Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Comments on the Bluff Presentation

Today we presented the Bluff document to six individuals from different Utah based backgrounds. Of the comments that were made the ones listed below were of most interest:

  • Navajo entreprenuers who are talented and seeking Night Sky and Heritage tourism opportunities - This comment, or the information held in it, could help resolve loads of the concerns and issues that arose for Bluff residents.
    • Examples of this are:
      • Jobs in Bluff: If Navajo entreprenuers started running businesses in Bluff they would need employees for those jobs = solution to creating more jobs in Bluff
      • Youth in Bluff: The more jobs in bluff the more kids would have things to entertain themselves and places to work. The increase of jobs would ultimately lead to more entertainment pieces in Bluff = more sustained youth populations and more family friendly.
      • Manage Controlled Growth: What we found was that the Navajo people generally shared similar values and beliefs about the area that the Bluff residents held. If the economic growth was coming from those holding similar values then the businesses that those individuals ran would also share those values = growth that is in line with the values of Bluff residents.
      • Food Desert: Bluff is a food desert, but with the infusion of Navajo businesses and younger more diverse ideas comes the solution to this problem and the work force/ideas to overcome this and other issues. = More business people means more niches they look to fill, and with food being a large problem this would potentially be one of the first niches filled.
      • Tourism in Bluff: The number 1 thing tourists said they wanted was grocery stores. With the previous bullet resolved this want/need of tourists is resolved. In addition to that though would be more entertainment pieces, locally owned restaurants, hotels, and other businesses which would keep things local and allow the growth and activities the tourists are seeking.
      • Incorporation Funding: This is an issue, but with the increased business tax revenue and tourist revenue this could help elongate the tourist season and the amount collected during the season. This would help ease the financial burden that incorporation potentially brings.
Honestly I feel I could go on forever with just this first point that was made as it could help to resolve issues and challenges on the side of the Navajo Nation and the area of Bluff.
  • How do new residents and growth impact the dark sky ordinances
    • This was an interesting point. As growth occurs ultimately more light would come, but as long as ordinances were in place to help manage the type of light and (potentially open up another business niche) lighting that came they could maintain their dark sky while also improving their economy.
  • Representation of the Navajo community
    • One of the students in the class that went down during the arts festival pushed to try and get input from Navajo individuals, but most didn't return their surveys leaving this piece of the puzzle untouched. I don't know if the rest of the class felt the same way but I felt/feel blind to the wants and needs of the Navajo Nation, and with what Gavin said in class, it sounds like the Navajo Nation and the area of Bluff need each other desperately. They both have assets that the other could greatly use and it sounds like the two communities need to really start discussing solutions together.
  • FDA loans for food production and distribution
    • Going back to the food desert above, this could help fund a Navajo initiated grocery store/green house start up business in Bluff. These ideas need to be shared between the two communities as I feel they share similar concerns and challenges.
  • Protect natural environment and authenticity of place
    • If Bluff does grow (and it will inevitably do so with Bear's Ears National Monument), and they don't have ordinances in place to manage and protect that growth they will lose their town to others. That is what has happened to all of the negative precedent communities we observed, and that growth often happens a lot quicker than the communities thought it would.
This process has been great and has taught me a lot about the listening process of community planning.

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I just wanted to take a moment to send a personal message out to all those in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Horticulture, and Urban Planning/Urban Ecology. I created Landscape Connections for the purpose to share my love and passion for Landscape Architecture and Design, and Urban Ecology. I was a Landscape Architecture Major at Utah State University and currently study Urban Ecology at the University of Utah. I am working to compile as much information in the four previously mentioned fields as possible. If you have any further information, or would like to either add information or see information posted to landscape connections please let me know.