Category Archives: Sustainability

DVC supports Prop 104 Ballot Initiative

Prop 104

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Celebrate Earth Day 2013 in Downtown Phoenix

DPR_standardFrom April 22 – 27, Downtown Phoenix will become spring cleaning headquarters as Spring Cleaning Week brings together the community and business to beautify Downtown Phoenix.

This weeklong donation and recycling drive will end with a giant charity I Recycle Phoenix Street Sale with all proceeds used to bring shade, greening and art to our streets.
How can you join in?
Clean out your closets, donate your items and shop our Street Sale.

Spring Cleaning Week is proudly brought to you by Downtown Phoenix Recycles, The Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and Keep Phoenix Beautiful.

For complete details, visit http://www.downtownphoenix.com/recycles

Shade, Trees, Sustainability the Focus of Feb. 12 Event

Ed Lebow talk Following the Water and Other TalksMark your calendar: Next Tuesday, Feb. 12, Phoenix Public Art Director Ed Lebow speaks on “Following the Water: The History of Change in the Valley Landscape.”

Where/When: Burton Barr Central Library, 7-8 pm.

A 2012 Downtown Phoenix Year in Review

SWOT Analysis[Source: Downtown Voices Coalition] – We emailed and chatted with a few “friends of downtown” to do a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of downtown Phoenix in 2012. We asked, but didn’t insist, that the lists keep in mind our statement of purpose: “Downtown Voices Coalition is a coalition of stakeholder organizations that embrace growth in downtown Phoenix, but is mindful that healthy growth should be based upon existing downtown resources — the vibrancy of neighborhoods, the strength of the arts community, the uniqueness of historic properties, and the wonderful small businesses that dot downtown.”

Below are the lists – an even dozen each – that Brendan Mahoney (Mayor’s Office, City of Phoenix), Jim McPherson (Downtown Voices Coalition), Chelsea Smith (small business owner), and Sean Sweat (Central City Village Planning Committee) pulled together. What would you add? What would you delete? What would you modify? Can similar SWOTs be created for “the arts,” “sustainability,” and “midtown Phoenix,” for example? Let your (downtown) voice be heard!

STRENGTHS/OPPORTUNITIES

  • Central City South residents crafted their own Quality of Life Plan
  • City of Phoenix stood its ground against a low-density, unfunded Goldwater Library & Archives
  • “Downtown Phoenix” local history book published
  • Maricopa County South Court Tower completed (replacing, of all things, a parking garage)
  • METRO West Extension compromise reached, sparing the St. Matthew neighborhood
  • Mix of housing options blossomed (e.g., Oasis on Grand live/work apartments opened, Lofts on McKinley senior apartments opened, and Roosevelt Point apartments broke ground and unbundled parking)
  • Neighborhoods blocked Circle K expansion at 7th St. & Roosevelt
  • Pedal Craft bicycle, art, and community event rode into town (twice!)
  • Pop-up park on Roosevelt St. popped up, complete with murals, landscaping, and Peritoneum sculpture (note that Peritoneum sparked a conversation within City Hall that there should be a simple, one-size-fits-all process to activate vacant lots downtown. That process will be voted upon by City Council on January 16, 2013)
  • Seed Spot incubator opened in historic Warehouse District
  • Street and sidewalk improvements made on Centennial Way (Washington St. between 7th Ave. & State Capitol) and holiday lights returned to Central Avenue
  • University expansions, including UA Health Sciences Education Building (completed), ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus Recreation Center (under construction), UA Cancer Center – Phoenix (under development), and ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law (proposed)

WEAKNESSES/THREATS

  • City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Officer, Barbara Stocklin, summarily dismissed
  • First Street streetscape project (i.e., no bike lanes, car lanes are 14 feet wide, street parking is only 70% of what it could have been, trees shade cars not people, trees permanently lock the parking ratios on the west side of the road, and the corner radii are more than double what they should be. On the plus side, the existing ficus tree was spared from being chopped down.)
  • Implementation of Downtown Phoenix, Inc. delayed
  • Inconclusive planning for proposed Golub and Colliers developments
  • Legends Entertainment District continues to be a made-up district neither legendary nor entertaining (including suburban billboards and Visit LA banner on CityScape)
  • Madison & St. James hotels demolished
  • Maricopa County nixed bicycle commuter support station in Security Building
  • Phoenix City Council’s unanimous enthusiasm for downtown projects less likely because of budget issues and differing viewpoints
  • Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory (PURL) shut down
  • Still no downtown dog park
  • Urban Grocery closed
  • University expansions (above examples do not achieve ideal density, and the law school came at the price of the vintage Sahara Motel)

Local experts and national author to discuss state of sustainability in metro Phoenix, Jan. 17

