Baseline 2020: Land Use

Source and Assumptions

Information about land use in the Greater Wasatch Area has been compiled from local, state, and federal government sources by the Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC). The AGRC has worked with these sources to present in one map, for the first time ever, current land use, master plan land use, and projected land use. Potential areas for urban expansion have also been identified and used to calculate the geographic growth of the urban area over time.

To project land use these assumptions have been made:

  • The urban area is defined as the area with 1,000 or more people per square mile
  • The urban area also includes commercial activity where employment is equal to or greater than 1,000 jobs per square mile
  • Urban growth is not permitted to occur on water bodies, wetlands, public land, or slopes greater than 30 percent
  • The location of future expansion is based on proximity to existing and future roads, proximity to the existing urban area, and some adjustments for hillside development
  • Densities inside the urban area remain constant. In other words, future development, and the associated lot sizes and dwelling units, is assumed to occur in a manner similar to the present.
  • Approximately 7% of the population in the study area lives outside of the urban setting.

Major Issues and Findings

  • The urban portion of the Greater Wasatch Area is projected to nearly double from 320 square miles in 1995 to 590 square miles in 2020
  • Average densities in the entire Greater Wasatch Area increase as more people are located in the same amount of space. These densities increase from 72 persons per square mile in 1995 to 119 per square mile in 2020.
  • Approximately 13 percent (66,000 acres) of all irrigated agricultural land in the Greater Wasatch Area is projected to be converted to urban use by 2020.




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