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Friday, February 3, 2017

Life On State Salt Lake County and Regional Planners Social Engineering Our Community

Salt Lake County Residents

We need your assistance in attending this event!

Life On State

Print the Flyer and Inform Your Neighbor

 

The Life on State project establishes a shared vision for the future of our valley's central, historic corridor. The vision was built on broad involvement from residents and stakeholders along State Street, claims Wasatch Front Regional Council, a Metro Planning Organization social engineering every community along the Wasatch Front.  An un-elected board of state and local elected leaders under the direction of Andrew Gruber.  To uncover the was these organizations work and co-opt the community to accept THEIR PLAN as our own the following information is very enlightening.


The Raw Deceit of Envision Utah-

 

John Anthony - Sustainable Freedom Lab
 

 

Planners call Envision Utah a ‘national model’ for regional planning. The Brookings Institute cited Utah as a “leader in [voluntary] regional planning…”

Behind the inflated congratulations lies sophisticated deceit and manipulation fast becoming the standard for regional planning.

Envision Utah began over 15 years ago as a public-private partnership offering recommendations to cities and counties to preserve open space, increase transportation choices and more.

Envision Utah claims to have one of regional planning’s most successful outreach programs. Nearly 2,000 people attended 50 workshops and 17,500 responded to online and mail-in surveys. Yet, the turnout is no wonder.

In one of the longest-running marketing campaigns in planning history, Envision Utah proponents assured residents that joining the plan was voluntary. There would be no un-elected regional councils, no regional plan, and the community would design the planning scenarios. This ‘no-risk’ campaign effectively disarmed community members’ objections, leaving planners free to advance their programs beneath a mantel of “neutrality”.

But, Envision Utah’s promissory jargon belies the unscrupulous tactics they used to win residents’ approval for the same mixed-use-open space algorithm that has been rejected in Utah and communities across the country.

Marketing to values-

Early in the planning process, the Envision Utah steering committee hired nationally recognized polling firm, Wirthland Worldwide, to determine the ‘quality of life’ values held by community members.

Survey results revealed that most respondents saw their state as a “safe haven, where others shared their common sense of honesty, morality and ethics.” They placed these values in the context of children and their families.

Envision Utah proponents then used these values as the centerpiece of a targeted marketing strategy designed to impose the planner’s ideas community by community.

Renaming controversial ideas-

Since the survey indicated family interaction was a high priority, planners re-branded their efforts. Urban planning became the glue that held families together. “High-density living”, was recast as compact housing that allowed young families to locate near relatives. Grandparents were urged to buy condos near their children rather than worry about new zoning laws that could restrict single family homes. Planners rarely discussed their role in creating the “restrictions.”

Planners replaced the unpopular term “Smart Growth”, with the more benign, “Quality Growth Strategy.” In keeping with their targeted marketing, Quality Growth meant keeping the air and water clean for children and grandchildren.

The “chip game”-

In 1998 Envision Utah developed a unique “chip game” which allowed community participants to place chips, representing homes, on a map to decide the future layout of their community. In deciding where to place homes, people had to consider complex issues such sewage lines, utilities and other services. It was billed as people talking charge of their future. Yet, even this community activity was highly controlled.

Early on planners established basic understandings. More open spaces were needed, long work drives damaged the environment and urban sprawl was to be avoided. This left the players few planning options. It was no surprise when most participants decided in favor of the same mixed-use, transit oriented living the planners wanted all along.

Promoting the vague-

Envision Utah avoided creating a visible plan that could be analyzed. Instead planners talked about principles, and suggested, rather than advocated, transit-oriented living, mixed-use and open spaces. They then ‘nudged’ community members to “do the right thing” by barraging them with internet ads, newspaper articles and workshops educating Utahans to the dangers of not having these urban designs.

In one example, Utah Transit Authority’s “King of the Road” commercial showed a man driving his convertible top-down, humming to the 60’s tune. Meanwhile, the crawl says, “He doesn’t know the words…Also doesn’t know that UTA takes 81,000 cars a year off the road.”

In 30 seconds, the ad depicts young, carefree people who love freedom as clueless, while reinforcing the dubious assumption that driving less is undeniably beneficial. At best, it is undeniably controversial.

