Sensitive Design Principles


Where are the policies located?Process Pyramid Illustration

  • Sensitive Design Principles
  • The policies may be viewed at the Planning and Design Library at the Community Design Studio, 7506 E Indian School Road

What is it?

Scottsdale Sensitive Design Principles are a general consensus of community design expectations reached through dialogues with the 1999-2000 City Council, Planning Commission, and Development Review Board.

Approved by Development Review Board August 24, 2000; rev. March 8, 2001.


Graphic showing Citywide Design Objectives by Policy Name


Where does it apply?


Who needs to use it?

All participants in the development process, including citizens, policy makers, design professionals, and developers.

Why was it developed?

The Principles were reached through dialogues with the city's policy makers and advisory boards who created statements of goals that seek to enhance building quality while respecting the unique Sonoran Desert and helping to maintain our community and its quality of life.

Key Points:

  1. The design character of any area should be enhanced and strengthened by new development.
  2. Development, through appropriate siting and orientation of buildings, should recognize and preserve established major vistas, as well as protect natural features.
  3. Development should be sensitive to existing topography and landscaping.
  4. Development should protect the character of the Sonoran desert by preserving and restoring natural habitats and ecological processes.
  5. The design of the public realm, including streetscapes, parks, plazas, and civic amenities, is an opportunity to provide identity to the community and to convey its design expectations.
  6. Developments should integrate alternative modes of transportation, including bicycles and bus access, within the pedestrian network that encourages social contact and interaction within the community.
  7. Development should show consideration for the pedestrian by providing landscaping and shading elements as well as inviting access connections to adjacent developments.
  8. Buildings should be designed with a logical hierarchy of masses.
  9. The design of the built environment should respond to the desert environment.
  10. Developments should strive to incorporate sustainable and healthy building practices and products.
  11. Landscape design should respond to the desert environment by utilizing a variety of mature landscape materials indigenous to the arid region.
  12. Site design should incorporate techniques for efficient water use by providing desert adapted landscaping and preserving native plants.
  13. The extent and quality of lighting should be integrally designed as part of the built environment.
  14. Signage should consider the distinctive qualities and character of the surrounding context in terms of size, color, location, and illumination.

References and related documents:

Download Printable Sensitive Design Guidelines Policy Card (pdf / 318 kb / 1 pg)