Downtown Tucson 2050

As cities are pushed to the forefront of global climate leadership, long-range design and planning are increasingly urgent, yet municipalities face resource constraints. This project offers a replicable model for academia to join with practice and local governments to educate and envision bold solutions to some of our largest urban challenges: climate adaptability, local resiliency, and future livability. 

Downtown Tucson 2050


  • Courtney Crosson, Associate Professor of Architecture
  • ARC451a/510f Students of Architecture

Community Partners and Consultants

  • GLHN Architects and Engineers
  • City of Tucson Environmental Services
  • Pima County Transportation Department
  • City of Tucson Planning and Development Services
  • Pima County Office of Sustainability and Conservation  

Project Details

Budget: $10,000, funded by GLHN Architects + Engineers

Where: Tucson, Arizona

When: 2017 - 2018

Project Overview

In 2017, a public-private-academic partnership was formed to achieve year 2050 carbon and water neutrality targets without sacrificing either livability or projected growth in downtown Tucson, Arizona. The semester-long project was led by one professor and ten students, sponsored by a local engineering firm, and supported by city and county staff. Case-study research, spatial mapping, quantitative analysis, and design inquiry were used to create three components: (1) district energy, water, and living infrastructure, (2) district land use plan with sustainable building prototypes, and (3) three sub-district master plans with rendered visions. The broad-based 2050 plan was disseminated through an electronic and printed 204 page book.

Project Outcomes: Exhibition of the work in downtown Tucson and a 250 page publicly available book of the work.

Project Gallery

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