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Downtown Phoenix Development Spotlighted In Mayors’ Sustainability Discussion

By Cassie Strauss for the Downtown Devil

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell discuss sustainability and urban redevelopment on Tuesday, bringing downtown Phoenix’s good and bad qualities to light. Photo Credit: Cassandra Strauss/DD

Valley mayors used downtown Phoenix as an example of the consequences of bad city planning and also heralded it as an example of “retrofitting” redevelopment efforts during a sustainability discussion Tuesday. The discussion centered on challenges desert cities face.

Speaking to about 275 attendees at the Mesa Arts Center, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell participated in a discussion hosted by ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

The mayors discussed not only the meaning of sustainability but also steps the cities have taken to ensure that development is sustainable, including land-use planning, improved public transportation, the importance of local communities in the push for sustainability, and local businesses and banks.

The discussion was a part of the Sustainable Cities Network, an organization within ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. Rob Melnick, executive dean of the institute since 2008, moderated the discussion.

Downtown Phoenix was mentioned not only as a land-use case study but also as an example of successful redevelopment. Smith said he looks at downtown Phoenix as a blueprint for the revitalization of downtown Mesa.

Colin Tetreault, Stanton’s senior policy adviser on sustainability, said that on Oct. 31, Stanton will begin a new vacant-land initiative. Tetreault said 42 percent of Phoenix currently consists of empty land.

Stanton also said local businesses are a key to sustainability. A new local-purchasing ordinance for the city will give preference to local companies in city contracts, within limitations set by state law.

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