Blog Archives

Phoenix seeks residents’ input on General Plan revision

[Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — Meetings are taking place citywide to ask citizens what they like about Phoenix, and what they want to change.  The gatherings are the first step in a three-year process aimed at revising the Phoenix General Plan, a document of nearly 500 pages that governs growth and development in the city.  “If you want to have a say in what happens — highways vs. transit, sprawl vs. infill, pollution, parks and open space — then you need to get involved,” said Jim McPherson, a civic activist who has volunteered in the effort.

Carol Johnson, a city planner who is managing the process, said meetings will take place over the rest of the year in connection with local village planning committee meetings.  “We really need to hear from the community about what they want Phoenix to be, and how we can get there,” she said.  “That will define the scope for what we do next.”

Johnson described the general plan as the city’s “long-term guide for the physical manifestation of the city.”  She said development of the revised plan would entail a period of “visioning,” in which ideas and goals are developed, followed by a period of drafting policies and measures, and determining implementation.

The plan could include updated sustainability measures, improved business-development plans, revised historical features, and new benchmarks for infrastructure repairs and upgrades.  In meetings so far, “there is a lot of interest in climate change and the urban heat island,” Johnson said.  “Some people have said the village cores are not working. Others want to see land use and transportation planned in tandem.” She said the plan ultimately would be organized around four subject areas: community, economy, environment and infrastructure.

Catrina Knoebl, a downtown activist, said she expects the process to be worthwhile for the public as well as the city.  “I have found the city absolutely listens to citizens,” she said. “They want to hear what residents have to say.  They are actively reaching out.”  Knoebl said she finds the timing to be advantageous because “we have more people than ever before who are knowledgeable and engaged.”

McPherson agreed the timing is right.  “We have a little bit of breathing room now,” he said.  “With the slowdown caused by the economy, we have some time to do some thinking.” [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix seeks residents’ input on General Plan revision.]

Phoenix high school students learn fundamentals of urban design

As showcased in this know99 television segment, the College of Design at ASU is pioneering a program this summer that gives high school students an exploratory introduction into the art and science of design.  Part hands-on studio and part interactive seminar, the Summer Design Workshop will teach students the fundamentals of design, and how design decisions impact the communities in which we live.

Morrison report examines Arizona’s “megapolitan”

[Source: Morrison Institute, Arizona State University] — Arizona is one of the nation’s most urban states, and now it includes one of 20 “megapolitan” areas in the U.S.  People have predicted for 50 years that Phoenix and Tucson would grow together into a giant desert conglomerate — a possibility that has been seen as exciting, intriguing, and distressing.  While a solid city is unlikely given the diverse land ownership in central and southern Arizona, it is true that the two metro economies are merging.

Morrison Institute’s new report “Megapolitan: Arizona’s Sun Corridor,” one of the first reports in the U.S. on a single megapolitan area, recognizes a more sophisticated technique for analyzing urban growth — that shared economic and quality of life interests are more important than physically growing together.  The report offers a bold potential picture of Arizona’s urban geography, its future opportunities, and “megaton” challenges.  Just released and available online, it presents a scenario for 2035 based on some current trends.  It analyzes the Sun Corridor and provides insights into the region’s global potential, water, governance, sustainability, and “trillion dollar questions.”  It discusses the “tragedy of the sunshine” and asks the provocative question:  In 2035, will you want to live in the Sun Corridor?

Project for Livable Communities promotes good design

The Project for Livable Communities (PLC) is a nonprofit organization headquartered in metropolitan Phoenix; membership includes professionals in urban design, public health, physical activity, education, and journalism.  Founded in 2005, PLC fosters livable communities by addressing three major community components of the environments in which we live and work — Healthy Design, Safe Design, and Sustainable Design -– and focusing on the best practices of each.

For more information, contact M.H. Brennan: