MSP Guidelines

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McDowell Sonoran Preserve Access Area Guidelines:  Based on extensive field studies, research and public outreach, the MPS Access Area Guidelines comprise nearly 60 pages of comprehensive standards to guide the future development of the 36,000 acre Preserve’s access areas, trailheads, and amenities.  The guidelines include inherent processes that serve as modern demonstration projects, exhibiting sustainable desert design and construction practices, and a methodology for achieving the established goals. The implementation of the Preserve access areas are intended to push the envelope in the development and utilization of sustainable desert design and construction practices.  When completed, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve will encompass approximately one-third of Scottsdale’s total land area and will be one of the largest urban preserves in the country.

Because implementation will be completed over several years, it was critical to establish criteria and methodologies that would maintain consistently high standards for adherence by future design and management teams, while staying consistent to the Preserve’s philosophy and educational goals.  To accomplish this, the Guidelines established strict criteria for not only site and architectural design but also site selection, review / approval processes and construction techniques. This project received the President’s Award from the AZASLA for its overall understanding of how to guide future design and implementation and for its overall clarity and ease of use.


City of Scottsdale

Design Team

Floor Associates

Weddle + Gilmore Architects

Thinking Caps


36,400 Acres


Landscape Architecture

Master Planning


Fourth Quarter 2003