Screen shot 2015-08-26 at 12.14.06 PMThis the latest and 4th student Infill housing project under construction at the north-west corner of the university, bringing the bed count at this location to over 2000 higher end luxury student bedroom rentals.  Construction of six-story complex to be complete by fall 2016.  The Hub-2 is the smallest and half the height of the previous 3 towers.  Please view the link in the Arizona Daily Star:  Hub high-rise getting smaller companion near UA


Peach PropertiesMuch is still planned to happen downtown.  The latest subject for development are proposals by Peach Property and The Alexander Company.  The Peach proposal shown here is modern and more attractive, but destroys the beautiful tile adorned arcade that Melody Peters did back the 80’s.  It is built from bricks that came out of the old Tucson Livery Building that Steve Leal lobbied to save back in his ponytail days.  He managed to save the bricks.  You can view both proposasl in the the links below.  The PDF’s are large so allow some time.   Peach Proposal (PDF): Peach   / Alexander Proposal (PDF):  Alexander / Daily Star Article:  Hotel, homes, stores: Developers reveal downtown Tucson proposals.

Screen shot 2015-04-12 at 9.13.47 PMGas, is $2.03 a gallon and the Broadway Corridor moves into design development with no bus lanes. The Mayor and Council appointed, Broadway Corridor Task Force (CTF), recommended 6 lanes, two of which shall be for transit.  What is wrong with this picture.  Why have a CTF?  RTA officials explain it away saying its a  misunderstanding of sorts, depending on who you talk to.  Next City provides daily online coverage of the leaders, policies and innovations driving progress in metropolitan regions across the world.  Tucson Bus Rider’s Union, Suzanne, found this article in their online publication that talks about one of Tucson’s premier arterials; the Broadway Corridor.  It puts a perspective on the topic:  Tucson and the Case of the Missing Bus Lanes – Next City.

Screen shot 2013-09-26 at 12.18.11 AMSTREETSBLOG USA raps up the results of more than 2 years of debate over the stretch along Broadway from Euclid to Country Club in a poignant editorial called Pima County Holds Better Sidewalks Hostage to Get a Road Expansion.  Many should agree with the gist of this conclusion.  Broadway’s 2nd to last bottleneck settles for 6 lanes at a political and cultural cost.  The last bottleneck is the snarly entrance into downtown. Yes, we are stuck with that. Sunshine Mile RIP.  Like many important cultural attributes of Tucson heritage, what perpetuates cultural losses to new development is a lack of community design engagement.  Many things could have happened on the Sunshine Mile, but the resolve to engage was not a factor in the outcome.   Not even a 2 1/2 year task force protocol can overcome having its creative juices drained by  abasing civic duty and hidden agendas.  Read the article for a quick summary of what we have moving forward with somewhat of a blank slate.

city hallTRRG, Tucson Residents for Responsive Government, set sail in May of 2013 to focus entirely on process in Tucson from the perspective of the people who live here.  It is a grassroots organization that responded to years of failed process.  A big part of TRRG’s philosophy is to doggedly remain focused process building between residents and their government.  That notion promises success as TRRG looks to be a powerful influence in elevating dialogue between our government and those it serves.  It starts with understanding what that is.   This Saturday, 9/27/14, from 1:00 – 4:00 PM, TRRG is facilitating a free education forum at the Ward 6 Council Office, 3202 E. 1st Street.  Acting City Manager, Martha Durkin is a special guest.  The forum is in two parts;  1) The City Charter and 2) The City Manager’s Office.  All are invited encouraged to intend.  

InfillPermitting Infill and adaptive reuse projects in the core of Tucson usually means justifying a new use entitlement in areas that are older and filled with hurdles that smaller initiatives can not clear easily; often not at all.   As neighborhoods force the City to re-examine friendlier policies on incentives in the GIID (Greater Infill Incentive District), It doesn’t promise to get easier.  Developers know that early non-committal  feedback can be derived Tuesday afternoons in a pre-submittal meeting with core planning reviewers.  How big would it be to elevate this service to a more integrative and committed process for all building and development issues; starting core infill and adaptive reuse.  The City Manager’s Office, Jame’s McAdam, is looking at aspects of infill development as we speak, probing issues with planning and the economics initiatives office and PDSD.  I forwarded a proposal before this initiative began with the idea of to seeding some examination of permitting and entitlement for smaller infill projects in the core.  See what you think about this process oriented proposal.  View.  Integrative Permitting and Entitlement

I’d like to quote my friend,  David Eisenberg,  “We need regulations that respond to particular places and recognize the possibility of good news-that if done in a deeply integrated and caring way, development can enhance and even help restore and regenerate damaged places”  I would add to regulations, the notion of mindsets and policies

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The second of Drachman Institute’s 3-part series of transit-related talks took place Friday, August 15th at the Drachman Center, 44 N. Stone Ave., Tucson.  The event started with definitions of  what TOD (Transit Oriented Development) means and how to support density & diversity.   The streetcar is a start, but sustainability of that success has to be larger network with the right development.  In a related post, Jarrett Walker & Associates calls this economic zone  our network map for high frequency transit routes.  The challenge will be reasons to invest.  Kelly Iitzen talked about demographic survey analysis.  Laura Jensen explained GIS mapping of  base demographic regions, zoning areas, bus routes and an array of other data overlays.   Jacob Bintliff from the San Fransisco Firm,  BAE Urban Economics put it together with recommendations for strategic investment planning. Continue Reading »