©2019 by The Urban Phoenix Project

Principles

1. The 8-to-80 City

From parks to streets to housing types, downtown should implement 8-to-80 design, meaning we should design such that eight-year-olds and eighty-year-olds are both able to function safely and independently in our downtown.

2. Shade Required

Downtown Phoenix is not viable without shade, and trees are the best form of shade for multiple reasons.  Heat should further be mitigated through intentional design and material choices.

3. Frequent Public Parks

Public green space, generally in the form of a public park, must always be within a 5-minute walk.  (i.e. not further than 1300 feet or 3 blocks)  These parks need not be large, but should be varied in type and should have public restrooms.

4. Eyes on the Street

"Eyes on the street" are critical for comfortable streets.  This is achieved by having frequent doors (to different uses) and windows on every floor.

5. Prioritize the Pedestrian Realm

The pedestrian realm must be pleasant, convenient, and comfortable.  One aspect of this is that it must therefore be direct and free of obstacles.  Some infrastructure can be placed in the landscaping zone (e.g. fire hydrants, trees, light poles, bike racks, etc), but utility boxes should be underground or tucked into alleys.

6. Design Slow Streets

Streets should be designed to force cars to drive slowly and to maximize the space allocated to people on bikes and on foot.  Places are either easy to drive through, or desirable to be in -- they cannot be both.

7. Protected Bike Lanes Everywhere

Bicycling must become a significant mode.  It can, but only with protected bike lanes because the majority of people will not bike in unprotected lanes.

8. Supporting Bicycle Infrastructure

The biking experience must be ubiquitous, convenient, comfortable, and feel safe.  Bicycle parking should be plentiful, visible, and standardized.  Bikeshare should be supported and encouraged.  Etc.  This includes policy support for people on bikes (e.g. the Idaho Stop).

9. Attractive Transit

Effective transit is the transportation backbone of a strong downtown and frequencies are paramount to effective transit.  LRT headways should be less than 10 minutes and bus headways should be less than 15 minutes.  BRT should be IADP Gold.

10. Density is Good

A city cannot be walkable without density.  Residential and office density is what provides the economic support for dense retail.  Dense retail is what lays the foundation for walkability by reducing distances between destinations.

11. Mixed Primary Uses

For streets to be vibrant and for retail to succeed, people are needed through as many hours of the day as possible.  This requires a tight mix of primary uses (residential, office, hotel, museums, etc) to maintain activity throughout the day.

12. Fine-Grained Development

Vibrant streets require fine-grained development.  This is defined by varied architectures and frequent access points for separate users along a single block.

13. Aged Building Stock

Healthy cities have a diverse mix of old and new buildings in order to offer affordability and architectural diversity.

14. Short Blocks

Blocks should be short to give people a permeable, walkable environment.  This means streets should never be abandoned, and abandoned streets should be reclaimed.

15. Preserve Alleys

Utilities and back-of-house functions must be kept off the street.  Alleys therefore become the utilitarian workhorses of cities and must be preserved as the public asset that they are.  Where alleys have been lost, they should be reclaimed.

16. Minimize Off-Street Parking

Off-street parking is a poison to urban areas.  Parking minimums must be eliminated and emphasis should be put on discouraging off-street parking.  Surface parking should be eliminated, residential parking should be unbundled, and office parking should be tied to cashout programs.  Any new garages built should be designed to be convertible to other uses for when autonomous vehicles make urban parking obsolete.

17. Maximize On-Street Parking

On-street parallel parking should be maximized where it can co-exist with pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and it should be priced to achieve ~85% utilization.

18. The Civic Plaza

Beyond parks, a great downtown must have a great civic plaza with a focal point and surrounded by active uses.

19. Keep Public Space Public

The public realm must not be privatized.

20. Fiscal Imperative

Density and walkability are the only fiscally sustainable ways to design a city.  All other forms of development are a burden on municipal finances.

21. Pursue Best Practices

Urban planning and design should stay abreast of and leverage best known practices and the most recent research in the field.