Studio Ma cools streets by linking transit, shade and housing

PRD 845 is a modest housing development with a mews layout that opens the property to breezes and shade for active, live-work lifestyles. (Courtesy of Studio Ma/AZRE)


For the extreme heat of the desert Southwest, where temperatures are reaching 110°F and higher this summer, can transit-oriented development improve the quality of life?

The answer is yes. Through collaborations on several new projects, the Phoenix-based firm Studio Ma — a specialist in environmental design and architecture — has shown how to cool streets with natural shade and building overhangs, enhance pedestrian experience, and even make streets more attractive and usable.

The work on transit-oriented developments (TODs) also show promise for increasing ridership on buses and the Valley Metro Light Rail line. Of great interest to local officials, TODs are seens as techniques for Phoenix to continue its smart-growth and environmental conservation policies.


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