Ten Planning Lessons from Flagstaff, Arizona

Humphrey’s Peak

Following our recent trip to the beautiful Southwestern United States, here are some thoughts on planning lessons one can learn from impressive and beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona.

  • You can have a physically active and exciting city in a colder-weather, high-altitude environment.
  • Preserving and protecting sensitive archaeological, cultural, environmental, and historical resources can occur amid growth.
  • Three national monuments (Sunset Crater, Walnut Canyon, and Wupatki) in and around your city are excellent role models for environmental sustainability and multi-cultural appreciation.
  • Context sensitive, new urbanist density can successfully augment a community’s admirable aesthetics.
  • Towering snow-capped peaks make for an excellent visual and sensory backdrop.
  • As both Flagstaff and Tucson demonstrate, cities in Arizona can be bicycle, pedestrian, and transit friendly…they can also be dark-sky friendly.
  • Even a city that averages 81 inches of snowfall per year must be vigilant and proactive regarding water conservation.
  • Varying elevation creates unique design opportunities not available where terrain is generally level.
  • Expressways do not have to rip apart the heart of a city while still being functional.
  • As has been noted in prior planning lesson posts, a major university in your city is always a plus – in Flagstaff’s case it is Northern Arizona University.

Wukoki Pueblo in Wupatki National Monument outside of Flagstaff


This entry was posted in Active transportation, archaeology, branding, cities, civics, colleges, culture, deserts, downtown, economic development, economic gardening, environment, fitness, geography, Geology, health, history, infrastructure, land use, Native Americans, Nature, new urbanism, placemaking, planning, recreation, spatial design, third places, topography, tourism, transit, transportation, Travel, weather, zoning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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