Knowledge Center

  • The Class I Cultural Resources Overview: A Developer’s Best Friend

    Chris Watkins, MA, RPAIs there anything quite like deep sea fishing? Once that line is in the water, you’re never quite sure what you are going to pull up, assuming you even get a bite. Experienced fishermen have certain expectations when they go to sea; some fishing spots are better than others, one type of fish is much more common in one area of the ocean than another. I would be surprised if I pulled up say, a mermaid, but who knows? The ocean is a big place after all.

    The work of cultural resources is a little like deep sea fishing. We, as archaeologists, can’t be 100 percent sure about what is under the ground until we start digging. With the immense desert landscape in Arizona, cultural resources are sure to be present in various locations. In keeping with responsible environmental planning practices, archaeologists are regularly tasked with protecting culturally significant artifacts from damage that may result from modern development projects. However, we do have tools and techniques that we can put to work to greatly narrow our expectations about what might be present beneath the ground surface.

    One quick and effective tool is the Class I Cultural Resources Overview. In a Class I, an archaeologist will research a project area, whether it is the route of a proposed road project or a new development to determine if any archaeological sites have been located nearby. This includes the summary of any previous archaeological investigations. In some cases, more time intensive techniques, such as an archaeological survey, have already been implemented. Therefore, we can say with a high degree of certainty if cultural sites are in the area. In other cases, we can look at nearby sites, the general environment, and other resources, and assess the likelihood of cultural resources being present in the given project area.
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  • Evaluating Visual Effects of Projects on Traditional Cultural Property

    Kathryn Leonard, M.A., RPA

    In this article, we will analyze how the National Register Bulletin 38 affects evaluations of visual resources in the assessment of cultural resources – specifically, properties the National Register has defined as Traditional Cultural Property.

    National Register Bulletin 38 establishes a general definition for Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) as a particular type of historic properties that is “eligible for inclusion in the National Register because of its association with cultural practices or beliefs of a living community that (a) are rooted in that community’s history, and (b) are important in maintaining the continuing cultural identity of the community.”

    Like cultural landscapes, TCPs are not considered an “official” NRHP properties type. However, unlike cultural landscapes, they can take the form of all five NRHP-recognized properties types:
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  • Vision + Visualization

    Jeremy Call, RLA

    The effectiveness of community planning from leading organizations can be traced back to their stated vision or – in some cases – a lack thereof. A mission statement, or vision, that combines timeless principles with passion and purpose can have a powerful influence on a firm or team’s legacy.

    For city managers, vision statements are narrated through strategic, general, and comprehensive plans. However, for land managers, aspirations take the form of “desired future conditions” and “management goals” with respect to resource management plans. All too often, the core statements of the planner’s vision gets lost in the vast documentation, if found at all. The proverb, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” can easily be referenced to important realities faced in community planning. “Where there is no vision, the resources perish, and so does the community. read more

  • Historic Archaeology with Logan Simpson Design

    Mark Hackbarth, RPALogan Simpson Design recently completed a historic archaeology project in downtown Phoenix at the construction site for the new Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Complex. LSD has extensive experience conducting recovery excavations, archival research, and documenting and evaluating historic archaeological sites in the Old Phoenix Townsite.

    In May 2012 construction crews at Fifth Avenue and Jackson Street unexpectedly unearthed graves predating 1885. LSD  archaeologists responded to complete a phased data recovery excavation and burial recovery project while construction activities continued elsewhere on the site. The archaeological dig and associated research brought to light the city’s mysterious, long-forgotten cemetery and failed railroad company. read more

  • Community Values Form the Basis for Parks and Open Space Planning

    Jana McKenzie, FASLA, LEED-AP

    Jeremy Call, RLAAs the recession loosens its grip, cities and counties are putting deferred maintenance and capital projects behind them and strategically positioning themselves for future growth by investing in parks and open space. Compelling community planning visions are built upon shared values of community identity, community health, and—while some may shy from this word—community happiness. Communities can leverage their parks and open space system to help enliven old neighborhoods and commercial areas, attract and retain employers, improve safety, and overall physical and economic health. read more

  • Section 404: More than Just Waters

    Jeremy CasteelWhether our client is a state, a municipality, or even a private developer, the shadow of environmental compliance under Section 404 is often cast over their various development goals, dreams, and ventures.

    And unfortunately, because of its high level of complexity, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ comprehensive Clean Water Act Section 404 permit program may be difficult for even the experienced “permittee” to fully comprehend. Add into consideration the subjectivity inherent to a Section 404 Jurisdictional Delineation or permit application, and those without a history of spotting how the necessary regulations evolve are likely to be all the more overwhelmed. read more

  • Integrating Accessible Access into a more Universal Environment

    Jerry MoarLike many who read the story and saw the second grade class photo at Herbert Spencer Elementary in New Westminster, B.C, I was heartbroken by the separation of 7-year old Miles Ambridge (far right) from the rest of his classmates.

    With a huge grin on his face, Miles, diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, is leaning as far as he can just to feel like a part of the group. And though the photographer did not  deliberately separate Miles from his classmates, there’s no doubt that with a little more consideration and a little more understanding, the photographer and teacher could have avoided the hurtful mistake altogether. read more

  • NEPA Considerations: Environmental Justice and Just Sustainability

    If you’ve ever worked on a project with a federal nexus (federal funding, crossing federal lands or expected impacts to air or water regulated by federal law), chances are you’ve addressed Environmental Justice (EJ) through the standard approach. You likely began by asking yourself a number of important questions.

    Would the project adversely impact the environmental or human health conditions of minority or low-income communities? read more

  • Logan Simpson Design Environmental Planning: The Wildfire Threat

    Richard RemingtonWith every passing year, wildfires are becoming more common and more dangerous. From California to Colorado, environmental planning consultant firms such as Logan Simpson Design, are playing an increasingly important role in working to prevent the environmental desolation caused by wildfires.

    From wildlife destruction to forest devastation, the environmental impact brought about by wildfires is staggering. On July 23 , according to the National Interagency Fire Center 23 large fires were burning in over nine states, wildfires were clearly nothing less than a national threat. read more

  • Arizona – Landscape Architecture Firm: Logan Simpson Design and Paolo Soleri

    “If you had told me fifty years ago that I would build my activities from the proceeds of wind bells, I would have said you were crazy.”

    -Paolo Soleri

    Rod Stanger, RLAAs I sat in a concrete, fortified studio bunker across the table from Paolo Soleri, I marveled at the 93-year-old’s continual passion, spit, wit and enthusiasm. Soleri, well known to many Arizona environmental consultants, architects, and landscape architects, is the founder of Arcosanti, a beautiful urban studio located 60 miles north of Phoenix in the high desert  where students come from far and wide to learn his timeless philosophy of “leanness and elegant frugality.”

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