Cultivating Change Along Phoenix's Light Rail Corridor
Phoenix, Arizona is infamous for its sprawl, its little stucco boxes, and its dominant car culture. But an ambitious project spearheaded by the City of Phoenix, Arizona State University (ASU), and St. Luke's Health Initiative called Reinvent Phoenix aims to change the way Phoenix's light rail is developed around neighborhoods. The project is funded by a $2.9 million grant from the HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities and is part of the larger Phoenix General Plan update process. As mentioned in my previous article, this project involves visioning by ASU and City of Phoenix planners. The subsequent form-based code will be written by architecture and design firm, DPZ.
The purpose of the form-based code rewrite is to foster a denser, more flexible corridor and encourage transit-oriented developments, or TODs. Some of the anticipated project outcomes include: an increase in public participation in the planning and urban design process, reduced energy consumption (through higher use of transit and denser, more efficient buildings), increased redevelopment of affordable housing, economic development on vacant parcels, improved walkability, and an increase in capacity for equitable development. Dr. Aaron Golub, the grant's principal investigator with ASU, has worked extensively on justice in transportation.
Reinvent Phoenix is the product of a collaborative effort among government officials, academics, public health practitioners, and community members. It should serve as a model for programs around the nation, especially in terms of desired outcomes. For its part, the HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities has become the model of what public housing should strive to become in America; it is a far cry from the Pruitt Igoe disaster of the past.
What innovative housing and development projects have popped up in your city?
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