Winning through fear-

Often scare tactics employed half-truths as in this example from Envision Utah’s website:

In urban areas, land close to existing job centers is rapidly disappearing, and if we’re not careful about how we grow, housing costs could skyrocket and force many of our good, hard-working neighbors elsewhere— excluding from our communities teachers, fire fighters, and our own children as they get their start in life. The further Utahans live from where they work, shop and play, the more they spend on car-related expenses.”

Notice the implied threat that if people do not live in a high density area, they could lose teachers, firefighters and even their own children (remember the values survey results) to rising costs. Little consideration was given to the exorbitant housing costs in other Smart Growth areas like, Seattle and Portland. The observation that car-costs rise if you move away from the urban center, overlooks the reality that, for many, this may be a worthwhile trade-off.

In spite of Envision Utah’s calculated posturing, there is little “neutral” about these statements.

The king of surveys-

Colorful, interactive online surveys still attract thousands and are promoted by Envision Utah and the state.

In this survey, targeting residents of Madison County, Utah, the planners explain that higher priced home costs are the result of larger lots and will require “individual families to sink wells and septic tanks.” Larger properties and self-contained services are positioned as burdens with no talk of the benefits.

Beneath the graph, planners note, “The more you spread out, the more expensive it is. This is not a judgment, just facts to think about. Road costs [are] paid by everybody.” The message is clear. Roads are costly, and if you want more, you are selfish since everyone else pays for them. There is no mention of the increased respiratory diseases, traffic congestion and exorbitant housing costs that accompany the high-density living planners are promoting.

As one seasoned planner observed, “Envision Utah uses the most biased surveys I have ever seen.”

Keys to success-

If Envision Utah has met success, it is mainly the result of distorted facts and a relentless, decade’s long marketing campaign creating the illusion that planners are neutral and participation is “voluntary.” One must wonder how many communities would volunteer if equal efforts were expended marketing the failures of compact living.

In spite of the deceptions, other regions, including Envision Missoula, Building the Wyoming We Want, Envision Central Texas, Louisiana Speaks, Superstition Vistas, Thrive 2055, and many more are adopting all or a portion of the Envision Utah model.

But plans that lure participants through deception can result in unwanted surprises.

Un-elected regional councils with the authority to mandate local zoning and regulations are the goal post of regional planning. Yet, Envision Utah created no new un-elected council. Urban designs are built upon pre-existing regional authorities like local Metropolitan Planning Organizations and the Utah Transit Authority. But once the smaller regional plans are completed, there is little to prevent a consortium of their leaders from formalizing a single larger region. Will this happen? It’s hard to say.

But history shows, all it takes is a little deceit and a good marketing campaign.

 

Learn more about planning and Sustainable Development

 

 

Learn The Lingo, Vernacular, Buzz Words, Jargon here


Links:

http://www.freedomadvocates.org/whats-behind-qthe-visionq-in-your-town/

http://www.wfrc.org/publications/Life_On_State/Life_on_State_Final_Document.pdf

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5833888c1b631b0eb8a3b848/t/588149d39f7456d533068521/1484868052504/LOS_Feb+Workshop+Flyer_FINAL.pdf

http://wfrc.org/new_wfrc/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-gruber-88823324

http://sustainablefreedomlab.org/

http://www.envisionutah.org/images/reports-resources/Wirthlin_Worldwide_Values_Research_Summary.pdf

https://www.lifeonstate.com/get-involved?platform=hootsuite

http://www.envisionutah.org/community-engagement/item/168

https://youtu.be/HOGuPynMOs4

http://www.envisionutah.org/component/k2/item/139-housing-cost-of-living

http://www.envisionutah.org/images/reports-resources/Utah_Value_To_Growth_Harris.pdf

http://envisionutah.net/scenarios/seagull/transportation-and-communities

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/issuesofourtimes/2015/10/26/does-envision-utahs-plan-have-a-firm-foundation/74633616/

https://i4.rideuta.com/mc/?page=DoingBusiness-TransitOrientedDevelopment

https://youtu.be/Rm-XusgA_CA

http://agenda21truth.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2012-01-01T00:00:00-07:00&updated-max=2013-01-01T00:00:00-07:00&max-results=1

 


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