A panel of local experts and Andrew Ross, author of “Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City,” will discuss the current state of sustainability in metropolitan Phoenix at a public forum on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.  The event, free to the public, will be held at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center at 415 E. Grant Street. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., panel discussion 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., audience Q&A 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and reception with complimentary refreshments 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Panel moderator will be Charles Redman, Arizona State University (ASU) Virginia M. Ullmann professor of Natural History and the Environment and founding director of the ASU School of Sustainability. The current slate of panelists (with two to be added soon) includes:

  • Maria Baier, state land commissioner, Arizona;
  • Steve Betts, former president/CEO of SunCor Development and current Arizona District Council Chair of the Urban Land Institute;
  • Terry Goddard, former Phoenix mayor and former Arizona attorney general who now teaches a course at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus: “Phoenix and the Art of Public Decision Making;”
  • Taz Loomans, architect and writer/blogger on sustainability issues;
  • Kris Mayes, former commissioner of the Arizona Corporation Commission and current director of the ASU Law and Sustainability Program and professor at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law;
  • Andrew Ross, professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University.
  • Silvia Urrutia, director of Housing and Healthcare Finance, Raza Development Fund

According to Susan Copeland, steering committee chair of Downtown Voices Coalition, “Issues of sustainability are paramount to the future of Phoenix. Ross’ book is a great springboard from which to begin, or continue, discussion.”

The Downtown Voices Coalition is sponsoring the event with in-kind support from the Lexington Hotel in downtown Phoenix, Four Peaks Brewery of Tempe and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

Bird on Fire” is available at Made Art Boutique, 922 North 5th Street in downtown Phoenix and at Changing Hands Bookstore at 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. It is also available at Burton Barr, Cesar Chavez and Mesquite Branch libraries in Phoenix.

Downtown Voices Coalition is a coalition of stakeholder organizations that embrace growth in downtown Phoenix, but is mindful that healthy growth should be based upon existing downtown resources — the vibrancy of neighborhoods, the strength of the arts community, the uniqueness of historic properties, and the wonderful small businesses that dot downtown. For more information, visit downtownvoices.org.

Valley Forward’s Environmental Excellence Awards Ceremony is September 17

Valley Forward is hosting their 31st annual Environmental Excellence Awards on September 17 at the Westin Kierland Resort.

Valley Forward Association’s 31st Annual Environmental Excellence Awards program, held in partnership with SRP for the tenth consecutive year, is scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011, at The Westin Kierland.

This prestigious program has grown significantly over the years and now encompasses seven broad categories, including buildings and structures, livable communities, site development and landscape, art in public places, environmental technologies, environmental education/communication, and environmental stewardship (SRP Award).

Read more here, plus watch a video from KAET’s Horizon program highlighting the 2010 awardees. There’s also a link to register to attend this year’s ceremony.

FREE Regional Tree & Shade Summit in Downtown Phoenix on Wednesday

Growing Connections: Roots to Branches

Arizona and its communities face challenging problems with diminishing resources. How do communities do more with less? Green Infrastructure is a solution multiplier that provides cost effective solutions to many economic, social and environmental problems. All Arizona communities and businesses have a role in cultivating a healthier, more livable and prosperous future.

Presentations and a Discussion on Cultivating Green Infrastructure

The Regional Tree & Shade Summit will bring together municipal and private sector professionals for a one-day meeting to address the growing importance of regional tree and shade plans and green infrastructure to the long-term sustainability and success of our communities.

Details

Date

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
8:30am – 5:00pm

Location

A.E. England Building @ Civic Space Park
424 N. Central Ave, Downtown Phoenix

Adjacent to Downtown Phoenix Central Station. Light Rail Use Strongly Encouraged

RSVP

Space is Limited: Register at http://sustainablecities.asu.edu

More information

If you have any questions, please contact Anne Reichman at anne.reichman@asu.edu or call 480-965-2168.

Sponsors

This event is brought to you by: 

  • Arizona Forestry
  • ASU Global Institute of Sustainability
  • City of Glendale
  • City of Phoenix
  • City of Mesa
  • US Department of Agriculture Forestry Service

Phoenix City Council to Discuss Proposed Water Rate Increase on Wednesday

Main entrance, with fountain.

Flickr photo by sea turtle

Phoenix City Council is taking public comments on the water rates proposal (see below) and will be discussing the issue at 3 pm on Wednesday, February 23rd.

The meeting will be held at City Council Chambers, 200 W Jefferson St.

Proposed Water Rate Increase Overview

[Source: City of Phoenix]

Priority:

To provide safe and reliable drinking water to Phoenix businesses and 2.3 million residents – a critical public health issue.

