Great Sonoran Desert Design Concepts

What is it?

Great Sonoran Desert Design Concepts are ideas and recommendations based on the concept of achieving minimum visual impact of the built environment on the natural desert setting. They were created by a group of citizens and presented to the City for further action/implementation.

Where does it apply?

All development in the Sonoran Desert Environment generally defined by the Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance Area designation: North of the APS Power Corridor, West of Pima, and North of the CAP Canal east of Pima

Who needs to use it?

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

Why was it developed?

The recommendations were developed to enhance building quality while respecting the unique Sonoran Desert.

Key Points:

  1. Respect, protect, and conserve the special features of the environment.
  2. Blend with the natural shape and texture of the land.
  3. Natural desert landscaping should be used as much as possible.
  4. Design spaces that extend to the outdoors.
  5. Maintain starry nights and dark skies with limited lighting.
  6. Provide for meaningful natural desert open space.
  7. All sides of buildings should be considered part of the character of the area.
  8. Use colors and materials that blend into the natural setting.
  9. Emulate our rich and diverse southwestern architectural heritage.

Where are the policies located?

Community Design Studio - Planning & Design Library

References and related documents:

Contact Information

City of Scottsdale – Long Range Planning
7447 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 
P: 480-312-7000

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Erin Perreault, AICP
Long Range Planning Director
P: 480-312-7093

Adam Yaron
Principal Planner 
P: 480-312-2761

Bob Wood
Project Coordination Liaison
P: 480-312-2700

Taylor Reynolds
Project Coordination Liaison
P: 480-312-7924

Brandon McMahon
Associate Planner
P: 480-312-7321

Michelle Holmes
Operation Fix-It
P: 480-312-7321

Need Help?


General City Information/Speak to a Citizen Service Specialist

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