A Phoenix Suburb Wrestles With How Urban to Become

The city of Avondale approved a walkable, urban vision for its City Center Plan in 2008, but those grand ambitions haven't yet recovered from the Great Recession.

November 5, 2018, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


sevenMaps7 / Shutterstock

Derek Hall reports from the city of Avondale, with is considering amending the City Center Plan it adopted in 2008 to allow the development of "drive-thrus and big-box grocery stores with attached gas stations" in a corner of the city once envisioned as a "more walkable, more urban" city center to set itself apart from other suburbs in the region.

Scottsdale-based developer Empire Group owns 34 acres in the City Center Plan area, however, and it wants to amend the plan to allow for its more typically suburban designs.

The developments allowed by the 2008 City Center Plan has been slow to materialize, according to Hall. "A hotel is under construction east of Avondale Boulevard, which also has a city sports complex, city transit center and several restaurants and shops. However, there's been no development in City Center west of Avondale Boulevard during the past 10 years."

With Empire's deal on the table, even after numerous delays, the city of Avondale is reconsidering its aspirations. Some are tired of waiting for developments to materialize, and think the city should welcome the investment from Empire. Other in the city aren't ready to abandon the vision of the City Center Plan. The Avondale City Council is expected to decide on the plan amendment today.

Thursday, November 1, 2018 in Arizona Republic

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

LAX Cars

Car Noise Is Killing Us

It’s not just traffic collisions that kill—a new study from researcher at Rutgers finds that the loud noises emanating from cars has direct impact on heart health in Americans.

May 6, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

Rittenhouse Square, a park in Philadelphia, framed by large buildings.

Parks as a Weapon Against Climate Change

The 2022 ParkScore finds that cities are increasingly employing green space as a tool for mitigating heat and extreme weather effects, but the distribution of parks remains inequitable.

May 16 - Trust for Public Land

View of Louisiana state capitol building and downton Baton Rouge, LA

Louisiana Capital Shifting to Electric Transit

The Baton Rouge area is now served by a fleet of nine all-electric buses.

May 16 - American Journal of Transportation

Mount Rainier

New Community Engagement Practices for Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan Update

A major update of Seattle’s comprehensive plan is just getting under way, with new opportunities for local groups to get involved with outreach and engagement.

May 16 - Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.