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South Valley Journal

New book club started by Herriman to educate about city planning and encourage dialogue

Oct 14, 2019 03:13PM ● By Stephanie Yrungaray

Happy City is one of the books that has been discussed in Herriman’s new Community Builders Book Club.

By Stephanie Yrungaray | [email protected] 

Many people haven’t considered how the layout and planning of the city they live in affect their lives. 

Herriman officials are trying to encourage that way of thinking with their new “Community Builders Book Club.” Herriman City Planning Director Michael Maloy came up with the idea as a way to encourage residents to expand their knowledge about city planning and open up a meaningful dialogue between city planners, employees and residents. 

“We are working on a new general plan, and I know that growth and development bring up big issues for the community,” Maloy said. “I thought [the book club] could be a forum for a deeper discussion for people who are really interested in talking about how cities grow, how communities plan for growth and how we protect and enhance the quality of life.”

At the first book club meeting in July, Maloy and five others discussed the book, “Happy City” by Charles Montgomery. The next book club discussion, held Sept. 17, was about the book “Walkable City,” by Jeff Speck. 

This is not a first for Maloy, who also works as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah. Each spring he teaches a course there called “City In Literature” which focuses on literature that talks about the planning and development of cities. 

“I really believe that it is so valuable to read your profession or read your passion,” said Maloy, who says he’s read around 50 books about city planning since graduating 20 years ago. “I’ve been a big advocate of encouraging planning students and professional planners to read more.” 

Herriman resident and planning commission member Heather Garcia attended the first book club and said she gained a lot of insight from reading the book and participating in the book club discussion. 

“[Happy City] had so much great information on the different types of buildings and what has worked in the past and what hasn’t worked,” Garcia said. “One interesting thing we learned about is how building a better city can increase social engagement and how city planning plays a big role in mental health.” 

Maloy said they had a booth at Herriman Days to encourage people to join the book club and are hoping that as time passes more and more residents, whether from Herriman or other cities, become involved. 

“I think [the book club] is a great opportunity for people who are concerned with how their community is growing or developing,” Maloy said. “This isn’t a meeting where people show up and argue or complain about current issues. We want people to read the book, come discuss and learn together.” 

Garcia said she thinks the book club is great for the city of Herriman. 

“I find it highly inspirational and motivating,” said Garcia. “I’m excited we have city leaders who are interested in seeing positive changes and building a happier city.” 

The next Community Builders book club meeting will be held Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at 14692 South Sky Bird Drive in Herriman. The group will be discussing the book “Community: The Structure of Belonging” by Peter Block.