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ASU students’ plan helping Phoenix neighborhood

PHOENIX – Some graduate students at Arizona State University are seeing their plans put into action in a Phoenix neighborhood.

Sixteen graduate students in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning completed a reactivation plan for Phoenix’s Warehouse District, which is located between Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue from Jackson Street south to Grant Street, with the goal of breathing new life into the area.

Over the years the area has seen many vacant buildings and lots, according to faculty associate Lauren Allsopp, who along with her students came up with ways to help spruce up the area.

“It involves historic preservation because of the buildings that are there,” she said. “It’s also about economic and environmental initiatives.”

Students spent time with local business owners and stakeholders in the area to address the issues facing the district and then formulated a study and comprehensive plan for the area.

Allsopp said some of the students’ ideas took a look at issues such as infrastructure.

“Some of the strategies that they talk about are making Lincoln a complete street,” she said. “An example of a complete street would be Mill Avenue in Tempe, where you have a median, you have trees, you have bike lanes– you consider cars, bicycles and pedestrians.”

While others looked at economic and aesthetic changes that could come to the district while utilizing things already in the neighborhood, Allsopp said, such as old rail cars from when Union Pacific and Amtrak came to Phoenix.

“One of the ideas was to take disused rail cars … and turn them into either cafes or boardrooms,” she said.
Allsopp said the goal of the project was to see the ideas put to real-world use and she said in only a few months they’ve already seen some come to fruition.

Even though the class ended in May, Allsopp said she will continue to work with the city and local businesses to help reactivate the neighborhood with some of the students’ proposals.

“It’s a real project with boots on the ground,” she said.