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USU Students Propose Re-Design of Ogden Valley

Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014

a group of USU LAEP students working on charette project

Students work with faculty member Keith Christensen during the department's annual Charette.

USU LAEP students on a site visit to Ogden Valley

A USU student team during a site visit to the Ogden Valley.

Seniors in the landscape architecture program at Utah State University’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences recently had the opportunity to present original design ideas and solutions to the Ogden Valley and Weber County Planning Commissions on April 1, 2014.

The solutions presented were produced during this year’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning’s 2014 Design Charrette that took place in March. This annual weeklong project involves teams of students from freshmen to seniors taking an in-depth look at planning and design issues for a given area.

“My team’s focus was looking at the communities [within the Ogden Valley], what is unique and special about them and how they can maintain that specialness,” said team leader Meredith Nigh. “We looked at the communities of Eden, Liberty, Huntsville and the Monastery and came up with strategies for each community.”

By the end of the week, each team addressed the given issue and organized its ideas onto presentation-ready posters. This year there were 15 participating teams that generated 62 posters.

Following the event, the charrette team leaders presented their analyses to area officials. Each presentation exposed the planning commissions and members of the public to a new and different idea that could be used in future planning. 

Several ideas such as the implementation of roundabouts, a low-income housing plan and a preservation plan for open space and wildlife were popular among the commissioners.

“One of the things that I really, really liked was the use of roundabouts, the way that they thought about how to get traffic moving,” said Ogden Valley Planning Commission Vice Chairwoman Ann Miller.

Commissioner Greg Graves enjoyed the incorporation of wildlife preservation.

“I liked the thoughts that they had about wildlife,” he said. “I like the fact that they have identified that agriculture was an important thing in the valley. …I think what impressed me most was that they were able to identify some of the characteristics that make this place such a unique environment, and I think they were spot on in those.”

While the Ogden Valley Planning Commission already has a master plan developed for future projects, students’ ideas may be considered in revision and implementation of the current plan.

“I think [the Charrette] will have a remarkable impact because I think people will begin to see, number one, what can be done to make the valley very interesting for visitors and the associated businesses,” said Pen Hollist, chairman of the Ogden Valley Planning Commission. “There was just a wealth of information there, and it was great to see such a broad range and depth of thinking.”

The Ogden Valley and its planning commission weren’t the only ones to benefit from the process. Students also gained real-world experience and act as though they were professional consultants.

Nigh noted that through this experience she was able to find ways to meet the needs of the client as well as experience what life as a professional would be like.

“I loved it,” she said. “I really want to work with the public so it gives me a sense of what I’ll be doing day to day.”

Related links:

USU Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department

USU College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Contact: David Bell, 435-797-0511,

Writer: Allie Jeppson Jurkatis, 435-797-7406,

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