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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

First Friday Picks in Downtown Phoenix

[Source: PHXated.com]

Tomorrow is First Friday once again, and while the Phoestival street fair remains on hiatus, there is still a lot going on around downtown Phoenix:

After Hours Gallery

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You all remember the Haiti Earthquake disaster and the resulting devastation. Photographer Rodney Rascona was there on the scene and he’s brought back some amazing images — both heart breaking and inspirational.

The show is called THE PINK DOOR PHOTOGRAPHS. You’ll be moved by these personal and uplifting images that capture the incredible spirit of the Haiti people.

These are contrasted in the same show with EVELYN’S STORY — a visual portrait of a surviving mother and her children, on the streets, in one 24-hour period.

PLUS, this amazing series of photos was selected a winner of the 2010 International Photographer Awards in the Deeper Perspectives category. Only 3 out of 15,000 submissions earned this recognition — and when you see the show, you’ll see why.


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Kitchen Sink Studios

The crew from Kitchen Sink Studioswill be featuring the work of local artist Kathy Taylor in their gallery space. And to help you keep cool, they’ll be selling old time sodas from the Soda Pop Shop for a small donation to our gallery. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. KSS is located just a block south of Roosevelt on Third Street.


Coe House

The cool cats at Coe House be hanging out all night with tunes by DJ MoLo and Bryan Mok & Chanelle Richardson (aka The Epileptic Photographers). Artwork by Jon Ashcroft and photos by Jason Garcia will be hanging on the walls. They’ll have a few things to sip, but feel free to bring your own to throw in the fridge or cooler. Stop by Cibo or Local Breeze just up the block for some good grub before heading over!

Curious how to get to Coe House (365 N 4th Ave)? If you’re light railing, it’s 4 blocks west of the Van Buren station. Driving? Parking is available along 4th Avenue (some spots are metered until 8 pm).


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26 Blocks at A.E. England

For the month of September the traveling exhibition 26 Blocks will be exhibited at the Artlink A. E. England Gallery. 26 Blocks is an art project that celebrates downtown Phoenix.

26 of metropolitan Phoenix’s most talented writers were paired with 26 of the City’s most celebrated photographers. Each pair collaborated to create their interpretation of one of 26 randomly selected city blocks in the downtown Phoenix area.

At a time when Arizona and Phoenix are in the national spotlight and our City is often portrayed as a hostile community facing boycotts from other cities and states, 26 Blocks promotes Phoenix in a highly positive way that encourages everyone to look at our incredible home from very different perspectives.


SuTRA Midtown Yoga – District Gallery

Sometimes We Cock Our Heads to The Side So They Think We Have Secrets to Tell is a series inspired by words never said. It focuses on the dreams, desires, and feelings that we let go of in order to maintain a well-crafted persona and the transparency of secrets for those who take the time to look.

Morgan McNally is a mixed media artist based out of Phoenix, Arizona. A former design student currently pursuing a BA in Museum Studies with a minor in painting, she has held residence at holgas and The Firehouse artist cooperatives, and is currently living and working out of her Garfield District studio.

Enjoy a LIVE ACOUSTIC SET by Grace Bolyard.

SuTRA Midtown Yoga – District Gallery is located at 2317 N. 7th Street


The Red Dress Tour (Caminando de Rojo)

38758_147630978581020_145624538781664_478967_6344421_nLocal performance artists Kara Roschi and Ernesto Moncada present The Red Dress Tours (Caminando de Rojo): a series of free artist-led tours taking place in downtown Phoenix arts districts over three consecutive First Fridays beginning in September.

September’s tour will focus on the Roosevelt District, staring from the The Firehouse Gallery at 1015 N 1st St.

These bilingual tours aim to promote the idea of a walkable and connected downtown while introducing participants to their local arts community. And remember, wear something red!

More details here.

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Downtown Voices Coalition reviews its past, looks to the future

On Saturday, January 16, over 75 individuals interested and involved in downtown Phoenix participated in the Downtown Voices Coalition “Moving Forward” strategic planning session at the historic A.E. England Building.  The information and ideas garnered from the group will help Downtown Voices update its August 2004 report, “Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown,” and prioritize issues and projects for the future.  The information will also be useful for others (individually or organizationally) to review and use in their own efforts to improve downtown Phoenix.  Stay tuned for details.  At any time, you’re welcome to communicate your questions, comments, concerns, and ideas via e-mail, or by attending Downtown Voices’ monthly meetings.

