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Site Analysis Down Town Gilbert Arizona : Perception and visual interpretation

On the arterial road of Gilbert road, downtown is visually defined between two penetrable edges: Rail road crossing on south side and Gilbert Road Crossing Trail or irrigation canal on the north side. Within this visual limit of downtown perception, Gilbert Road remains the major path of cars and pedestrians simultaneously. As we drive through downtown, from observer’s point of view, the short path does not allow enough time to take sufficient mental pictures in order to be motivated and having the desire of exploring the downtown. The small scale of downtown gives the impression of semi private rather than a public place in the past, giving the impression that in this small town everybody knows each other, the feeling of being strangers after all or the presence of a cult or a specific group of people working and living there particularly the scent of barbeque is associated with that section.

As we approach downtown Gilbert from any directions, the presence of Water Tower as a historic landmark feature evokes us a strong image of an agricultural community in transformation towards an early industrial town. The passage of train occasionally changes entirely the perception of downtown giving an image of industrial city connecting to other places.

Recent Liberty Market on the intersection of West Page Avenue and Gilbert Road draw our attention to explore Water Tower at eye level discovering more the history of the town; surprisingly we discover Hale Theater Center which used to be imperceptible as well as the discovery of an empty Farmer Market in which an event takes place occasionally. All these discoveries make us aware of an existing District in evolution in which people perceive as having some common identifying character. Oregano, a recent commercial development at 2nd Street and Gilbert Road has expanded downtown to the north adding vitality to the urban environment.

With the recent improvements, downtown Gilbert has reached a base for a greater expansion and developments, and in order to increase expansion, the equation of 3-E sustainability could apply to bring Equity, meaning people, which create forces to generate Economy providing a sustainable Environment for downtown and ultimately the 3-E equation impacts positively the entire municipality.

The potential of downtown Gilbert is enormous; the abundance of industrial unused sites next to railroad suggests we are able to reuse these sites for a Mix-Used building within the limit of downtown rather to build another commercial structure such as Santan Village with a single use in no man’s land. One’s could imagine what would have been the outcome if a sustainable Santan Village was built in downtown Gilbert?



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