties should be considered by HUD when establishing eligibility for rental assistance subsidies.

HUD Sustainable Communities Grant for Salt Lake County

Published October 15, 2010
The competitively-awarded grant is among 45 to be awarded under a new program that received applications from more than 1,000 communities across the country. The awards were made under HUD’s new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program, funded for the first time this year, that supports the development and implementation of regional plans that integrate affordable housing with neighboring retail and business development.

City and Metropolitan Planning Department and the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR)

Click here to view available databases

MRC Database Inventory

The MRC has dozens of databases that can be used for research, such as the Smart Location Index, the Consumer Expenditure Survey, HUD micro data, CoStar, and the Center for Transportation Planning Package.

Wasatch 2040 Plan

Published February 18, 2012
The Wasatch 2040 Plan is ambitious in wanting to steer a substantial share of regional growth to transit oriented developments, transit corridors, and transit-served nodes. Implementation of these objectives depends on better understanding of demand and supply conditions, arts and public amenities that influence growth patterns, development of the analytic platform to facilitate community sustainability decision-making from the parcel level up to the region.