Need for proposed 7 percent water rate increase:

  • Debt service to repay more than $1 billion in bonds issued in last five years for projects already completed
  • Maintain AAA credit rating, which saves taxpayers money on interest
  • New unfunded, federally mandated requirements

— $200 million – Safe Drinking Water Act
— $15 million per year in related operating expenses

  • Over the last 10 years, for every million gallons of water produced, chemical costs have increased by 493%; electricity costs by 68%; and raw water costs by 41%
  • Proposal increases average water bill by $2.21 per month
  • No increase in wastewater rates; 4.4 percent combined increase

Water Services has instituted significant cost cuts and generated millions in revenues:

  • Reduced water and wastewater capital budgets by $621 million – delaying, reducing and eliminating lower-priority projects
  • Cut operating budget by $10 million; eliminated 25 percent of management position
  • Raised $4.5 million per year by selling reclaimed water to Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station; $30 million region wide over four years
  • Collecting $5 million/year with new late payment fees; sold land assets for $2.1 million
  • Contracting with private sector for bill-payment processing, capital construction, and pipeline repair projects

Water Services employees:

  • 803 employees – just 17 percent of Water Services Department budget is personnel costs
  • Responsible for operating, maintaining and repairing 540-square-mile system, including six water treatment plants, 7,000 miles of pipeline, 50,000 fire hydrants, and customer service needs for 403,000 water accounts
  • Lowest number of employees per capita in 10 years
  • Funding rate increase solely through personnel costs requires cutting approximately one-third of Water’s employees

Comparison to other water providers:

  • Phoenix’s water and  wastewater average family costs are sixth-lowest of 20 largest U.S. cities
  • Phoenix’s rates are third-lowest of 11 large, southwestern cities and lower than most Valley water providers

Costs of not implementing water rate increase:

  • Risk of losing AAA bond rating; leading to higher borrowing costs and larger shortfalls
  • Capital funds for rehabilitation and replacement programs would need to be reduced, which may lead to decreased levels of service, increasing risk of system failures
  • Significantly higher rate increases will be needed in future years to maintain system

Additional information:

The Phoenix City Council will consider the water rates proposal at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, at City Council Chambers, 200 W. Jefferson St.

View a video on water rates

Sustainability Forum at Downtown Phoenix’s Convention Center this Thursday

The Phoenix Convention Center invites you to join then at their Annual Sustainability Forum between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010.

  • Meet and network with local businesses, professionals and industry experts Learn how to implement sustainable practices at your business or home
  • Visit exhibitor booths

This event is free and open to the public!


Discussion topics and exhibits include:

  • Why Local Matters – Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona
  • Green Careers – Dr. George Brooks, Southwest Green Magazine; Phil McNeely, City of Phoenix Office of Environmental Programs; Mark Wilhelm, Green Ideas; Eric Frei, Waxie
  • Power of the Virtuous Cycle: Closing the Loop on Food Waste – Miguel Jardine, Vermisoxx
  • Green Lifestyles – Terry Gellenbeck, City of Phoenix Public Works, Steve Priebe, City of Phoenix Street Transportation, Tishin Donkersley, AZ Green Living Magazine
  • Holiday Menu – Jesus Cibrian, Executive Chef of Aventura Cartering

Details:

Sustainability Forum at the Phoenix Convention Center
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010
West Building Arcade 100 N. Third Street

For more information call Michael Campos at (602) 534-6451

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Downtown Phoenix ASU Building Wins Design Award and Achieves LEED Gold

The Downtown Voices Coalition provided input into final design to improve the building’s shading and create a more open looking building.

[Source: City of Phoenix]

The city-owned Arizona State University College of Nursing & Health Innovation Phase II building (NHI2) recently won the Design-Build Institute of America‘s (DBIA) National Design-Build Award for an Education facility over $25 million, and was one of two buildings, out of hundreds of entries nationwide, to be nominated for the Best Overall Award. In addition, NHI2 has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design New Construction (LEED®-NC) Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council, making it one of just a few LEED®-NC Gold certified buildings in Phoenix.

To be considered for the prestigious DBIA National Design-Build Awards, projects must demonstrate successful application of design-build principles, including collaboration in the early stages of the project and the acceptance of single-entity risk. The project must be completed on time, on budget and without litigation. Winning projects are honored for advanced and innovative application of total Integrated Project Delivery and finding unique solutions to project challenges.

The sustainable LEED®-NC Gold certified building features solar water heating, which harvests Arizona’s abundant renewable energy while reducing the building’s carbon footprint. More than three-quarters of construction waste (967 tons) was diverted from conventional landfills, materials used for the project contained recycled content and 70 percent of all wood products were certified by the Forest Stewardship.

The five-story, 84,000-square-foot, copper-clad urban building, located in downtown Phoenix, creates shade and adds architectural character to an evolving downtown core. It features classrooms, office and administrative space, a 240-seat conference center and a 60-seat computer classroom laboratory.

The NHI2 is part of a collection of seven buildings that thread together a cohesive and identifiable campus environment and is home to one of the largest and most innovative nursing programs in the U.S. The design-build team consisted of DPR Construction and SmithGroup architects.

Media Contacts:

Sina Matthes, City of Phoenix
Terry Olbrysh, Arizona State University
602-534-6648
602-496-0877
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