Reinvent Phoenix

Location: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Project Categories: UrbanismCodes
Year Started: 2013
Size: 7444 acres

As a recipient of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Challenge Grant from the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, the City of Phoenix began Reinvent Phoenix to define a new vision for a more livable and equitable development future in the five TOD districts along the existing Metro light rail corridor.

DPZ completed the design, coding and implementation plan for Reinvent Phoenix during a series of three charrettes, where the design team worked closely with local steering committees, the public, the City of Phoenix Planning and Development Department and other departments, agencies and organizations, as well as the City’s partners, Arizona State University (ASU) and St. Luke’s Health Initiative.

Charrette I Summary: Gateway

Comprising an area of about 2,500 acres, the Gateway plan is ambitious not only in size, but also in complexity. With its mixture of industry, residential neighborhoods, institutions and its adjacency to the Airport, the area provides a range of challenges but also great opportunities. The Team recommends the 44th Street Station be developed as a supportive CBD with lodging and offices around the PHX Sky Train station; the 38th Street Station as an educational, medical, and entrepreneurial hub; the 24th Street station as a cargo-oriented, technology and corporate office hub; and a future 32nd Street Station as a neighborhood-oriented hub.

Gateway offers many options for affordable housing, and a key objective of the plan is to retain a degree of affordability while enhancing neighborhood amenities and quality of life. To that end, the plan offers guidelines to retain a supply of affordable units, while also expanding housing options in a more competitive market environment.

At present mobility within the Gateway district is primarily focused on the use of the automobile. Over the years, streets have been widened and travel lanes added with little space available for other forms of transportation, including walking and biking. The plan establishes a more balanced approach to all forms of mobility. This philosophy is commonly known as “complete streets” and incorporates not only the transportation elements and streetscape detailing, but also integrates sustainable green infrastructure and stormwater mitigation.

Charrette II Summary: Eastlake/Garfield

Eastlake Neighborhood

The Eastlake neighborhood has a rich history as the heart of Phoenix’s African-American community. However, the shifting population and proximity to downtown have impacted the area in both positive and negative ways. Today, there is a new optimism that Eastlake can grow and prosper in a way that is compatible with its history and values.

The existing light rail stop at 12th Street is already having an impact on development, with several proposals for new mixed-use developments in the design phase. The proximity to Downtown and the ASU medical campus make it a desirable location for students and professionals.

As the spiritual center of the African-American community in Phoenix, Eastlake has retained many of its historic churches, which bring families back to the area every Sunday. In addition, some churches have schools and other amenities that function all week long. During the design workshop, the community expressed the desire to entice more families back to live in the area, and to extend the amount of time that outside residents spend patronizing the neighborhood’s restaurants, parks and businesses. The proposed restaurants on Van Buren Street and the produce market on Jackson Street will attract more visitors and potential residents.

Jackson Street has historically been a central market place for wholesale produce, and many of the businesses still remain. To capitalize on this, a companion public market is proposed at the end of 12th street. In addition, its relative separation from residential uses make it suitable for night clubs, shared work spaces and other forms of adaptive reuse.

Garfield Neighborhood

The Garfield neighborhood is home to two historic districts, the Garfield Historic District and the North Garfield Historic District. In addition, the neighborhood also includes an Arts and Cultural zoning overlay, which offers greater zoning flexibility for art-related home businesses. The synergy between the historic architecture and arts culture creates a unique identity for Garfield.

Because the majority of the neighborhood falls within the bounds of the two historic districts, any infill on vacant lots should be compatible in scale and character, and meet the requirements of the historic design guidelines and standards. The conceptual designs depicted in the plans and renderings are of modest scale and simple design.

While the number of vacant lots is limited, there are numerous opportunities for the addition of “granny flats” within the rear yards that are accessible by an alley. Granny flats, which are already permitted by current zoning, add to the supply of affordable housing in the neighborhood and provide additional income for homeowners. There are several locations within Garfield that can become neighborhood nodes, providing needed neighborhood services within walking distance and becoming a natural place for neighbors to meet.

The existing Arts and Culture district is further enhanced by the improved neighborhood nodes, which can function as centers for the arts community, offering additional gallery space and settings for public art.

Charrette III: Midtown/Uptown/Solano

Coming soon.

Charrette Team

As the prime consultant, DPZ lead a team with national and local resources and talent, including: PlaceMakers, LLC; JMA Engineering Corporation; Center for Neighborhood Technology; Charlier Associates, Inc; Sustainable Strategies DC; Gibbs Planning Group; Crabtree Group, Inc.; GIT Consulting, LLC; Dr. Emily Talen; Dr. Nan Ellin; Urban Advantage, Inc., and Ana Gelabert-Sanchez.

Phoenix Gateway District, Phase I. Phoenix Gateway District, Phase II. Phoenix Gateway District, Phase III. Phoenix Gateway District, Phase IV. Phoenix Gateway District, Phase V. Phoenix Gateway District, Phase VI. Existing: 44th Street Sky Train. Mid-Term Development: 44th Street Sky Train. Long-Term Development: 44th Street Sky Train. Existing: 24th Street corridor centered on the First National Bank of Arizona building. 1301-11 Existing: The corner of 24th and Van Buren faces many challenges for redevelopment. The presence of the ASPC (Arizona State Prison Complex) behind a double chain link fence is an aesthetic eyesore, that is only partially improved by the green space visible beyond. Proposed: To “give back” a portionof the green space to the community for a public green and proposed library (or other civic building). The edges of the facility are proposed to be lined with liner buildings (narrow commercial buildings), garden walls and landscaping that would provide a more attractive and functional boundary between the facility and the community. Existing: 40th and Van Buren. Mid-Term: 40th and Van Buren. Long-Term: 40th and Van Buren. Existing: The 32nd Street corridor has the potential to function as a local community “Main Street” anchored at the north end by the Celebrity Theater, proposed park and neighborhood center, and at the south end by the proposed future LRT stop at Washington Street. A “town center” featuring a grocery store, drug store and neighborhood retail are envisioned for the intersection with E Van Buren. Mid-Term: To realize this vision, additional housing is needed in the large vacant lot south of Celebrity Theater and smaller underdeveloped lots east of 32nd Street. In addition, it is imperative that 32nd Street be retrofitted to include parallel parking, reduced travel lanes, and bike lanes. Long-Term: A plaza becomes a neighborhood gathering place in the town center. A gas station is reversed with the pumps in the back so that the retail faces the corner. Neighborhood commercial space wraps the “big box” and brings the pedestrian around to the main entrance creating a suburban/urban hybrid “by box”. Parking is concealed behind the building. Existing: The neighborhood in the vicinity of the Celebrity Theater. The development helps to “repair” the existing neighborhoods by bringing the required density needed to support missing neighborhood services. A proposed park and improvements to 32nd Street become the catalysts for new development. Proposed: 32nd Street as local Main Street, the former Randolph Canal is improved as a greenway connecting the park to the neighborhoods, the “point” that is created by diversion of Fillmore Street becomes a small green and neighborhood center, a mixture of housing types supports affordability, and townhouses line the park. Existing: East Van Buren Street. Phase I: Add bicycle infrastructure. Phase II: Narrow the street proportions and add shade with planters and street trees. Phase III: Add an interior row of shade trees and prepare lots for development. Phase IV: Encourage private reinvestment.

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