The Rio Reimagined

Metro Phoenix, Arizona

Weaving resilience and equity into the future.

Dig Studio was selected as a finalist as part of a design competition team led by AECOM for the Rio Salado river ecosystem restoration. The plan braids ecological, social, and physical layers to restore resiliency, create public amenities, catalyze development, and protect and enhance neighborhoods and ecosystems.

Several themes were combined for the winning entry. Destinations are created by leveraging opportunities to reclaim landfills and mines. A restored river follows its natural course and takes advantage of the high-water table. Undevelopable areas are repurposed as Sponge Parks to combine flood mitigation, water treatment, and heat abatement.

  • Terraces along the river enable natural cooling, with cooling towers circulating air through the community.

  • Heat reduction is accomplished through low heat surfaces, pervious materials, light colored / low albedo materials, increased tree canopy, and subsurface cooling.

  • Linear Parks and Complete Streets braid through neighborhoods, integrating recreation and opportunities to experience the river.

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