Salt Lake and BSL need an urban advocate

In June of 2014, I launched Building Salt Lake (originally SL City News) with the purpose of promoting smart growth, complete streets and community engagement. 

Starting a news blog from the ground up isn’t easy and it required a lot of blind hope, grit and financial sacrifice.   Yet I’ve loved running Building Salt Lake, even in the early years when funds were scarce and I questioned if BSL could ever be sustainable.

Since its inception, Building Salt Lake has grown in both audience and influence, helping to bridge the communication gaps between residents, policy leaders and local developers. 

BSL continues to grow because of its incredible audience, contributors and supporters.  

Salt Lake City is an amazing community and I’m eternally grateful for whatever small impact I’ve had on shaping its future growth by ensuring that sustainability, equity and the human scale were a part of the conversation.

The time has come for me to embark on my next adventure.  After the holidays I am moving to Charlotte, North Carolina to continue the smart growth discussion in another rapidly growing part of the country.

I know that BSL is an important community resource and I want to ensure that it continues to be in the future.  I’m looking for the right person, or organization, to take over BSL’s operations in 2019. 

The right candidate will be a dedicated advocate of smart growth with a committement to keeping the community informed about all things development-related in Salt Lake City.

There is still a lot of work to be done if Salt Lake is to reach its potential.  Inversions continue to plague the valley, trapping dangerously unhealthy air in the state’s most populated region.  Housing is increasingly becoming unattainable for too many residents.  Recent events demonstrated how a small group of well-connected residents can impede, or even halt, growth in a valley that can’t continue to prioritize single-family homes over everything else.   While newly-approved transportation funding provides a rare opportunity to dramatically improve both public transit and bike infrastructure.  

Despite its challenges, Salt Lake greatest strength is its residents.  Through this work I’ve met amazing people that put in both the time and energy needed to fight for a more sustainable, urban and equitable city.  

Salt Lake’s current and future success is because of these engaged residents and the person that takes over BSL will need to remember that smart growth advocates are found in both the public and private sectors and that in this fight for a better community, we need every advocate we can get.

Building Salt Lake isn’t going anywhere, but there may be a bit of a lull until new reporting starts up again under even better leadership.

You can reach me at if you think you are the right candidate to continue BSL’s mission in being a critical smart growth advocate in Salt Lake.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at