July 23, 2004
Plenty of north East Valley community activists are advocating for protection of the area’s scenic natural environs. Now a group is organizing to push for better man-made environments.
Several local architects concerned about the shape of things to come as Scottsdale and neighboring communities face the pressures of growth are aiming to become more vocal about design and development issues.
"Scottsdale is at a crossroads,’’ moving beyond its suburban roots into a contemporary urban environment, said architect and 18-year resident Tim Keniepp.
The city needs "bigger, newer and better’’ ideas if it’s going to realize its vision as a thriving 21st century desert jewel, he said.
Keniepp is among north East Valley members of the American Institute of Architects’ Central Arizona Chapter who want to lend their expertise to helping form that vision.
They’re being led by architect Doug Sydnor, a veteran of numerous Scottsdale com- missions, task forces and advisory committees.
Downtown revitalization and south Scottsdale redevelopment are pressing issues begging for creative architectural and environmental design solutions, Sydnor said.
The group plans to also offer its perspectives on the contentious Los Arcos redevelopment effort and bond proposals for the Scottsdale Unified School District and Maricopa Community College District, particularly about the rebuilding and expansion of school campuses the bonds would fund.
Scottsdale’s Green Building Program, which promotes environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient building, can expect some added support from the group, Sydnor said.
It already has wielded some influence, successfully lobbying for the appointments of architect Paul Winslow to Scottsdale’s Historic Preservation Commission and architect Jeremy Jones to the Development Review Board.
But the goal is to do more than get architects involved in city affairs.
"We want to bring some fresh new blood" into the arena of public debate in Scottsdale, said architect Andrea Forman, who served six-year stints on the city’s Development Review Board and the Scottsdale Cultural Council Public Art and Collections Committee.
Discussion too often is dominated by "the same old faces," including ranters and naysayers who need to be balanced by forward-thinking voices, Forman said.
"We need a little more politicking from our side,’’ she said.
Sydnor said he hopes to see the group gain enough members to also get involved in development issues in Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Cave Creek and Carefree.