From lush lawn to xeriscapes
The New York Times reports that Salt Lake City's mayor wants to change the law, "'I think the zoning ordinance is ridiculous,' Mr. Anderson said. 'It clearly needs to be changed.'" Many cities in the southwest are going the way of the xeriscape - using native plants and vegitation instead of ubiquitous lawn grass.
In fact, cities not in the southwest have been practicing this for a few years, including Seattle. The Seattle Parks Department uses native vegetation in many of their public parks not only as a way to reduce the need for water, but also as a form of integrated pest management.
Substituting plants and groundcover for lawns is a good idea - but as is indicated in the NYTimes article, if you're going to do it, make sure you know and understand how to maintain it.