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Character Areas

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3 - Downtown Tempe/Rio Salado/ASU/NW Neighborhoods
4 - Apache
5 - Alameda


The City of Tempe wants to celebrate the many things that make each area of Tempe unique and special. Using local landmarks such as canals, freeways, light rail and city borders, we’ve created eight distinct character areas throughout Tempe. We want to discover what you value most about your area, what you’d like to see improved and what would make your life more livable. We’re looking at Light Rail Station Areas, streetscapes, bike paths, commercial corners, housing options, public transit, parks, historic and cultural resources, and much more.      


Once every ten years Arizona cities are required to update their General Plan which contains the city’s vision of the future. Tempe’s General Plan 2040 provides the view of what Tempe will look like, and how it will function as a community. Land-locked Tempe is expected to grow by more than 55,000 new residents and to add nearly 75,000 new jobs by 2040. Although this growth can be accommodated within Tempe, more important than numeric change is Tempe’s ability to maintain a high quality of life for residents. 

Guiding principles set the tone for GP2040: balanced land use; enhanced quality of life and preservation of neighborhood character; increased economic vitality; sustained mobility / greater accessibility; as well as sustainability and environmental stewardship. Strategic growth of homes and jobs will elevate Tempe as the regional leader of urban living, and be the kind of place you spend a lifetime because this is where you want to be.

As a continuation of the General Plan, Character Area Planning is specifically called upon in GP2040 as one of the central means to accomplish the vision and goals of Tempe voters. Central themes woven throughout the plan include developing Tempe as a leader in urban living; expanding pockets of urban activity centers or “hubs”; and enhancing connections for pedestrian, bike, and transit to produce a “20-minute City”.



A Character Area Plan is a way of conveying the vision and goals of an area to create positive change. Each area plan is firmly rooted in placemaking principles and design guidelines.                

Our economic development division can refer to the plan to see what kinds of businesses would be most appreciated in an area. Our planners can refer to this when working with businesses and developers to help guide landscape treatments and housing options, or when creating new bike paths, planning public art or designing streetscapes. During the budget process, city staff can look to these plans to see where residents most want city amenities. Our boards and commissions may also consult Character Area Plans before making decisions and making recommendations.

The plan does not come with any funding, and cannot supersede the General PlanZoning & Development Code or existing state and city laws. We care about what you want, but we cannot violate the law or take away someone’s private property rights. For additional information, see handout "What is the difference between a guideline and a legal requirement? [.pdf] 



For additional information, please contact or 480-350-8073.

Si a usted le gustaría a la información en español, por favor comuniquese con la ciudad de Tempe a 480-350-4311.