Canalscape

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Recent Media Items: Print


5 Things Arizonans are NOT grateful for . . . but should be

[Source: Arizona Republic, November 26, 2009 – Author: Editorial Board] – “1. Canals. Metro Phoenix has 181 miles of canals, more than Amsterdam and Venice combined. Who would ever guess? If you know the right spot, you can find enticing paths, mountain views and a restored set of waterfalls. Unfortunately, we still treat a lot of the canal system more like hidden alleys. The Canalscape project, promoted by Arizona State University professor Nan Ellin, envisions ways to take advantage of the water to create more exciting developments where we could live, work or play. And — who knows? — maybe someday take a gondola. See the Canalscape Exhibition at ASU Art Museum in Tempe, extended now through Dec. 15.” To read the full article, please visit the Arizona Republic website.

 

Project proposes new use for canal system
[Source: ASU State Press, Tuesday, November 17, 2009] “Nan Ellin, faculty member and project director for Canalscape, thought of the idea behind the exhibition. ‘In our very midst, we possess a largely untapped resource for elevating the Phoenix metropolitan region into the ranks of most livable cities,” Ellin said. “The canal system that has long been our lifeblood could also be our lifeline toward a more authentic and sustainable desert urbanism.'” To read the full article, visit the website of the State Press.

Canalscape stirs world’s interest
[Source: Arizona Republic, November 8, 2009 – Author: Editorial Board] – “Canalscape is a development in urban design we believe will help Phoenix evolve into a far greener – and more visually appealing – community than now. It has captured the attention of Greenbuild, the world’s largest annual conference dedicated to environmentally conscious building design and construction.”

To read the the full article, please visit the website of the Arizona Republic.

Waterways or cultural oasis?
[Source: Phoenix Magazine, October 2009 – Author: Jana Bommersbach] – “An ASU professor’s plan to create scenic villages around our unsightly canals could make Phoenix the Venice of the West. Phoenix – America’s largest desert city – has more canals than the world’s most famous canal cities, Venice and Amsterdam. No, I’m not nuts: This “oasis” we call Phoenix is also America’s “canal city,” but you’d probably never know that even if you’ve lived here for a long time. I didn’t know it until earlier this year when I huddled up with Arizona State University professor Nan Ellin to talk about her favorite project.”
To read the the full article, please visit the website of Phoenix Magazine.

Dreamers look anew at Valley waterways
[Source: Arizona Republic, September 7, 2009] Early this year, a group of dreamers envisioned something radical for metro Phoenix: They imagined that the Valley cities actually use their only real source of surface water, the Valley’s canal system, as an architectural asset. Imagine that. Well, they did. Imagine creating buildings and open space to attract throngs of people alongside the Valley’s canals, that is. And with luck the result will provide the spark for the real-life development at some of the heretofore ignored urban corners where water flows. The “Canalscape” competition has been sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, Phoenix Metro Chapter in conjunction with Arizona State University’s Canalscape Symposium – the gathering in February of this year of architects, engineers, Salt River Project officials and students that analyzed the challenges of developing the canal regions and kicked off the competition. To read the full article, visit the online edition. To see images from the competition, view the print edition.

The Valley’s Untapped Canals
[Source: Arizona Republic, July 12, 2009 – Author: Doug Maceachern] – “The irony of this desert community’s relationship with its only flowing water is not lost on everyone. There are people who have noticed, for instance, that of the 75 largest metropolitan region in the US, only six are built without a significant waterway nearby. They’ve noticed that only one of those six communities—its hottest one—has designed its communities to pretend what little water it has isn’t there. And, after more than half a century of intentionally designing neighborhoods to be blocked off from their canal waterways, these people are acting to turn the Valley around, so to speak. They have concocted a marvelous little plan to make us all face—and, once again, take some pleasure from—the single most valuable commodity in the desert, our flowing water . . . . That opportunity is almost shocking, it is so obvious and elegant in its simplicity.”
To read the the full article, please visit the Arizona Republic website.

‘Canalscape’ could become phoenix legacy
[Source: Arizona Republic, March 26, 2008 – Author: Nan Ellin] – Amsterdam has 47 miles of canals. Venice 125. And Phoenix has … 181! Yet, Amsterdam and Venice are widely known and lauded for their stunning canal-oriented cityscapes, while Phoenix has largely turned its back on this tremendous asset. Click here to read the full article.

Canalscape and ‘Motor Mile’ in Scottsdale
[From School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning release:] In the June 11, 2009 issue of the Phoenix Business Journal, Professor Nan Ellin comments on efforts to redevelop the former Motor Mile on McDowell Road in Scottsdale. In the article, Ellin comments that Motor Mile represented Phoenix culture for more than 70 years, highlighting reliance on the automobile, but now needs to be a symbol of “sustainable urbanism.” To read more, visit the original article for subscribers or the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning news release.

Blog Posts


Vanishing Phoenix

Canalscape: A Sustainable Urban Desert for Metro Phoenix

[Guest post by Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward Association] “Sometimes it seems wherever you go, there you are. And everywhere you go looks just like where you’ve been. So where am I going with this? Walk with me and see!What excites us most about a place is what’s different about it, what sets it apart. And we have an unrealized opportunity in our metroplex to create a unique sense of place. We could link communities, create gathering spaces for people, facilitate recreation and enhance livability through an initiative that has the potential to transform and revitalize neighborhoods.” To read the full article, visit Vanishing Phoenix website.

