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Urban Core Masterplan

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Some of you may have heard there would be public meetings for Tempe’s Urban Core Masterplan efforts during February. While we look forward to sharing the plans you're helping create, they aren't quite ready just yet. The draft plans are being developed now, based on extensive public input gathered over the last several months, and will be presented for public feedback over the coming months.

Here’s what’s happening and what to expect with the three primary elements of Tempe’s Urban Core efforts:

  • Affordable Housing Strategies – the draft plan will be presented at public meetings March 7 (8 to 9:30 a.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m.) at the Tempe History Museum; followed by City Council adoption anticipated in April or May.

  • Urban Core Masterplan and Transportation Overlay District – draft plans are being developed and will be released for public comment beginning in April, with public meetings anticipated in May. The plans will also be presented to several Tempe Boards and Commissions throughout the coming months, with City Council adoption anticipated in fall 2019.
    Check back for meeting dates and updated information.


Background: The City of Tempe is looking at the city’s Urban Core – the area focused around Town Lake, Rio Salado, Downtown, ASU and Apache Boulevard and among others – to create a comprehensive and unified development blueprint for Downtown Tempe and the Urban Core that is sustainable and cohesive.

The Urban Core is more than downtown Tempe; it reaches from Loop 202 to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, and from Hardy Drive to Loop 101.

In February, community members shared their priorities and vision for the area. In September, we gathered additional input to inform key decisions on draft concepts.

Tempe’s Urban Core Masterplan includes three primary elements:

  • URBAN CORE MASTERPLAN: Create a comprehensive and unified development blueprint for Downtown Tempe and the Urban Core that is prosperous, sustainable and cohesive.

  • TRANSPORTATION OVERLAY DISTRICT (TOD): Plan around the existing light rail and streetcar routes to create a transit friendly community.

  • AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGY: Use a holistic approach to encourage more affordable and a greater diversity of housing options both in downtown and across the urban core area.

The Urban Core Masterplan will:

  • Align new development with long-term economic development goals
  • Preserve the character of neighborhoods in the Urban Core
  • Plan for balanced growth in the downtown area while maintaining compatibility with its identity and character
  • Provide a diversity of development (from single-family homes to large, mixed-use developments)
  • Enhance quality of life and provide additional amenities
  • Encourage use of public transit options, walking and bicycling
  • Establish an affordable housing strategy to increase housing choice in the project area and across Tempe
  • Update the existing Transportation Overlay District (TOD) zoning ordinance to include best practices and expand its area to include the streetcar route

The vision, goals and policies of the General Plan 2040, Transportation Masterplan, Character Area Plans and public input will be used to inform this planning process. The Urban Core Masterplan will supplement other plans and help guide their implementation.

Project area:20180131_Base Map_Type2-02 (Large)

Developing a Masterplan for Tempe’s Urban Core Area

Tempe will begin assessing the current situation in the study area related to physical assets, demographics, economic development potential, affordability, transportation infrastructure capacity and identify strategies to expand amenities, enhance walkability, mitigate traffic congestion, and improve access for all to the many opportunities in the Urban Core Area. In addition to conducting an assessment, the Masterplan will:

  • Develop a planning vision for the downtown and urban core area
  • Formulate planning and design strategies to promote economic development
  • Plan for green infrastructure and building sustainability
  • Propose policies for creating diversified housing opportunities
  • Enhance mobility and connectivity
  • Create guidelines, tools and standards for masterplan implementatioN

Affordable Housing Strategy

Tempe’s goal is to create policies and programs to support public transportation and increase housing options within the urban core that supports a mixed-income, inclusive and accessible community for:

  • Students
  • Families
  • People with disabilities
  • Working Professionals
  • Retirees

The Transportation Overlay District

Tempe’s existing Transportation Overlay District is being expanded to incorporate the streetcar route and stop areas, and will be updated to:

  • Carefully integrate redevelopment with preservation of established and historic neighborhoods
  • Promote economic development
  • Create transit friendly developments
  • Improve walkability and accessibility by expanding pedestrian and bicycle connectivity
  • Encourage mixed use development, commercial, residential and office space in shared and adjacent places
  • Promote activity on the ground floor
  • Implement the themes identified in the Character Area 3 and 4 (Apache) Plans 3
  • Implement various affordable housing strategies




 Si a usted le gustaría a la información en español, por favor comuniquese con la ciudad de Tempe a 480.350.4311.