Project Description

Building the Future Gallatin

Gallatin County will experience very significant change in the next few decades. The county has now reached a population of approximately 100,000 people. If we grow at the same rate as the past few decades (about 2.7% annually), in a mere 10 years we will add another 30,000 people to the county. That’s like adding Helena to the Gallatin Valley. In 25 years, we will likely double our population, reaching 200,000 people.

We’ve heard from many people who think that growth will threaten their quality of life here in Gallatin County by degrading those things that make this such a great place to live: our clean water, clean air, affordable, safe and friendly neighborhoods, historic community character, abundant wildlife, and open rural landscapes surrounding our cities and towns. That attitude toward growth generates considerable conflict in the community, and generally obscures constructive solutions.

The goal of Building the Future Gallatin (BFG) is to demonstrate that we can maintain our quality of life – and the quality of life of generations to come – even as we grow. BFG will shine a spotlight on exceptional development projects right here in Gallatin County that already do that, and can serve as a model for future development that ensures our communities and rural lands will remain great places to live. As a result, Gallatin County citizens and community leaders will have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities of maintaining our quality of life as we grow. Ultimately, we hope that the projects we feature in this series become the norm, not the exception.

After the completion of the BFG compendium edition, the Bozeman Chronicle, Future West, and Montana State University will partner on a celebratory public event to showcase the case studies and engage the community.

Future West enlisted the generous support of an Advisory Committee with expertise in the BFG categories (see below).

The Advisory Committee includes:

  • Ted Barkley City Management (Belgrade, MT City Manager)
  • Cathy Costakis, Public Health Expert (Montana Building Active Communities Initiative)
  • Dave Crawford , Engineer (TDH Engineering, Bozeman)
  • Rob Evans, Builder (Constructive Solutions, Bozeman) 
  • Scott Hedglin, Architect (Architecture 118, Bozeman)
  • Rob Pertzborn, Architect (Intrinsik Architects, Bozeman)
  • Chris Pope, Realtor (ERA Landmark Real Estate, Bozeman), Montana State Legislator
  • Brett Potter, Architect (Focus Architects, Bozeman)
  • Susan Riggs, Urban Design Expert (Consultant, Bozeman)
  • Jeff Rupp, Community Development Expert (Human Rights Development Council, Bozeman)
  • Walt Sales, Farmer (Manhattan, MT) 
  • Dennis Steinhauer, Builder (Archer Construction, Bozeman)
  • Randy Visser, Architect (Visser Architects, Manhattan)
  • Wendy Weaver, Water and Sustainability Expert (Montana Aquatic Resources Systems, Bozeman)
  • Kath Williams, Sustainability Expert (Kath Williams + Associates, Bozeman)
  • Kathleen Williams, Water Expert (Western Landowners Alliance, Bozeman)

The case studies featured in Building the Future Gallatin will be grouped in 11 categories. The Chronicle will publish these case study profiles in installments based upon those categories. The first category to be featured is Affordability

The categories include:


  • smaller lots and homes
  • live-work units
  • subsidized housing
  • attached housing

Open space

  • achieving density to reduce development footprint
  • well-designed open spaces within cities and the region
  • well-designed open spaces within neighborhoods

Water quality and quantity

  • stormwater treatment
  • development next to streams and wetlands
  • water conservation

Air quality

  • reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled

Natural environment

  • protecting wildlife core habitat
  • protecting wildlife corridors


  • distributed, grid-based road network
  • facilitating alternative mode share (walking, biking, and transit)
  • mixing uses to reduce number of trips and trip length

Public health

  • smaller lots and homes to create a more walkable neighborhood
  • mixing uses to facilitate walking and biking
  • parks and trails
  • complete streets 
  • access to local food

Efficient use of infrastructure and tax dollars

  • density to reduce infrastructure costs per unit
  • well-timed infrastructure investments


  • achieving density to reduce development footprint saves agricultural land
  • respecting agricultural water use facilities irrigator needs,
  • designing neighborhood local agriculture space within subdivisions
  • community gardens

Efficient use of resources and materials

  • LEED designation

The past as a guide to the future

  • well-designed older neighborhoods
  • adaptive reuse
  • saving and updating historic structures


See the featured case studies: