The Planning Center
a  110 s church ste. 6320 tucson az 85701 p  520.623.6146 w e
We would like to thank all of our "Partners In Success" for supporting and helping us reach this year's milestone of 25 years in Tucson. In that time, we've served more than 675 clients and communities throughout the southwestern United States and Mexico. Our office opened in 1985 as a branch of the original California firm and was purchased by the current owners in 2000, making this also our 10th anniversary of being locally owned and operated. The first Tucson area project was the La Paloma Master Plan, which established The Planning Center as the premier master planning consulting firm in Southern Arizona. This specialty continues to be our major strength, along with various additional services such as Landscape Architecture and Community and Regional Planning. Beginning with this issue, we will be profiling many of our signature projects. We look forward to adding your project to that list.
A Look Back
La Paloma
In 1985, La Paloma was the first master planned development in Southern Arizona designed by The Planning Center to be in harmony with the natural environment.
Featured Service
Public Participation
At The Planning Center, we believe that when communities come together to discuss an issue, they are able to obtain a better understanding of their vision for the future. One of the most crucial aspects of the public involvement process is to engage and educate participants. Our public involvement processes are designed to meet the diverse needs of the community, elected and appointed officials, major stakeholders, and public agencies. By using collaborative planning tools that engage participants and maintain the community's momentum, we are able to generate constructive results.

As part of our approach, we tailor the public participation program to include a variety of outreach strategies designed to increase participation. These strategies include park bench interviews, design charrettes, focus groups, community visioning, strategy workshops, web surveys, oral histories, art and poetry competitions, and any other form of involvement that resonates with the community.
Public Participation
Community stakeholders luncheon, Bisbee, Arizona
Featured Project
City of El Mirage
Traditional public participation events, such as public meetings and open houses, require people to come to them, usually on a weeknight after the dinner hour. The problem with this method is some people don't have the time to attend such events, others are too shy to speak in large group settings or groups with domineering individuals, and some don't have transportation to get to the meeting. As a result, the voices of certain demographic groups are underrepresented in the process. To address this problem, and in the spirit of
Park Bench Interviews
Park bench community participants outside the Walmart Super Center, El Mirage, Arizona
originality and innovation, instead of asking people to come to us, we go to them. Over the period of a long weekend in El Mirage, during a 112-degree Arizona summer, we did just that: we set up a "park bench" scene and conducted interviews at the following four locations in the City:
  • City Community Clean-Up Event
  • Pueblo El Mirage Banquet Hall
  • Walmart Supercenter
  • Dysart High School
The interviews were compiled into podcasts and broadcasted on the City's website.

With this initial input, the team conducted a one-week design charrette that included a series of feedback loops. The charrette was the catalytic event of a dynamic planning process, functioning as a collaborative city-wide event that lasted six days. The goal of the charrette was to produce a feasible plan that would benefit from the support of all stakeholders through its implementation. A multidisciplinary charrette team, consisting of consultants and planning staff, produced this plan.
The Planning Center was awarded the 2009 State Planning Award for "Public Participation" by the Arizona chapter of the American Planning Association for the week-long El Mirage General Plan Design Charrette.
Linda Morales has been appointed the 2010-2011 chair of the Southern Arizona Steering Committee for the Urban Land Institute.
Deadline for Pima County Comprehensive Plan Updates and Sahuarita General Plan Amendments is April 30, 2010.
About the Project Manager
Maria Masque is a principal with The Planning Center and oversees the Community and Regional Planning Division of the firm. She coordinates outreach efforts, moderates high profile public participation programs, and serves as quality control officer for the long-range planning projects of the firm. She has 21 years of experience working in the planning field.
About the Outreach Coordinator
Raquel Goodrich is a project manager with The Planning Center in the Community and Regional Planning Division of the firm. She has over seven years of experience in public participation and meeting facilitation, including organizing and leading public events and workshops throughout New England and Arizona.
Recently Approved Projects
Alta Vista Northwest Park Rezoning (Town of Marana)
Quiktrip Rezoning on Ajo Way (City of Tucson)
Rancho Sahuarita Sign Code Amendments (Town of Sahuarita)
Vail Road South Rezoning (Pima County)
Sahuarita Corners Rezoning (Pima County)

New Projects
Water Harvesting Informational Forum
Bioscience Park Student Housing Project
Solar Zone @ UA Tech Park
Valencia Road/I-10 Specific Plan

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