Author Archive

April 23 2015

Nature as the Textbook: A Review of Nelson’s Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms

April 23rd, 2015Posted by 

“By suggestion and example, I believe children can be helped to hear the many voices about them. Take time to listen and talk about the voices of the earth and what they mean—the majestic voice of thunder, the winds, the sound of surf or flowing streams.” -Rachel Carson Take a moment and consider the instances […]

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April 29 2014

Farewell to The Grid, from Lynn Coppedge in Phoenix, Arizona

April 29th, 2014Posted by 

From libraries to light rail, my experience writing for The Grid has allowed me to explore and share exciting urban initiatives in Phoenix, Arizona. The desert city faces a number of sustainability challenges and it has been inspiring to see community leaders from all walks of life come together to develop solutions. During my six-month […]

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April 15 2014

Today’s Urban Encyclopedia: “The American City: What Works, What Doesn’t”

April 15th, 2014Posted by 

As cities grow and redevelop, community leaders are constantly imagining new ideas to improve their businesses and neighborhoods. But who is keeping track of all these new sustainability programs, zoning policies, and preservation programs? Evaluating past and existing practices can help avoid repeated mistakes and spur innovative partnerships. However, the volume and diversity of urban […]

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April 01 2014

The Image of a Grid: Creating a Mental Map of Phoenix, Arizona

April 1st, 2014Posted by 

If you were asked to get out a pencil and paper and draw your city, what would you include? Maybe a few major roads, a downtown district, a large lake? If the result is a coherent map with connected features, you probably live in an “imageable” city. The concept of imageability was introduced by Kevin […]

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March 18 2014

PHX Sky Train: Private Investment Turns into a Public Good in Phoenix, Arizona

March 18th, 2014Posted by 

The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is fast approaching the one-year anniversary of its automated train system, the PHX Sky Train, a free automated train that connects travellers from the main terminal to parking and light rail. After nearly two decades worth of planning and over 200 community events, Stage 1 of the PHX Sky […]

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March 04 2014

Tapping into a New Market: Affordable Housing in Phoenix, Arizona

March 4th, 2014Posted by 

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “affordable housing?” Crime, low property values, poor design? These negative connotations cause many cities and private developers to approach affordable housing projects with excessive caution, leaving many opportunities untouched. Despite government incentives, such as federal grants and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, there is still an enormous […]

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February 18 2014

In Arizona, Smart Growth Means the Need for Smart Transportation

February 18th, 2014Posted by 

Since the 1960’s, Arizona has led the country in growth, remaining one of the top three states with the highest population and employment growth rates. However, when the housing market crashed in 2007, growth slowed tremendously, giving the state an opportunity to reflect on how it handled the last fifty years. As of 2011, 129,780 […]

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February 04 2014

The Alexandria Co-Working Network: Libraries as Spaces for Community Innovation

February 4th, 2014Posted by 

Libraries are no longer limited to bookshelves and computer catalogs, but have transformed into places for children’s theater, farmers markets, community porches, and many other creative uses. Common built-in advantages of libraries include public accessibility, meeting rooms, internet access, and, of course, books! These features position public libraries as prime centers for social gatherings and […]

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January 21 2014

A Foundation for Rebranding: Light Rail Transit in Phoenix

January 21st, 2014Posted by 

In its continual search to be known for something other than its scorching temperatures, the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, also referred to as the Valley, has undertaken many ambitious projects. New resorts and golf courses are continuously being constructed to establish the region as a vacation and retirement destination. Several cities in the region have even […]

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January 14 2014

Experiencing Streets, Parks, and Plazas: A Review for “How to Study Public Life”

January 14th, 2014Posted by 

As cities compete to attract new residents and businesses, the importance of vibrant public spaces is undeniable. Organizations like Project for Public Spaces and The Better Block have demonstrated that when communities invest in their streets, parks, and plazas, the rewards are tremendous. But what makes a good public space? How does one understand the […]

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December 24 2013

Unexpected Champions in Phoenix’s Fight for Shade

December 24th, 2013Posted by 

When it comes to shade tree coverage in Phoenix, Arizona, the city has been fighting an uphill battle. In a region potentially facing a 5 to 8ºF temperature increase in upcoming decades, vegetative shade is a critical amenity, but covers less than 13% of the city’s ground area. Phoenix is currently losing its trees at […]

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December 10 2013

Reimagine Phoenix: Boosting the Economy with Trash

December 10th, 2013Posted by 

Phoenicians have been searching high and low for a new identity to give to their sprawling Bird on Fire, branded by Andrew Ross in 2011 as the “World’s Least Sustainable City.” Last year, the City of Phoenix, Arizona State University (ASU), and St. Luke’s Health Initiative decided it was time to Reinvent Phoenix through transit-oriented […]

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November 26 2013

Phoenix Catches a Ride on the Walking School Bus

November 26th, 2013Posted by 

A Walking School Bus seems a little counter-intuitive at first glance, but it may be one of the most effective ways for cities, like Phoenix, Arizona, to spread awareness about walkable neighborhoods. With a group of kids, a couple of community volunteers, and a safe route to school, communities can reshape the next generation’s view […]

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November 12 2013

Greening Lower Grand Avenue: Community Visioning Gone Right

November 12th, 2013Posted by 

In a city infamous for auto-oriented development, muddled identity, and isolated suburbs, one neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona has epitomized what it means to spark community revitalization. Lower Grand Avenue is a mile-long corridor adjacent to the city’s downtown. Like most of the urban core, the neighborhood has a long history of disinvestment; however, in the […]

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