Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering
The Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering seeks to provide the basis for understanding, designing, and managing the complex integrated built/human/natural systems that increasingly characterize our planet in the athropocene – the Age of Humans. To this end, Metis combines research, teaching, outreach and public service in an effort to learn how engineered and built systems are integrated with natural and human systems.
This project explores the current building and land use within the South Mountain Village (SMV) area. The South Central Light Rail extension corridor serves as a focus area, including a half mile radius around each of the five proposed light rail stations. Research of the area included analyzing SMV demographic information, analyzing land use and zoning, conducting a site visit, researching case studies, and information on current City of Phoenix, and other transit oriented development plans. Based on the research and case studies, recommendations and propositions are made for:
1. The implementation of a community-based transit oriented development.
2. The integration of green infrastructure and urban agriculture.
3. Best land management practices.
4. Policy to ensure appropriate and sustainable planning for the future.
With the proposed expansions in the Valley around the Rio Salado river, a new opportunity arises to develop and innovate infrastructure which will benefit many city stakeholders. One of the areas affected by this expansion is the South Mountain Village, which is located just southeast of ASU’s Tempe campus and is the focused location of this analysis. As it stands, South Mountain Village exhibits a lack luster transportation infrastructure. Underutilized paved asphalt lots, highly distressed and failing pavement as well as inadequate pedestrian modes of transportation are all examples of poor infrastructure in need of renovation. The Rio Salado 2.0 revitalization project provides necessary funding, resources and support of the surrounding community to make progressive changes to the transportation infrastructure of South Mountain. Proposed changes to the existing transportation infrastructure will ultimately encourage connectivity between modes of transportation.
The main objective of the transportation network for Rio Salado 2.0 would be to determine the location of a centralized rail extension within the bounds of the project area. The rail extension would have the capabilities of transporting commuters from the area to Phoenix where most daily activities, such as work occur. The rail extension will focus on being centralized to maximize the accessibility for commuters but will also be influenced by heavily populated areas. In addition, the extension will also be determined by researching the most frequently used transit paths currently. Taking all these factors into consideration, a location for the rail extension will be determined. Once this goal is accomplished, another sub goal is created which involves increasing the connectivity of the transportation system.
The overall connectivity of the system is an important goal when proposing a rail extension, because there must be ways for commuters to get to the rail system. To accomplish this goal, bus routes, bike paths, and walkability of transit will all be analyzed. The system will be connected by having bike paths and sidewalks lead to bus stops that will take commuters to the rail station. In addition, bike paths and sidewalks near the rail extension will lead directly to the station to make rides quicker. Another possible option is adding a bike-sharing program to increase connectivity of the system between lines, especially those that cannot afford the maintenance and upfront cost of a well-equipped bicycle. Also, this may be a cheaper solution, the idea of the bike-sharing connecting transit rail lines, compared to building connecting transit lines, which may take more time as well. Improving the overall connectivity of the system leads to another minor goal of the transportation network for the project area, which will include improving the quality of the system.
Currently, bike paths, sidewalks, and bus stops are unattractive and disincentives the use of non-automobile transportation because of the poor condition they are in. To promote transit use, the system must be safe and desirable to use. The bike paths should be protected in high traffic areas, adequate shading around the paths should be provided for hot summers, and the bike lanes should not abruptly end. In addition, sidewalks should be shaded and be constructed properly with no infrastructure issues, such as large cracks or breaks in the cement. In order to promote cycling, off road infrastructures will be explored along the Salt River and Western Canals. In addition, to increase overall connectivity the configuration of the roadways will need to be adjusted for additional bike lanes and sidewalks. However, it is important to conduct an analysis that configures the roadway to maintain the current level of service with automobile congestion.
This report examines the energy infrastructure in the South Mountain Village of Phoenix AZ. The report is in support of the Rio Grande 2.0 project being implemented by the City of Phoenix in conjunction with Arizona State University. The report focuses on a small section of the village, for which we create energy demand profiles, solar generation profiles, and solar + storage generation profiles. We utilize these profiles to demonstrate the impact that neighborhood solar will have on the grid. We additionally research SRP’s deployment of smart grid technologies and SRP’s plans for the future of their power system. The report examines the benefits, and challenges of microgrid development in South Mountain Village. We undertake this study to identify strategies that increase energy efficiency, that implement resilient and redundant systems in the existing energy grid, and that provide flexibility and adaptability to the community’s energy systems.
Deploying these strategies will ensure the sustained provision of energy to the community in the event of catastrophic events. We demonstrate that the installation of rooftop solar photovoltaics on residential buildings in conjunction with battery storage systems proves more than sufficient to provide power to the residents of South Mountain Village. We explore the benefits and challenges for the development of smart grid infrastructure and microgrid networks in the village. We determine that the implementation of a smart grid and a parallel microgrid improves the resiliency of the Village’s energy systems. While SRP has managed to make progressive steps forward in implementing Smart Grid technologies, they can continue this progression by developing a unified communication system that is secure through cyber security measures to allow for reliable energy service to their customers. A hybrid development of smart grid and microgrid technologies in the village that employs rooftop solar photovoltaics and battery storage will provide community members with the resilient energy infrastructure they require in a future which entails multiplied risks of catastrophic events like increased heat waves and cyber attacks.
This study addresses the social and physical constraints and opportunities for South Mountain Village, particularly along the Rio Salado as it intersects with the proposed light rail extension on Central Avenue. The primary goals guiding this document are ecological restoration, social and physical connectivity, maintenance, management, development and future planning. This study discusses the history of the Rio Salado riparian area, analyses current riparian conditions, and provides context from similar cases both locally and nationally.
It has been demonstrated that access to recreational opportunities can improve the livelihood and reduce negative health effects for residents nearby. With this in mind, the physical connectivity of South Mountain residents is assessed to determine the degree of accessibility to recreational areas of the Rio Salado. This analysis will also be used to address areas in which residents do not have equitable access and will be used to guide recommendations to increase that access. Additionally, as growth occurs, existing social vulnerability concerns are addressed in regard to marginalized populations relying on the area’s ecological and grey infrastructure for refuge.
As the Rio Salado 2.0 Project and the Valley Metro South Central light rail extension begins construction and the opportunity to develop increases, residents and business owners are concerned that redevelopment will affect the integrity and connectivity of the area. This study outlines how these changes may affect stakeholders while keeping the area accessible and equitable for all. Evaluation of the sites and parcels surrounding the Rio Salado for future development while taking into account its rich history and needs of the community is important for the community and the City of Phoenix as a whole. This study incorporates concepts from the Rio Salado Beyond the Banks Area Plan and other existing plans and regulations for the area. This study aims to provide a roadmap for future development along the Rio Salado at South Mountain Village in a sustainable and equitable way.
Syllabi from 16 Life Cycle Assessment courses across 14 U.S. universities were examined for content, structure, and opportunity for coordinated efforts into the future.