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Twenty-one students in the Spring 2016 Masters' of Urban and Environmental Planning program's PUP 593 capstone course took on a multi-faceted initiative to generate new planning visions for the City of Apache Junction. Here's a report on their work, posted on the City of Apache Junction web site:
A network of trails, bike lanes and walkways mark a map developed by a group of Arizona State University graduate students who embarked on an ambitious project to envision the future of Apache Junction.
The research team from ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning program worked with the city and held two community workshops to get input for the initial plan that covers the downtown area and the southern part of Apache Junction.
“We started out with a ton of ideas,” said graduate student Trevor Hawkes. “Apache Junction, you could almost say is a blank slate, and that is a positive thing. When we met with the community, it really hammered home what we need to do for the city of Apache Junction.”
The students, along with representatives of the city’s Public Works, Development Services and Parks department, on Wednesday presented the first version of the possible plan to a joint meeting of the city’s Planning and Zoning commission and Parks and Recreation board.
The idea was to develop an overall community vision for:
The team used the feedback from the community sessions to build the draft.
The group was split up into three areas. First-year graduate student Morgan Klaas was part of the team tackling the downtown area.
“I think one of the biggest things was just seeing the amount of research that goes into it,” she said. “When you are coming up with these ideas, as many of these members brought up, it’s the proof that it is being implemented somewhere else and is it working, should we do it here and why. The initial research that goes into it is very important for coming up with these plans and for me that has been invaluable going through that research process.”
The workshops included discussion of pathways and a design of a multi-modal (bicycling/walking/equestrian) trails master plan, along with streetscape plans that comply with the vision for the downtown, and the development desired south of Southern Avenue.
Public Works’ and Development Services’ staff plan to take the students’ ideas and concepts into consideration in forming general and area specific plans for the city.
“I want to thank all of the students for all of this work that you have done,” said Tess Nesser, chairwoman of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. “It has been an excellent process.
We do appreciate your effort.”