Revitalizing Phoenix's Business District with Micro Blocks
The urban fabric of Phoenix's Business District is marred by vacant parcels, creating a perforated landscape that hampers vitality and street activity. However, what if these underutilized lots could inspire the architecture of new businesses? Taking inspiration from the resilient cactus, which thrives in the harsh desert environment, a unique opportunity arises to reimagine these parcels and boost business development.
The abundance of small lots in the area poses challenges for programming and disrupts the cohesive street wall. To address this, a solution is to subdivide these lots into even smaller elements, supported by shared infrastructure. By creating smaller footprints, it becomes possible to stack programmable spaces vertically, resulting in multiple entry points throughout the ground plane. Each entryway can serve as a dedicated front door for start-ups and growing businesses, providing them with their own identity and building.
Unlike traditional work-sharing environments, where businesses often lack a sense of rootedness, this approach allows each enterprise to feel connected to Phoenix with its own front door and building. The vertical workplaces, densely packed and anchored by a street-level entrance, share a common circulation and service core. This innovative system of shared circulation gives rise to a protected outdoor urban courtyard at the heart of the Micro Block. By fostering collaboration and encouraging public discovery, this courtyard becomes a vibrant hub for interaction and creativity.
The inaugural Micro Block project has been chosen to be developed on a half-acre parking lot located at 259 North 3rd Avenue. Situated in an underdeveloped area close to the city center, this site boasts a high walkability score. The selection of this parcel exemplifies the desire to transform the district into a thriving hub of growth. If successful, this strategy can be easily replicated in other areas, opening up abundant opportunities for revitalization throughout Phoenix.
In summary, the concept of Micro Blocks presents an exciting vision for infill development in Phoenix's Business District. By subdividing underutilized parcels, creating vertical workplaces with dedicated front doors, and fostering collaboration through shared circulation, a new era of vibrancy and vitality can be unleashed. The selected location for the first Micro Block project, coupled with the potential for replication, sets the stage for a transformative journey towards a more vibrant and thriving urban landscape in Phoenix.