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    A Desert Development

    by B.J. Novitski

    An unusual development is growing out of the Sonoran Desert, at the foot of the McDowell Mountains near Scottsdale, Arizona. This region is home to both the beautiful saguaro cactus and a legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Now, DC Ranch is also making it home to a new community.

    Once a working cattle ranch, the 8300-acre (3400-hectare) ranch is being converted to an upscale mixed-use community with a master plan created by urban planners Swaback Partners and landscape architects Bowden Design Group. More than half the land will remain untouched as part of the McDowell Sonoran preserve.

    Over the next few years DC Ranch will become the site of schools, churches, stores, restaurants, medical buildings, offices, a public library, private golf course, and custom and spec houses, both single- and multifamily. Nearly every homesite borders natural open space or desert.

    The developers want to promote active, convivial neighborhoods. This is reflected in miles of pedestrian paths, hiking and biking trails, and neighborhood parks. It is further supported by "front-of-house" outdoor living spaces such as porches, verandahs, and courtyards.

    Making a Difference

    According to Brent Herrington, vice president of DMB Realty, the developer of DC Ranch, the intention was to be different from typical suburban streets with houses lined with garage doors and driveways. In contrast the DC Ranch design features, he says, "help to create a casual, spontaneous interaction between neighbors and foster a strong sense of community."

     

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    ArchWeek Photo

    A house in the DC Ranch development near Scottsdale, Arizona, built by Malouf Homes.
    Photo: DC Ranch

    ArchWeek Photo

    The interior designed by Malouf Homes pays homage to Southwestern history and traditional materials.
    Photo: DC Ranch

     

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