To better understand Superstition Vista’s possibilities, a team of researchers crafted six plausible development scenarios. Each scenario represents different land use policies, infrastructure investments, and energy and water conservation strategies. Each scenario acted as a story of how Superstition Vistas could look, feel, and operate in the future. The scenarios ranged from continuing current development patterns to high-density green development with extensive open space protection. Each scenario has the same transportation infrastructure that includes existing regional roads and a proposed network of new regional passenger rail, freeways, and parkways, and internal road and transit systems. Each scenario was evaluated for its impact on economic development, housing, livability, and the environment. The evaluation compared the relative benefits of various choices. Important questions were answered such as, “What reduces the carbon footprint the most: increasing density, providing mixed-use centers, or improving the car fleet efficiency?”
Some of the most important findings of the scenario analysis project were:
Building a sustainable Superstition Vistas, which can serve as a new center in the Arizona Sun Corridor, is physically feasible.
Strategic planning and investment will yield significant benefits over the “no plan” option, both in terms of financial return and in producing a more sustainable, equitable, and economically viable Superstition Vistas region.
Sustainable or “green” building practices can be highly effective at reducing carbon footprint and water consumption, but the more expensive techniques can outstrip benefits. A strategic approach should be used to select the most cost-effective practices to guide development.
The benefits of a sustainable transportation system, robust local economy, and balanced housing supply are integrally linked – an overarching development strategy for Superstition Vistas that does not incorporate each element will result in sub-par results and impose costs on future generations.
Scenario D makes natural landscape protection a high priority and has a population density higher than most cities in America.
It has the smallest footprint of all the scenarios.
Employment and housing is focused in four major urban centers.
Two-thirds of housing consists of townhouses, apartments and condominiums.
Residents and employees get around easily on foot, bike, or rail and bus transit.
Scenario D has no development in the foothill areas and the largest preservation of habitat.
This scenario has the most open space but fewer urban parks because of its concentrated urban area.
Redondo Beach and Miami are cities with similar density.
Scenario X and Scenario S
Scenario X represented what it might look if Superstition Vistas pursued typical Phoenix-area development. Scenario S is a composite of the best aspects of Scenarios B, C, and D, and ultimately became the optimized scenario.
Scenario X was designed to reflect a plausible future in which no coordinated or advanced planning has been done for Superstition Vistas.
Scenario X reflects the suburban-style development patterns that have predominated in Arizona and much of the nation for the last 50 years.
Housing densities are generally low, transportation infrastructure tends to favor automobiles over walking, biking, and transit, and the natural features in Superstition Vistas (washes, habitat areas) are encroached upon.