The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Christianna Johnson (BS Honors Urban Ecology, BS Political Science, ’17)

Christianna Johnson (BS Honors Urban Ecology, BS Political Science, ’17)

Name: Christianna Johnson
Degree: BS Honors Urban Ecology, BS Political Science
Year Graduated: 2017
Hometown: Pocatello, Idaho
Current Position, Organization: Funding Our Future Program Specialist with Salt Lake City Corporation

How did you discover urban planning and/or urban ecology?
As a freshman at the University of Utah, I was planning on studying architecture. Then I took the Architecture/Urban Planning LEAP course, which was my first substantive introduction to urban planning. For me, someone from small-town Idaho, it was incredibly exciting to learn about this growing field focused on land use and the built environment, housing, transportation, and more. During my time at the University of Utah, I learned about the dark history of red-lining, Robert Moses, and sprawling, single-use, car-dependent communities. But I also learned about the positive new urbanism of human-scaled urban design that can improve community health, environment, and economies and even mitigate the effects of climate change.

What is your favorite memory from your time with us (for example a project, course, professor, field trip, friends, lecture, etc)?
My favorite course was Land, Law, and Culture with Keith Bartholomew. Keith is an incredible professor, and the course was an engaging introduction into the influences that shape modern land planning laws and how land planning laws are expressed on the local and federal level. One of the big takeaways was how interconnected the discipline of urban planning is, and it continues to fascinate me.

How did you find your first job after graduating?
My first job after graduating was a yearlong AmeriCorps position at the Road Home. I found the position after looking for nonprofit jobs because I wanted to do something that made a positive difference in the community. I saw firsthand how complicated the issue of homelessness is. I still believe it is not a failure of individual people but rather a failure of government and society to provide livable wages, quality affordable housing, and other basic social safety nets. I am extremely grateful for the experience and knowledge I gained, and will always consider my coworkers there some of the most caring, compassionate people in Salt Lake City.

Tell us about your current position, for example, what is your typical day like? or share a recent accomplishment.
My current position is focused on engagement around Funding Our Future. This is an initiative by Salt Lake City and local partners to address the  City’s critical needs of affordable housing, transit, streets conditions and public safety to ensure that our Capital City remains a prosperous, livable place for all. There are several Funding Our Future projects for each critical need area. On the Funding Our Future Dashboard, residents can track how new revenue is being spent, how programs are being implemented, and progress towards goals. There isn’t really a typical day (which I enjoy), because it can range from participating in Salt Lake City’s Census Complete Count Committee to hosting a transportation engagement event at the Gail Miller Resource Center to presenting at a community council meeting to brainstorming streets reconstruction with Legos. For me, it’s an exciting and important time to be working for Salt Lake City government and to be engaging with the public—especially traditionally marginalized groups—on these vitally important issues that will shape the future of our community.

 

My Instagram is christianna_johnson, please share the Funding Our Future website, and on social media, use the hashtag #FundingOurFutureSLC