Florence North End Framework Vision Plan and Territory Square ZoningHonor Award - Analysis and Planning
Swaback Partners, PLLC
Florence is one of the oldest and most historic communities in Arizona. Over the past several decades, as the Phoenix valley and surrounding communities have grown and prospered, many smaller rural communities in Arizona have struggled to survive. Florence continues to be the government seat for Pinal County and has managed to diversify its local economy with agriculture, tourism, education and government facilities. Its geographic location halfway between Phoenix and Tucson has resulted in an uptick in residential growth and expansion relative to the “Sun Corridor”- which has been identified by demographers as a major future growth area for the southwestern United State. Recent residential growth in the region has been driven by conventional development models that sometimes are lacking the character of established traditional neighborhood developments. Furthermore, sometimes these new subdivisions made little effort to reflect agrarian histories. Conventional suburban development patterns have continued southwardly, threatening the historic fabric of the downtown and surroundings. In 2009, when most Arizona communities were struggling with municipal budgets and minimizing pro-active planning efforts, the Town invested in a master planning and design process that would set the stage for the expansion of the core of Florence and surrounding lands in order to provide a framework for mixed use development to encourage authentic and culturally appropriate environments. The focus on the north end of the core, along the Gila River, was a strategic decision that provided an opportunity to better link the north and south portions of the community. All the initiatives had the goal of strengthening the quality of life for residents and visitors. Working in concert with Town officials and community leaders, the landscape architects have lead a multi-year, multidisciplinary team of consultants over the past six years to develop the initial master plan, orchestrate community engagement & participation, prepare new zoning codes and participate in the phase one implementation of what has now been branded as the Town’s north end district- “Territory Square”.