In 2012, a small group of individuals from academia, government and private planning sectors in the Salt Lake City area started to meet for breakfast and talk about “green infrastructure”. The Wasatch Front Regional Council was just completing (re)Connect: the Wasatch Front Green Infrastructure Plan, and we began by discussing what it might mean for the region. Over subsequent months, the conversation grew to identifying the core values and pragmatic solutions represented by the green infrastructure concept, and local opportunities and challenges. By 2014, we observed such a snowball effect in breakfast attendance, such a widespread interest, that informal breakfast meetings became overwhelming. We needed to become something. And so, we became the NatureWorks Alliance. Our name reflects our shared understanding that natural systems, incorporated into the fabric of our communities, provide a wide set of valuable services – infrastructure - and it does so more efficiently, affordably and beautifully than any conventional infrastructure.
The Alliance still consists of a core Steering Committee, who continue to meet regularly for breakfast. More broadly, it consists of individuals and organizations who bring their unique combination of vision and expertise to create a growing network of resources, conversations, and connections to help build our green infrastructure systems.
Acting Director, Ecological Planning Center, University of Utah
"As an ecologist, green infrastructure just makes sense to me – ecologically, economically, and in terms of general wellbeing and quality of life. So, why don’t we see it implemented more widely? Why isn’t it a basic practice here? This is the question that I have been asking for a couple of years, and it led me to this group of people and the creation of the NatureWorks Alliance. The more of us who ask it, the more likely we are to find answers and move toward planning and designing Utah communities that are even more beautiful, livable and resilient."
Associate Professor, University of Utah - Department of City and Metropolitan Planning & Director, Center for the Living City
"Whenever we can align our investments in shaping ways to heal and repair the places we care about I like to jump on board. Such is the case with this Alliance; a group of committed practitioners and researchers who dedicate their days to understanding the complex, elegant and interconnected systems that comprise the ecology of your place. And this group goes beyond a desire to just understand these relationships with place--they want to act to shape change--and I want to lend my voice in our vital work."
Urban Designer, Salt Lake City
"Emerging from a background in natural resources and the environment, my work focuses on connecting people to place through civic leadership, meaningful public engagement, and design controls and incentives. I believe that urban environments that cultivate our relationship with nature bring nature “out there” into our everyday experience, sustaining greater ecological consciousness. As the urban designer for Salt Lake City, Utah, I lead urban design policy development citywide and collaborate on major development projects, incorporating green infrastructure into the public realm."
Executive Director, Jordan River Commission
"I am very excited by the interest among the Alliance members to promote the incorporation of green infrastructure into planning and design throughout our region. I believe the impact of region-wide implementation of these concepts can be monumental - cleaner air, cleaner water, greater access to nature, reduced reliance on fossil fuels, and overall higher quality of life for Utahns."
"Americans are fast becoming aware with the value of green infrastructure and the expense of conventional infrastructure. The Nature Works Alliance can educate communities about green infrastructure components and which suite of green infrastructure components can work for them. My work with the Swaner Nature Preserve & Eco Center and the Ecological Planning and Design Center, aligns myself with the Nature Works Alliance."