Institute of the Environment 2017

Setting Their Sights on a Sustainable Supercorridor

Sunday, February 22, 2015

In the UA’s Sustainable City Project (SCP) design studio in downtown Tucson, students Bernardo Teran and Kendra Hyson are reimagining roadways and urban space for the 21st century. Their plan would harness solar and wind energy and reclaim water through condensation, gray water, and rainwater harvesting systems, says Linda Samuels, SCP’s director.

In collaboration with Arizona State University and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Teran, Hyson, and 37 other architecture, planning, and landscape architecture students at the UA are exploring how the proposed Interstate 11 freeway could transform our decades-old model of transportation-dominant freeways with a technologically advanced and sustainably minded supercorridor of smart infrastructure, Samuels says.

The I-11 project would link Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson as part of the larger CANAMEX project to connect Canada to Mexico through the U.S.

Funded by grants from the Renewable Energy Network, which is housed within IE, and the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainable Solutions Initiative at ASU, the project has convened a local, state, and regional research team and is already sharing plans and ideas with the Arizona Department of Transportation, Samuels says.

“As long as transportation planners and engineers work in isolation, we will have cities planned around transportation problems solved with engineering solutions,” she says. “This is about thinking more holistically. How can we encourage questions of mobility to be considered with other questions of environmental and social planning?”