Regional/Urban Planning

Salt Lake City Public Lands Master Plan

Salt Lake City, Utah

Reimagining how parks and public lands can address issues of equity, stewardship, and livability

Salt Lake City engaged Design Workshop to create the city’s first public lands master plan in nearly 30 years. The planning process started just as Covid-19 began and civic protests centered around critical social and environmental issues took hold. At the same time, parks, trails, and public spaces were more essential than ever, seeing dramatic increase in use. The team behind the plan embraced this as the opportunity to host conversations with the community and tackle complex issues facing the city, including homelessness, racial justice, urbanization, and climate change. Supporting engagement that involved over 12,000 community members through a variety of innovative techniques, the master plan became a champion for these topics, forming solutions to improve the city’s equity, livability and stewardship through five goals and ten transformative projects. Branded “Reimagine Nature”, this inspired community members and team to create an actionable 10-year vision for the city’s expansive landscape of 83 parks and public spaces, 70-miles of trails, 1,700-acres of natural lands, and 86,500 urban trees. Graphic communications, visualizations, and analysis mapping further expressed ideas that were strongly supported by the community and endorsed by elected officials.

Plan implementation began even before unanimous city council adoption, such as elevating conversations that led to transitioning Public Lands from a division to a City department that came with additional staff hires. Accelerating implementation of the plan’s ideas is a choice presented to voters for a $85 million bond funding package. Volunteerism and citizen involvement in park design has increased and become more diverse since this master plan, such as a citizen-led effort to plan what will be the city’s third regional park located in an equity zone on the westside.

Services Provided: Master Planning, Public Engagement, Public Policy Planning, GIS Analysis, Document Creation, Project Branding, Website Design


  • Honor Award in Planning and Analysis, ASLA National
  • High Achievement Award for Public Engagement, APA Utah
  • Honor Award for Planning and Analysis, ASLA Colorado


Salt Lake City Public Lands


ETM Associates, Salt Lake City, University of Utah College of City and Metropolitan Planning