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
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.
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
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.