Downtown resilience: A review of recent (re)developments in Tempe, Arizona

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Urban development is very susceptive to economic cycles. Can resilience theory be used to analyze these cycles and to find appropriate answers to minimize their impacts? Business rotation is part of a healthy economy; however, prolonged phases of devaluation can have serious economic consequences. The purpose of this paper is to apply resilience theory to the area of urban revitalization in a US southwest context and to identify sets of recommendations and traps to be avoided in future urban revitalization interventions. The main argument is that the creation of two new centralities in Tempe has weakened the vibrancy of the Mill Avenue district, even despite the new streetscape improvements and the light rail induced development efforts on Apache Boulevard. The key finding is that downtowns need to be nurtured through the use of urban design practices and community-oriented planning decisions; otherwise they can lose critical elements that make them livable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-169
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Feb 2014


  • Resilience
  • Downtown
  • City center
  • Urban revitalization
  • Retail planning


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