Explore the ALAC Alley of the Arts and other unique Downtown Phoenix alleys at Phoenix Urban Design Week. (Photo: Lauren Potter)
It’s that time of year again when urban planners, dwellers and advocates envision the future of our city. The sixth annual Phoenix Urban Design Week, which runs Feb. 10-18, offers quite the packed schedule. So if you’ve never been to this design-focused week of community building, the schedule can be a little daunting. In fact, more than 30 events focused on sustainability, placemaking and the built environment are slated for the week-long series. Thankfully, we’ve done some of the leg work for you and picked out five of the best events for PHXUDW newbies. Visit the Phoenix Urban Design Week website for a full list of Valley-wide tours, talks, happy hours and workshops, and be sure to register online. FORTuitous: Family Fort Building / Saturday, Feb. 11 / 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Remember the days when you’d turn a table and chairs upside down, cover them with a blanket and pillows and hide away in your own secret fort? Yeah, we wish we could do that again, too. And at Phoenix Urban Design Week you can — using boxes donated by local mattress startup Tuft & Needle. Bring the whole family for a day of creative fort-building in the sunshine hosted by downtown artist and mom Chris Pruitt. Roosevelt Row Temporary Street Art Activations / Saturday, Feb. 11 / 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Leave your creative mark on Downtown Phoenix with this fun stencil making workshop. Design RePublic is bringing their design toolbox on wheels to Roosevelt Row for a crafty afternoon of stencil making and street art. Make your own stencil and use it onsite or take it home to celebrate and beautify landscapes. Of course, please only use stencils on private property where you have permission to leave your creative mark. Meet Me Downtown: Phoenix Alleys & Public Art Walking Tour / Monday, Feb. 13 / Check-in 5:15-6:30 p.m. Get out and about for some healthy exercise at the Meet Me Downtown weekly social walk/run. At this special edition of MMDT, Phoenix native and downtown advocate Jeff Sherman will take you on a journey through alleys and plazas throughout Downtown Phoenix. Enjoy a little history lesson and Instagram-worthy public art along the way. Free. Sweetheart Lunch in the Park / Tuesday, Feb. 14 / 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Food. Music. Sunshine. Friends. What more could you want? Spread the love and help end hunger on Valentine’s Day with a picnic in the park in Downtown Phoenix. Bring your sweetheart and/or friends to peruse dozens of handcrafted ceramic bowls. Take one home for a $12 donation and get a free lunch provided by the Cafe at Phoenix Public Market. Live music by local vocalist Holly Pyle will help to set the vibe. You can also learn about the City of Phoenix’s parklet design and build kit, which allows meter parking spaces to transform into public spaces. LFA For(u)m: Cultivating Temporary Use / Thursday, Feb. 16 / 6-8 p.m. While Phoenix is known for its award-winning pizza and amazing arts scene, it’s also known for its vacant lots. How do we utilize these in-between spaces to maintain pride in our community and build a vision for future Downtown Phoenix projects? Discuss these questions and more in a thoughtful conversation between community advocates and leaders Kenny Barrett of Roosevelt Growhouse/Valley of the Sunflowers, Dorina Bustamante of Downtown Phoenix Inc, Alan Stephenson of the City of Phoenix, and others.