housing & cost of living Scenarios:
Choices for
the Future

The following scenarios were drafted by the Housing and Cost of Living Action Team to represent possible outcomes for Utah’s housing in 2050. The scenarios differed in the variety and types of housing in communities; people’s proximity to public transportation, amenities, and services; where growth occurs; how close the housing built matches what Utahns are projected to want and afford; and the extent to which a pattern of mixed-use centers is created. The scenarios were presented to the public as part of the Your Utah, Your Future Survey in the spring of 2015.

The scenarios were titled Allosaurus, Bonneville Trout, Seagull, Quaking Aspen, and Sego Lily (the state fossil, fish, bird, tree, and flower):

ALLOSAURUS SCENARIO

housing scenario allosaurus

By 2050, most Utahns live in either large-lot homes in the suburbs or high-rise buildings in the cities. Because many suburban areas do not allow apartments, condominiums, townhomes, or small lots, most multifamily housing is located in the downtowns of cities such as Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, and Sandy. High-rise buildings have high construction costs, and large suburban homes are also expensive, making housing unaffordable for many. Utah has fewer townhomes, low-rise apartments, condominiums, duplexes, and small-lot homes than needed.

As a result:

  • Utahns must spend more money on housing and less on other needs.
  • More people require public assistance for housing and other needs.
  • People with different incomes generally do not live in the same neighborhoods, limiting opportunities for low-wage earners and their children.
  • Transportation costs are low for Utahns living downtown because they can walk, bike, take public transportation, or drive short distances to destinations.
  • Transportation costs are high for Utahns living in suburban areas because public transportation is limited and people must drive longer distances to reach destinations.

BONNEVILLE TROUT SCENARIO

housing scenario bonneville

Housing development trends of the last two decades continue. By 2050, most Utahns live in single-family homes. Because many communities do not allow a full range of housing options and mandate minimum lot sizes, the housing that is built does not always correspond with what Utahns can afford. Housing options are limited for low-wage earners because Utah has fewer townhomes, low-rise apartments, condominiums, duplexes, and small-lot homes than needed.

As a result:

  • Utahns spend more on housing and less on other needs.
  • More people require public assistance for housing and other needs.
  • People with low incomes can afford to live in only a small number of neighborhoods, limiting their access to opportunities like good schools.
  • Transportation costs are high for most Utahns because public transportation is limited and people must drive long distances to reach destinations.

SEAGULL SCENARIO

housing scenario seagull

By 2050, Utahns live in a variety of types of housing. Utah supplies a wider range of housing options that match what Utahns want and can afford. However, apartments, condos, townhomes, and small-lot homes are often separated from communities with homes on larger lots. In addition, much of the housing is not close to walkable centers, where jobs, shopping, recreation, and access to public transportation are located.

As a result:

  • Utahns spend less on housing and more on other needs.
  • Fewer people require public assistance for housing and other needs.
  • People with low incomes cannot afford to live in mixed-income communities, limiting their access to opportunities like good schools.
  • Transportation costs are high for many Utahns because people must drive long distances to reach destinations and public transportation is somewhat limited.

QUAKING ASPEN AND SEGO LILY SCENARIO

housing scenario quaking sego

By 2050, Utahns live in a variety of types of housing. Communities supply a wide range of housing options that match what Utahns want and can afford. Most people live close to walkable centers, where they can access jobs, shopping, and recreation.

As a result:

  • Utahns spend less on housing and transportation and more on other needs.
  • Fewer people require public assistance for housing and other needs.
  • Many people with low incomes can afford to live in mixed-income communities, increasing their access to opportunities like good schools.
  • Transportation costs are low because many Utahns live close to public transportation and can easily walk, bike, or drive short distances to destinations.

Scenario Summary

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