The Downtown Voices Steering Committee sincerely thanks the following individuals and organizations for sponsoring this event.

  • Arizona Preservation Foundation
  • Arizona State University
  • Butler Housing/Roosevelt Commons
  • Candid Landscapes
  • City of Phoenix
  • Downtown Phoenix Journal
  • Fair Trade Coffee
  • Fresh Gourmet to Go
  • Get Consensus, LLC
  • Habitat Metro
  • Impact Printing
  • Kooky Krafts Shop
  • Local First Arizona
  • John Saccoman
  • Matthew Tomb

Thanks also to Suad Mahmuljin for taking photos of the day’s activities.

In case you missed it: Downtown Voices Visioning Conference welcome address

Below is the transcript of Steve Weiss’ welcome address at the opening of the Downtown Voices Coalition’s Visioning Conference on January 15, 2010 at the Matador Mexican Restaurant.

Good evening and welcome to the pre-event for tomorrow’s Downtown Voices Coalition Visioning Conference.

You know, Downtown Voices was formed in a place just like this.  As a matter of fact, if the Matador bar wanted to, they could create a new drink called the DVC.  All you need is a shot of good tequila and a signature on an article of incorporation!

What some may not realize is that Downtown Voices Coalition was the culmination of a chain of events that began with a move to bring a pro football stadium to downtown.  As the art folks and small business owners got wind of the plan, they felt their work to make a new and interesting arts district was going to suffer with a giant stadium plunked in its center.  Though the protests didn’t stop the demolition and razing of the Evans Churchill neighborhood by speculators and the City, it did manage to shine a light on the project, and successfully persuade the city officials to put the idea aside.

For the first time, artists and small business folks started talking to each other.  Then, the Jerde Project, a big box mall development, was floated as another direction for downtown.  Ideas were being discussed for another ASU campus, and suddenly the University began as a player in the fate of the downtown community.  The fledgling organization known as D-PAC, the Downtown Phoenix Arts Coalition, felt now was the time to get the other voices heard, ones that didn’t have political power or an outstretched hand looking for tax incentives and variances.

The result was an event singular in the City’s history: A one-day facilitated discussion at the Icehouse of over 80 downtown stakeholders, to determine what WE as a group wanted for the future of downtown Phoenix.  The resulting report created from the discussion was titled Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown.” It was not only presented to the City of Phoenix, but also found its way into many of the aspects of the newly created Downtown Strategic Plan.

On that day, when we all met and talked, new relationships were formed.

Artists, business owners, developers and, yes, even city officials began to realize that the ultimate goal of the downtown stakeholders were actually very similar.

However, as the dust began to settle from the good work done, development projects in once untouched and unwanted areas began to rise.  We as stakeholders learned how zoning by variance and self-imposed hardships could dramatically change the development rulebook.

A key group of stakeholders, coming from different backgrounds yet tied together with similar concerns, realized it would be beneficial to speak with one voice, the voice of what became the Downtown Voices Coalition.  We met with a lawyer at the old Ramada Inn downtown bar, and with a toast, began our first mission and organization.

Negotiating a better project for The Summit at Copper Square became our first test, and as we created our organization’s bylaws and elected officers, we found direction from that initial Downtown Voices document.

It was a boom time, and it seemed many times we were playing Whack-A-Mole, that great carnival game where hitting one pop-up mole only made another rise.  We found ourselves as a group both welcomed and disparaged.  The tactics of “Agitate, Negotiate and, when all else fails, Litigate” brought us through a series of events with many successes and some sad losses.

A Tibetan Buddhist Lama, whom when asked at a conference the definition Buddhism, replied “Divine Common Sense.”

It is regular old common sense that drives our group, and something else just as tangible.  Dr. Howard Cutler has worked with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to write three books, The Art of Happiness, The Art of Happiness at Work, and The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World. In each book, the over-arching view expressed that people as a common goal ultimately desire happiness above all else.

As I’ve worked with this group of fellow DVC members, I’ve come to realize that each member seeks the same thing: Happiness in their lives and in their community.  There isn’t one member of DVC who wouldn’t want happiness above all other things.  The desire is a better place to live, a better place to create sustainable businesses, and a genuine dedication to staying here and making it a great city for all of us.

An example of how different this sentiment can be expressed was in one particular issue, when a proposed out of scale development’s lawyer declared in front of City Council that he’d “never dealt with people who didn’t want to raise their property values.”

