• The Central Idea

    Communicating our grandest ambitions in the most vivid manner

  • Reimagining the Rio Salado

    The Valley's most impactful green infrastructure project in a century

  • Ten Across

    A compelling window on the future of the U.S.


The UCX is by definition an entrepreneurial enterprise.  We apply the best practices and “design thinking” to a wide array of complex challenges- some assigned, others invented- all in the service of the university.  We are also frequently requested to take on strategic assignments related to education, health, and institutional advancement within ASU.

The work of UCX reflects the broad scope of the New American University agenda, responding to solution-based projects in multiple sectors.

  • Architecture
  • City Networks
  • Design Thinking
  • Regional Strategic Urban Planning
  • Smart Cities
  • Placemaking
  • Urban Design
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Urban Development
  • Sustainable Design
  • Real Estate Development and Partnerships



The reciprocal relationship between the university and the city is most apparent at the local scale. The institution exists within and is a part of the community and therefore must contribute to its betterment in every way as part of its core mission. Synchronizing multi-stakeholder interests on both sides of the equation through customized project development is a function of the UCX.

Central Idea

Positioned along a 1.5 mile course of Central Avenue, this project prompts a redefinition of street, park, museum, university, event, city, and community for the context of an arid environment.

Scottsdale Desert Edge

ASU serves in this partnership with the largest urban preserve in the U.S. as the academic partner, dedicated to sustainability, world-class research, and community engagement.



ASU is an essential driver of the regional economy. As a pipeline for a highly skilled workforce and a catalyst for entrepreneurship, technology transfer, cultural engagement and the creation of sustainable communities, the university has an important role in helping elevate the profile of the region and state. The UCX identifies the point of convergence between the urban challenges of this rapidly growing area and the larger opportunities to be seized by addressing them.

Rio Salado Project

US Senator John McCain is catalyzing a visionary concept for the future economic, social and environmental vitality along the Rio Salado.


The basis is the convergence of the ASU Polytechnic campus and the adjacent Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, AZ to address the most urgent global challenges. These objectives support a regional economic development strategy which combines our heritage and our contemporary industrial assets.



Both ASU and the Phoenix metro are representative of national and global trends regarding rapid urbanization in arid climates. As one of the largest research universities in the country- ranked number one in innovation by US News & World Report- ASU is fully prepared to engage with issues at scale with an nation context in mind. The UCX unites our perspective in a desert metropolis with knowledge creation, context building, new narratives, and effective partnerships across the U.S.

10 Across

I-10 intersects with critical ports, energy infrastructure, immigrant populations, and the site of the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history- Hurricane Katrina. As such, we propose it serve as a living laboratory for understanding the present we have constructed and the creation of new scripts  for the future.