Since the 1940’s, the suburban dream has engulfed the minds of Americans. Individual home ownership has become a symbol of prosperity, stability and family. Seventy four years later, the idea of owning your own house and raising a family in it is so ingrained in people’s minds that the existence of an alternative lifestyle has almost entirely faded from their consciousness.
But, within the past few years, the urban lifestyle has begun to once again pick up momentum, drawing-in Millennials and Baby Boomers searching for an exciting and stimulating new lifestyle. For many of the Millennials in their 20-30’s, the city is only a temporary residence until they have kids. For them, the belief that children must be raised in a house persists despite their love for the city. The larger space of a house, coupled with a personal yard are two of the major influences in their decisions.
The Urban Family concept endeavors to resolve the often conflicting desires of today’s Millennials – their desire to live in an urban environment and their desire for a house with the space to raise children (when the time comes). Today, the urban lifestyle often equates to lower square foot apartments with small balconies. If you want more space and a backyard, it seems like you must buy a house.
But do these have to be people’s only choices? The Urban Family concept is a multi-family, mixed-use building that has 17 units and 2-4 retail spaces along the street. Each residential unit is 1,200-1,800sf and the building massing is staggered so that each one has its own yard ranging from 500–1,500sf. The yards are actually “green roofs” and the concrete planter which holds each yard’s tree has been turned into an architectural feature that the retail and residential units can take advantage of. The retail space along the front is an amenity for the residents and the community, in addition to helping create an active street front. All of the residential units are on the second floor and above, with parking at grade, behind the retail.
The Roosevelt neighborhood contains a charm unlike any other in Downtown Phoenix. There is a mix of historic bungalows and newer multi-family residential buildings. A diverse group of young professionals, ASU students, families and seniors live in the Roosevelt neighborhood, making it a true community. Throughout the neighborhood are a number of restaurants, hair salons, offices, clothing stores, dry cleaners, and more. Urban Family strives to build off of the characteristics of the neighborhood by adding two smaller retail spaces on 2nd avenue between Roosevelt and McKinley. This street currently does not have any retail on it. Urban Family also retains a primarily residential use which is currently the predominant building type in the neighborhood.
The site chosen for Urban Family is a parking lot located on the east side of 2nd avenue between Roosevelt and McKinley. The parking lot is never more than a quarter full and is a detriment to a street that has the potential to be one of the best streets in the Roosevelt neighborhood. At the north end of the street sits a number of beautiful historic houses and multi-family buildings. Across the street from the site are three historic houses that are currently vacant. These houses have great adaptive re-use potential and just may be the subject of an upcoming envision project!
Roosevelt & McKinley
This is an envisioning of the possibilities of this location, and is by no means a project that is planned or overseen by the site or property owners. With these hypothetical projects, we hope to spark a conversation to help imagine the city's future, and our ideas do not reflect actual plans.
March 20, 2014