Laura Hanson


Best Practices for Riverfront Communities – A “How To” guide for implementing the guiding principles of the Blueprint Jordan River.

The Jordan River flows 50 miles from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake, and connects together 15 cities, 3 counties and hundreds of thousands of people. Because it connects us all together, what one person or community does affects another.  The goal of this project was to provide a foundation for consistent, but flexible management of the river corridor; and ultimately, for each stakeholder along the river to apply the Best Practices through local planning and zoning regulations, and through improved agricultural, residential, parks and stormwater management.

The Best Practices provide cities, counties, and other stakeholders with a set of recommendations, practical “how to” instructions, and resources on how to implement the guiding principles of the Blueprint Jordan River while still meeting the individualized needs and goals for their community or project. Additional implementation and education tools include: a model ordinance, community evaluation and development review checklists, considerations for agricultural protection, opportunities for technical training, and a variety of outreach and educational materials.

This session will provide an introduction to the Best Practices toolbox, share opportunities for additional training and education, and identify ways that individuals can help ensure implementation of the Best Practices at the local level.

Laura Hanson, AICP is the executive director of the Jordan River Commission.  The JRC is a voluntary cooperation of three counties, ten cities, two special service districts and dozens of community partners working together to implement an ambitious vision for the 50-mile long Jordan River corridor.  The vision for the river includes recreation, open space preservation, habitat restoration, water quality improvements, regional transportation connections, and community building focused on highlighting the river corridor.In the JRC’s first two years of existence, the organization has helped secure millions of dollars in funding to complete the 45-mile Jordan River Parkway Trail and restore habitat along the river, lead over 5,000 volunteer clean-up hours, produced an educational trail map, developed a suite of planning tools and training seminars for local governments, and facilitated regional partnerships.   The JRC continues to work towards a more positive public perception of the urban river. Laura has applied her professional planning experience as a consultant developing both long-range community plans and natural resource management plans to her position with the JRC. She is now enjoying the tangible work of implementing such a plan for the Jordan River.

She holds bachelor degrees in urban planning and environmental studies, and a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Utah. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards from the Quality Growth Commission, and the Utah Chapters of the American Planning Association and American Society for Landscape Architects, and she is a frequent speaker at local conferences.  Laura volunteers with several community organizations, including serving as a Board member for Envision Utah, the Utah Center for Architecture, the JVWCD Conservation Garden Park and the Salt Lake County’s Open Space Committee.

Lucin Cut-off Trestlewood by Michael Slade

Lucin Cut-off Trestlewood by Michael Slade