Connecting a City -or- The Grand Canals of Phoenix

[Source: William Hanley, Green Source blog] — Having only visited Phoenix a couple of times, my understanding of the city has largely been framed by its location, among burnt-umber mountains in verdant Sonoran Desert, and it’s national headline-making problems: it was quickly filling up its valley with highway-driven, low-density sprawl and isolated pockets of residential, commercial, and recreational activity connected only by car.  But this morning, I attended a Greenbuild education session that featured two plans to remedy that disconnect between urban functions.  One is well underway, and the other is gaining traction in the community, the government, and the private sector.

The first actually provided the venue for the session.  It was held inside the former A.E. England Motor Company building, which has been renovated into an event space, gallery, and café.  The space sits inside the centerpiece of recent downtown development, Civic Space Park.  The public space opened in April, and it is literally at the center of the city, along Central Avenue—which splits the street grid into east and west sides—and bounded on both sides by tracks for the city’s new light rail system….

The core presentation this morning focused on a scheme that would create several such hubs throughout the city.  Canalscape is a project by the Planning Program at ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning that envisions the development of mixed-use structures along Phoenix’s 181 miles of canals…  [Note: Read the full blog entry at Connecting a City -or- The Grand Canals of Phoenix.]

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