Canalscape: A Sustainable Urban Desert for Metro Phoenix

[Guest column by Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward Association] “With more than 180 miles of canals, Phoenix has more waterways than Venice and Amsterdam combined. Unfortunately, we still treat a lot of the canal system more like hidden alleys. The Canalscape project, originally developed by former Arizona State University professor Nan Ellin, envisions ways to take advantage of the water to create more exciting developments where we could live, work or play.” To read the full article, visit the KTAR GreenUpAZ website.

The Canalscape Project Envisions Beautifying The Phoenix-Area’s Many Canals

[From Shelby Hill, writing for AZnow.biz, the website for the Arizona Business Magazine] “Forget ‘The Valley of the Sun.’ Imagine ‘The Venice of the Southwest.’ It’s an idea that’s hard to fathom now, especially when most Valley residents think of canals as ‘ugly, smelly and dangerous,’ says Nan Ellin, a former Arizona State University professor who conceived Canalscape with her students. Canalscape is a concept that encourages Phoenicians to embrace the canals that give life to the desert by developing ‘places of urban vitality’ where major streets meet canals, Ellin says. Despite the canals’ bad reputation, Valley Forward Association and Ellin see a bright, watery future for Phoenix. With more than 181 miles of canals, Phoenix has more of such waterways than Venice and Amsterdam combined. But unlike their European counterparts, canals in Phoenix are not a vital part of the city’s culture. ‘The canals used to be the front porch and they became the back alleys,’ with the urban sprawl of the 1960s and 1970s, Ellin says. Valley Forward is committed to transforming the canals from eyesores to amenities, says Jay Hicks, chair-elect of Valley Forward.” To read the full article, visit the AZnow.biz website.

Connecting a City -or- The Grand Canals of Phoenix

[From GreenSource, a blog supported by USGBC.] “Having only visited Phoenix a couple of times, my understanding of the city has largely been framed by its location, among burnt-umber mountains in verdant Sonoran Desert, and it’s national headline-making problems: it was quickly filling up its valley with highway-driven, low-density sprawl and isolated pockets of residential, commercial, and recreational activity connected only by car….The core presentation this morning focused on a scheme that would create several such hubs throughout the city. Canalscape is a project by the Planning Program at ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning that envisions the development of mixed-use structures along Phoenix’s 181 miles of canals.” To read the full article, visit the GreenSource blog.

Phoenix: A City of Canals

[From Amanda Fier, Depth in PR Blog] “While Canalscape does a great job of demonstrating how canals have been used to add life to other American cities, the exhibit does a great job of bringing it home – showing what was, is and could be in Phoenix were it to develop itself as a city of canals. The beautiful renderings on parade highlight the many ways the land beside canals could be used to inject our suburban metro with pockets of accessible urban vitality.” To read the full post, visit the Depth in PR Blog.

Rethinking Our Canals

[From Downtown Phoenix Journal] “Ellin, who is also the Planning Program Director in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University, has been a Phoenix resident for 12 years and sees an urban city that fully utilizes the Valley’s miles of canals as the perfect combination of utility and beauty. Stunning cities like Venice are known worldwide for their well-planned and canal-centric designs, and she thinks it would only benefit Phoenix if a similar plan were to happen here.” To read the full post, see the Downtown Phoenix Journal.

OF03: Canalscape and the New Downtown Phoenix Park

[From Kirby Meindl, blogger in Chicago.] “ASU’s Planning School is also working on projects to re-orient Phoenix developmental tendencies to focus more on the canals, as major meridians of the city. This so-called “Urban Acupuncture” draws on the literal and implied energy of the canal system in order to push urban infill.” To read the full post, visit Ms. Meindl’s blog.

Arty Girl: Canalscape Opens Tomorrow at ASU

[From New Times reporter Lilia Menconi on the blog Arty Girl.] “Ellin sees our canals, based on the ancient Hohokam’s crop irrigation system, as spaces teeming with possibilities for cultural hot spots. And she’s been working with, well, everyone in town (ASU students, the City of Phoenix, City of Tempe, Arizona Humanities Council, American Institute of Architects, SRP and many more – just check out this impressive list) to promote and collaborate this exciting idea. Imagine going for a stroll or a jog along the canal. You’re not dodging traffic, you’re not hearing engines scream by and you’re not sucking up vehicle exhaust. Instead, you’re cruising along the waterway with other pedestrians, following the easy, quiet flow of the canal stream. Then you stumble upon a little marketplace. You can stop for coffee and read the paper, meet your friend for lunch or pop into a boutique for a little shopping.” To read the full article, visit the New Times blog.

Podcasts


ASU President Michael Crow’s Podcast
This podcast features a conversation with Dr. Nan Ellin, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs, and Braden Kay, a graduate student with the ASU School of Sustainability, who are working to advance this project through education and action. To read more or listen to the podcast, visit this page.