Our recent study led by Michelle Stuhlmacher questioned how urban riparian sites with differing design intentions link to environmental outcomes over time: including heat, vegetation, and bird biodiversity.
Site 1. The Rio Salado in Tempe was redeveloped with economic, recreational, and ecological design goals
Intentions: Recreational area that also supports economic activities and ecological functioning
- Increased surface water from lake and stormwater drains
- Area was found to be cooler and greener over time
- Habitat supported more waterbird and warbler species
Site 2. The New River in Peoria experienced a developer-driven urbanization
Intentions: Built up commercial and residential land-use
- Ephemeral (seasonal) water, drier overall
- Less vegetation and hotter temperatures
- Habitat supported urban-dwelling and generalist bird species
Stuhlmacher, M., Andrade, R., Turner II, B. L., Frazier, A., & Li, W. (2020). Environmental Outcomes of Urban Land System Change: Comparing Riparian Design Approaches in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Land Use Policy, 99, 104615. Link to paper.