The first CNU 21 speech I went to was by attorney Craig Galli, who briefly outlined the history of Salt Lake City. He pointed out that one of the region's problems was the dependence of local cities on sales taxes; to attract tax revenue, local governments need to attract sales-generating retailers. As a result, the region became oversupplied with big box stores, some of which are now vacant due to competition from other big box stores.
CNU’s LeRoy Taylor recently interviewed Erin Christensen, Associate Principal at Mithun to discuss the new joint initiative between CNU and Architecture 2030. Erin will host an Open Source session on URBANISM+2030 this week at CNU 21 (Thursday, May 30 after the morning plenary).
It seems to me that the debate among new urbanist/smart growth types about height limits for office buildings* is really about one question: if businesses can't find enough office space in a low-rise business district, will they:
1. move a few blocks away, thus improving a neighborhood adjacent to downtown?
2. move to a suburb with more lenient height restrictions or cheaper land?
This story is strong, but anecdotal, evidence for view 2.