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Architects Compete to Transform Dry Salt River

Credit: The Arizona Republic

By Jessica Boehm for The Arizona Republic

More than a year after Sen. John McCain’s death, the Phoenix community is still united to bring his final vision to fruition.

McCain spent the last year of his life lobbying for the expansive redevelopment of the 58-mile Salt riverbed that cuts across the Valley from Mesa to Buckeye.

For the second year, the Phoenix-metro chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting an “ideas competition,” encouraging architects, urban planners, students, developers and community leaders to pitch ideas on how to transform the riverbed into an environmental and economic hotbed for the region.

The competition comes as six Valley mayors, county officials, tribal leaders and federal departments have committed to working toward a regional plan, dubbed “Rio Reimagined.”

Although the ideas are “strictly visionary” at this point, AIA Phoenix Metro Chapter hopes they will serve as a starting point for deeper discussions about revitalization.

‘Crossing the Line That Separates’

The theme of this year’s AIA competition is “crossing the line that separates.”

AIA Phoenix Metro Chapter’s past president, Michael Jacobs, said that while the community has managed to mitigate the flood risks of the riverbed, “we also need to recognize how the changing face of the river has kept us from taking advantage of all it has to offer.”

“Instead of seeing it as the immensely valuable resource it is, we’ve taken to seeing it as something that separates, rather than unites us, and in this competition, we’re looking for ways to reverse this trend and change this sentiment,” Jacobs said in a statement.

The first-place winner of the idea competition will receive $4,000. Two finalists will receive $1,250. A student winner will also receive $1,000.

The deadline to apply is November 19th.

Read more at The Arizona Republic.

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