Utah County is finally getting its own Daybreak. Let’s just hope it’s better than the actual Daybreak.
According to KSL, Anderson Geneva is moving forward with development of the former Geneva Steel site. The entire project is expected to take 20 years to complete and should include residential, commercial and industrial facilities. (The Daily Herald and The Salt Lake Tribune both previously reported on this project.)
At this stage, the project seems comparable to Daybreak primarily due to its location on the outskirts of existing development. Both projects also claim to emphasize mixed use development. But while Daybreak comes across as a suburb painted in atypically vibrant colors, this project could of course avoid some of the problems plaguing most new cities.
Still, as a general rule I’m highly skeptical of both master planned communities and developments built far from existing centers. And “skeptical” doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about the environmental and social impact of suburbs. After all, when there’s room to build dozens of new dwellings as infill on every block in Provo and every other city in the county, why build a whole new neighborhood or city on a former industrial site? (The answer, of course, is because the developers want to make a lot of money on high profit margin structures.)
I’ll reserve judgement on this development for later, when I’ve actually learned more about it, but for now it’s also worth noting that far-flung projects like these threaten cities like Provo that need to increase density. The population in Utah County is only going to grow so much in the coming years, and if all those people move to the Vineyard area existing communities will have missed a golden opportunity to grow more vibrant, increase density, and cultivate their tax bases.