Master Plans/Specific Plans Form-Based Coding Downtowns Corridors

Mesa Downtown Plan and Form-Based Code

Mesa, Arizona

Capturing the Transformative Potential of Transit

Opticos Design worked with the City of Mesa, Arizona to create a master plan and Form-Based Code to capture the transformative potential provided by three new light rail stations within the city’s downtown. The Form-Based Code provided incentives for redevelopment and Transit-Oriented Development in the downtown core and along a five-mile stretch of the Main Street corridor, which ran along the light rail route. The light rail connected downtown Mesa to Tempe (Arizona State University) and Phoenix.

The plan and code reinforced existing historic neighborhoods adjacent to downtown, focused more intense development around transit stations, provided a network of public spaces and streetscapes, and created a strong identity or “brand” for Mesa with a new civic center and new, high-quality architecture.

The project included:

  • Most of the designs were created during three, three-day charrettes
  • Creation of a Form-Based Code to implement the plan
  • Detailed design/vision plan that established the basis for a land use plan and more clearly articulated the vision to the community
  • Detailed studies and program assessment of city-owned parcels in downtown
  • Macroscale mapping and analysis to understand the context of transit stations and downtown
  • Design proposal for a new City Hall and Civic Square
  • Microscale analysis of building types, frontage types, and civic spaces appropriate of the desert climate