• Transportation infrastructure
• Sonoran Desert amenities
• Active arts community

“The McDowell Sonoran Preserve provides a 16,000-acre open space of natural desert and mountains within our city limits,” says Douglas Sydnor, FAIA, president of local firm Douglas Sydnor Architects and Associates. “Plans are under way to double its size. There’s also a strong arts community.”


• Challenging development and design ordinances
• Questions about future water supply
• National and state economic woes

“Highly detailed development requirements have been crafted to preserve the natural settings in the north, mirrored by the processes for redeveloping the urban core,” says John Douglas, FAIA, president of locally based John Douglas Architects. “The two completely different contexts have led to a constant battle for the city’s resources and attention.”


The 2010 U.S. Census puts the population at 217,385. Jobs are expected to grow from 171,000 in 2011 to 229,000 in 2016.

“We expect the Census data to be raised after a review of housing-tract data,” says Scottsdale economic vitality marketing and public information officer Kim Hanna. “A study we commissioned projects the 2020 population at 270,000.”


Home sale prices were stable, rising only slightly from $334,000 in May 2010 to $336,300 in May 2011.

“New housing in downtown is predicated on new jobs being created by the private sector and by a perceived desire of people wishing to live in a lively area,” Douglas says.


The 9.9-million-s.f. office market was 28.5 percent vacant in May 2011, with an average asking rate of $23.92 p.s.f. “The vast majority of land in Scottsdale has been master-planned, zoned, and developed, but there are numerous infill opportunities with the Scottsdale Airpark,” Sydnor says. This new commercial area north of the central business district is designed to attract high- and clean-tech office and industrial tenants.


“The two major issues I see Scottsdale wrestling with in the next five to 10 years are the completion of land acquisition for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and refining development standards for downtown,” says Philip Weddle, AIA, a fourth-generation Arizonan and principal architect at local practice Weddle Gilmore Black Rock Studio. “Ultimately, it comes down to architects developing issue-responsive design that works well within the environment.”