The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Making the Case for Compact Development

Making the Case for Compact Development

University of Utah City & Metropolitan Planning professor Reid Ewing will present the advantages of compact development over sprawl in the Salt Lake Region during Mayor Ben McAdams’ Metro Solutions Symposium Wednesday, October 19, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Memorial House 375 North Canyon Road, SLC. “We in the Salt Lake region became more sprawling between 2000 to 2010,” said Ewing. “Our only substantial center is downtown Salt Lake City. I will be discussing the advantages of a polycentric development pattern, which include more affordable transportation, greater traffic safety, greater upward mobility for lower income households, and better air quality from fewer vehicles on the road.”

Ewing and his colleagues from the University of Utah Metropolitan Research Center have published their findings in Transportation, Landscape, and Urban Planning, Urban Studies, and Housing Policy Debate to encourage a paradigm shift from sprawl to compact regional centers, town centers, and transit-oriented development.

Experts from the development community and local jurisdictions such as Sandy, Murray, and Draper will be speaking at the conference. “It’s like every municipality in the region wants to develop a city center or downtown,” said Ewing. “To quote Gertrude Stein, ‘So there’s a there, there’ in what are now often characterless suburbs.”

During the symposium, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams will be sharing his vision for regional development, and local experts from public and private sectors will discuss the impediments to compact development and how they are being overcome in the region. In addition, Dr. Robert Cervero and John Fregonese, two national experts on regional centers, town centers and transit oriented developments, will keynote the symposium.

Access the University of Utah Metropolitan Research Center white paper on Regional Centers, Town Centers, and Transit-Oriented Developments.

More information about the Mayor Ben McAdam’s Metro Solutions Symposium, and the agenda available here.

Reid Ewing, Ph.D., is a Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah, associate editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association and columnist for Planning magazine, writing the bi-monthly column Research You Can Use. Earlier in his career, he was director of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, research professor at the National Center for Smart Growth, state representative from northwest Tucson and analyst at the Congressional Budget Office.  He holds master’s degrees in engineering and city planning from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in urban planning and transportation systems from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Media Contact:  Ashley Babbitt, PR Specialist, University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning, office 801.581.7045 or

Image Credit:  Cover of Measuring Urban Sprawl and Validating Sprawl Measures by Reid Ewing and Shima Hamidi