Community Building

Description: Community building is about enhancing the health and well being of downtown Phoenix through bringing people together to leverage existing assets.  We have seen many improvements over the last five years and there are many strengths and opportunities upon which to build:

  • ASU and Public Allies
  • City e-mail list
  • Farmer’s Market and store
  • Great climate and natural landscape
  • Light rail
  • Lots of talent, energy, optimism
  • Lowest crime rate in city, safe
  • Many empty lots for new uses (temporary or permanent)
  • New Civic Space
  • Nice building stock for adaptive reuse
  • Some great restaurants and coffee houses
  • Strong neighborhoods
  • Variety of local independent businesses (and Local First Arizona)
  • Vital arts and culture (and Roosevelt Row, Artlink)
  • Youth of city with many opportunities to grow and change

Also, the economic downturn offers an opportunity for leveraging these assets in a way that is community-determined and brings soul in to the city.

Top Three Challenges

  1. Fragmentation of organizations involved in downtown revitalization ~ Territoriality of these organizations
  2. Lack of awareness about all going on ~ Lack of participation in existing activities
  3. Lack of diversity of participation (inclusivity) ~ Perception of insecurity in downtown

Possible Solutions

  • Perception: To change inaccurate perceptions, enhance communications to raise awareness through collaboration among media and the various organizations.
  • Reality: To change reality and instill more pride (individual, neighborhood, and city): Actual change that can be seen/experienced (not more branding!).  Examples of actual changes/enhancements: (1) Electronic billboards on light rail and kiosks throughout downtown to enhance communication; (2) Free events such as Jane’s Walk, Busking, Street festivals and art walks, “Sunday on Central” (close Central Avenue to cars); Movies in the Park, Music/Concerts; (3) Places for Gathering: Make use of parks a priority (Margaret T. Hance, Civic Space, Encanto, Steele Indian School), Street Vending and Street Cafes (small portable cafes); (4) Create the Connected Oasis: authentic public spaces including trees and shade structures along streets, fine-grained fabric of street-level shops (locally and nationally owned), sidewalk vibrancy, and regulatory practices to enable this.
  • Celebrate our successes, instead of only bemoaning our deficits.
  • How to make this happen?  Empower youth (YMCA, Libraries, Teach for America, Youth Commissions, etc.) and involve ASU (Public Allies, Sustainability, Planning, etc.), NGOs, City of Phoenix, DPP including their Ambassadors, PCA, and Arizona Republic à DVC as glue, coordinator, facilitation cross-pollination through being a welcome clearinghouse for all to be heard, providing a system of accountability, and hosting gatherings.

Go to Design Guidelines >>

Note: Community Building was a new, stand-alone downtown Phoenix issue identified in 2010.  There were no notes taken in 2004 under this issue category.

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