In and near downtown Phoenix, three developments are worth examining.
• Renderings have been made public of the proposed Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law building for the downtown ASU campus (above and below). Someone told me it requires "seven variances" in the city code. And this code has given us a lovely cityscape? For god's sake build it, before somebody — ASU, the regents — changes his mind.
Would I have preferred a Mission-revival or other human-scale style to get away from the deadening modernism that makes downtown less interesting? Sure. Has the design been improved from its original rollout in response to community feedback. Yes, to some extent. But the perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good. And bringing the law school downtown will be a substantial coup. Now people need to demand that the block have real shade trees (and grass!), not palo verde skeletons and gravel.
The building would go on the block between First Street and Second Street, Taylor and Polk, the site of the old Ramada Inn (Sahara). There is still bad blood with preservationists that ASU demolished this mid-century building rather than opting for reuse.
• Then we face the question of what is "good enough" or a good start. Many have been wondering how the city would use land it bought in and near the Evans-Churchill neighborhood just north of downtown since most of it was assembled for the abortive Cardinals stadium.
Now we have an indication, and it is disappointing to risk understatement.