The truth is, we represent people who aren’t moving toward the next buck or the next city, to which it’s more important to raise living values than financial values.

Since 2004, new blood with new ideas have entered the downtown picture.  Individuals are drawn to the small-town feel of the 5th Largest City in the Nation, great small businesses have enhanced neighborhoods, partners have been found in thoughtful development, and the ASU Downtown campus is showing signs of like-minded goals for that sustainable, cool, and enhanced downtown where we all will happily live, work, and recreate.

In these circumstances of a down-turned economy, it seems appropriate to take a breath, reflect a bit on the past, but, most important, look forward.

  • What is the City that we hope for?
  • What have we achieved and what can we improve?
  • How can we get more voices to speak as Downtown Voices so that together we can create that happiness we all desire?

These are tomorrow’s questions, and the facilitated discussion we begin at 10 am at the A.E. England building at OUR Downtown Civic Space will help to provide some answers.

Tonight we reflect, remember old battles, good friends, vocal and silent partners.  Tomorrow we begin anew and renewed, with new ideas and voices, to create a better Phoenix.

I toast the future.  To the city of Phoenix!

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.]

Preserving history in downtown Phoenix

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Downtown Phoenix's Civic Space Park (Photo: Tony Arranaga)

[Source: Tony Arranaga, Light Rail Blogger] — Downtown Phoenix reminds me of a puzzle.  Over the last several weeks, and in various parts of the city, I’ve noticed a new piece being added to the bigger picture of a vibrant urban core.  I told you about the Phoenix Public Market opening soon, and earlier tonight there was a dedication of the A.E. England Building at the Civic Space Park.  Si Robins gave us a preview of the festivities in the Downtown Phoenix Journal.  The building has an interesting past as Seth Anderson, an Arizona native, points out in his blog:

The building was built in 1926 in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style and was used as a Hudson and Essex auto dealership.  The large windows displayed the cars and it became Phoenix’s first “auto row.”  In the 1930s the building was sold to the Electrical Equipment Company.  They sold radios, batteries, and refrigerators up until the 1950s.  It changed hands numerous times and fell into disrepair and abuse until 2005 when it was purchased by the City of Phoenix to be integrated into the new Civic Space Park.

Tonight was the first chance the public had to see the inside of the England building – which has Central Station as its neighbor on the south and ASU’s Cronkite building to the east.  I pass the old brick landmark during my carfree travels on the lightrail, but this is the first time I’ve seen the inside.

The city of Phoenix did a great job restoring the building and making it functional for public use.  A window encased mezzanine wraps around a huge conference hall at the center of the building.  Outside the building there’s the Civic Space Park stage and grass area and of course the public art display “Her Secret is Patience.”  Did I mention the England has a basement which contains the second location for local coffee house Fair Trade Cafe?  I unlocked my bike to go home and noticed all the people enjoying the weather at the park.  Phoenix has a centerpiece and I love it!  [Note: Read more of Tony’s light rail blog entries here.]

Fair Trade Cafe opens at downtown Phoenix Civic Space Park

A.E. England Building, site of new Fair Trade Cafe (Photo source: Jane's Walk Phoenix)

[Source: City of Phoenix] — The historic A.E. England Building in downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space Park is celebrating the grand opening of its anchor tenant, Fair Trade Café.  Civic Space Park, nestled into 2.77 acres at 424 N. Central Ave., offers residents, workers, ASU students, and downtown visitors a park with unique urban design, sustainable construction, adaptive reuse, and operational features, and a landmark public sculpture by artist Janet Echelman.

Fair Trade Café is located on the ground floor of the historic A.E. England building, named after the 1926 business formerly housed there. Fair Trade will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.  In addition to its storefront retail and food options, the building has space available for meetings, presentations, small banquets, art events, and classes.  For more information about the park and space availability, click here.

Fair Trade Cafe opens up second downtown Phoenix spot, Aug. 21

[Source: Downtown Phoenix Journal] — On Friday, August 21, Fair Trade Café will open its second location in downtown Phoenix, and the video above gives you a sneak peak on last minute construction work.  Their grand opening coincides with the public open house of the restored 1926 A.E. England Motor Car Company building at the Downtown Phoenix Civic Space Park.  All are welcome to attend the festivities, hosted by the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, from 6 to 9 p.m.  Highlights include live music, building tours, vintage cars, and (of course) coffee and other menu items.

The building’s restoration and overall park development were funded, in part, by the 2006 City of Phoenix Bond Program, overwhelmingly approved by Phoenix voters.

