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How important is land to your well-being?

Tuesday event to explore connection and looming challenges

FILE - Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson gives a public statement during a town hall meeting conducted by the Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force at the Element Event Center in Kearns on Thursday, June 27, 2019.
Silas Walker, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — With Utah’s population expected to double in just three decades, the impact to the state’s critical resources like air, land and water are at risk of being in jeopardy if that growth isn’t managed well.

That takeaway is part of the focus of an upcoming event Tuesday at the O.C. Tanner headquarters from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 1930 S. State.

The Utah State University Research Landscapes event features USU researcher Courtney Flint, a natural resources sociologist, who explores the connection between Utah landscapes and personal well-being. The conference will emphasize the importance of managing the nation’s fourth-fastest growing economy against a backdrop of safeguarding natural and recreational amenities such as national parks and ski areas.

“In Utah, our most notable landscape is the expansion of urban areas as our population grows,” Flint said. “Zooming in on the Wasatch Front and Wasatch Back we can see how rapidly the urban landscape has expanded in just 15 years.”

The Research Landscapes project was launched earlier this year and features a series of events designed to convey critical research findings on natural resources to area civic, community and business leaders.

On Tuesday, co-presenters include Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and Cameron Diehl, executive director of the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

The research that will be highlighted includes the work of USU faculty Steven Daniels, a sociologist, and Jordan Smith from the university’s Department of Environment and Society, as well as David Anderson and Jake Powell, who are both with landscape architecture and environmental planning at the university.

Topics include wildfires, natural resource dependent communities, federally controlled lands and recreation in the context of well-being.

“We believe presenting unbiased, academically scrupulous research that affects the lives of every Utahn on a variety of significant fronts, in an engaging forum, will elevate the dialogue on these consequential issues,” said USU President Noelle E. Cockett.

The series is expected to explore water use in Utah, especially in the agriculture sector, and how that might shift in the future.

To RSVP or to find out more about Research Landscapes, go to research.usu.edu/landscapes.