by Andrea Pedersen, PLA, studio DPA
The first step in the land development process is typically to wipe the slate clean. Bulldozers appear on the site, efficiently clearing and grubbing what is normally considered debris. The 'debris' is loaded into trucks and immediately hauled offsite.
This does not have to be the typical scenario. With some advance planning, a visionary land owner, and lots of creativity, land development teams can find a way to reuse, repurpose and upcycle a site's existing materials. Studio DPA, which Tim Daugherty, RLA, and I started five years ago, and the Maracay Homes development team were able to find a variety of re-use opportunities on a recent project in Phoenix.
Navarro Groves was a working citrus farm in Phoenix since the early 1940s. The project team was tasked with re-zoning the site from agricultural to a planned area development, and spent the next year or so working with the seller, the buyer, the city and the surrounding neighbors to develop a layout, design and theme.
During this process, I had the rare opportunity to get verbal site history from the land seller. I was lucky to have many good conversations with him - particularly since he joined me onsite to hold his dog while I explored the site's existing materials. He always said she was a friendly dog, but I was not swayed since she growled at me like any guard dog would.
As seen in LASN magazine, January 2020.