Viewpoint: Dark Knight, bright day for downtown Phoenix

dark-knight-poster[Source: Life in Downtown Phoenix blog] — On a perfect April night last week, you could see things all starting to come together for downtown Phoenix.   On the surface, it was merely a couple hundred people taking in a free movie in a park.  But when put in perspective, the screening of The Dark Knight put on by ASU students for a class project was a huge moment that illustrated how far downtown Phoenix has come.

The movie screen was in the center of a juxtaposition of downtown Phoenix’s old and new.  The screen sat in front of the newly-restored 1926 A.E. England Building, flanked on its left by the “Her Secret is Patience” sculpture (also referred to by many more colloquially as the “Jellyfish”) and on the right by the very bright lights of the new Central Park East high rise.  Moviegoers were pleasantly distracted by the light rail trains that both in front and behind them as well as the news zipper scrolling along on the ASU journalism building.  And of course, beneath the movie patrons was the brand-new Downtown Phoenix Civic Space, a 2.77-acre gem of a park that just opened.

An even more positive sign was the crowd that came to watch the movie.  Not only did the turnout exceed expectations (with minimal publicity, organizers expected 60-75 attendees and then at least 250 showed up), but it was a crazy blend of people: old and young, all races, ASU students, high-rise condo dwellers, and homeless people. And as far as I could tell, everyone enjoyed themselves.

I’ve been critical of ASU in the past.  Its administrators descended on downtown and acted like they owned the place — let’s not forget they wanted to tear down the A.E. England Building they’re now patting themselves on the back for saving — and at first its students publicly bashed their new environment instead of trying to go out and change it for the better.  However, on this night ASU’s students had a very positive effect on downtown with their ingenious, well-run program to activate the new park.  This event showed the promise the university’s presence can have for downtown.

wallejpgAs the event ended, people were overheard saying what a great event it was, how they couldn’t believe it took place downtown, and how they’d be back (WALL-E will run this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.). Hopefully this is the start of a new tradition that can take its place alongside First Fridays and Suns games as a constant in downtown life.  But even if it doesn’t, it was enough to illustrate to everyone there that there is at last a burgeoning urban center in the giant megalopolis.

Apparently, while no one was looking, downtown Phoenix came to life.

Viewpoint: Downtown park’s details, sculpture a nod to Phoenix’s future

[Source: Arizona Republic] — A gigantic swirl of metal mesh floats in the sky, rising nearly 100 feet into the air. Designed by artist Janet Echelman, the sculpture has the evocative name, “Her Secret is Patience.”

The sight is all the more amazing because it almost never happened.

In the midst of questions about construction schedules, doubts about materials and controversy over the design, Phoenix City Council members resisted efforts to take the sculpture off their agenda.   They had the foresight to say yes.

Now, we can see just how right they were.

Yes.  This is just what Phoenix needs: a distinctive feature that helps create a real sense of place.

At night, the lighting creates a surreal funnel of color.

What you might overlook are all the other creative features in the park, from paving to solar panels.  In the long run, they can be as significant as the sculpture in shaping the identity of the city — and the region.

The walkways include pervious concrete and pavers, which will let our precious rainfall seep through to the ground.

While it’s not obvious yet, the trees and plants are designed to shade more than 70 percent of the park’s surface area once they reach maturity.   Phoenix has long needed more attention to ways of dealing with a dual challenge: the natural heat of the desert and the unnatural buildup of heat from urbanization.

City trees face special stresses here.   Those in the park are planted with a special soil to let roots grow and a grating system to let in air and water.

The park, which goes by the temporary name of Downtown Civic Space, is also a step forward in boosting Phoenix’s use of solar power.   The shade structures have solar panels that will generate enough power to offset the energy use at the park.

In such a relatively new city, a nod to history is critical, too.   The historic A.E. England building has been preserved and is under renovation as a space for community functions, classrooms, retail, and dining.

And here’s a shocker — there are no parking spaces.  Light rail and bus stops are nearby. Residents, students, workers and visitors can walk.   It’s a nudge toward a less car-dependent future.

The park just has one lingering question: a name.  The current drab moniker is a placeholder.  The city is hoping a benefactor will step forward to support the new park, just as the Steele Foundation helped pay for building Steele Indian School Park.

Some individual or organization should be eager to grab this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.   On the other hand, the economy is still weak.  In this case, maybe the secret is patience.   [Note: To read the full article, click here.]