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Utah Urged to Focus on Family-Oriented 'Smart Sprawl'

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Housing Markets

Utah Urged to Focus on Family-Oriented 'Smart Sprawl'


November 17, 2020
Utah single-family home
Photo: Jason

The Utah housing market has experienced one of the most intense years yet as more Americans opt for homebuying due to low mortgage rates and a heightened concern for housing amid the pandemic. Utah offers affordable homes and more space; an ideal for those ex-urbanites who decided to ditch cities such as New York and San Francisco. The Urban Reform Institute suggests the state should focus on building more single-family homes and shift away from high density housing, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The institute calls this a “smart sprawl,” which is a family-oriented emphasis on building detached homes rather than apartments.

Top researchers at a Houston think tank brought that vision to Utah leaders this week, arguing the state should put aside its “smart growth” strategies of higher-density homes around business centers in favor of what they call “smart sprawl."

They point to the rising exodus from places like San Francisco and New York, with people fleeing closely built apartments and condominiums for Utah’s more open spaces and lower cost of living.

“If we’re going to see future lockdowns, which is not beyond the pale, what you’ll find is that you’re a lot better off in a house with a backyard than you are in a one-bedroom apartment,” said Joel Kotkin, an author and presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University in Southern California.

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