Community of Civano


An Effective Practice


Civano is a model community in Arizona that demonstrates that the goals of sustainability and marketability are not irreconcilable. Civano's planning integrates residential communities with shopping, workplace, school, and civic facilities essential to the daily life of the residents, as well as parks and natural open spaces vital for relaxation, enjoyment, and preservation of the area's natural landscape and heritage. Passive and active solar principles, sustainable building materials, and water conservation technologies are key elements across Civano.

Goal / Mission

The overall mission of the Civano Community is:
- To create a sense of place that fosters community and connects people to one another and their natural environments
- To tread lighter on the land through innovative design, and
- To introduce sustainable construction materials and new technologies to advance the quality of life.

Specific performance targets include:
- Reduce energy consumption by 75%
- Reduce potable water consumption by 65%
- Reduce landfill-destined solid waste by 90%
- Reduce internal vehicle trip miles by 40%, and
- Create one community job for every 2 residences.

Results / Accomplishments

Civano is an ongoing experiment in urban design. The grand opening of Civano's first neighborhood was held April 16, 1999. At the core of the neighborhood is the one-acre neighborhood center, including a bakery, Welcome and Education Center, conference center, and landscaped plaza with cool tower all constructed with a variety of alternative building materials that incorporate solar energy and water conservation systems. The neighborhood also features a recreation center with tennis, swimming, ramada, and other facilities; as well as a community garden and learning center.

During construction, the nursery has salvaged 50 desert trees and plants for every acre developed. The program has so far saved over 2,400 plants and nearly 500 mature trees. Civano landscaping has been done primarily using native, drought-tolerant plants, demonstrating the principles of passive solar shading, permaculture, xeriscaping, and water harvesting techniques. Civano's residences use 50 percent less energy than the 1995 Tucson model energy code, and 65 percent less potable water. The strict energy and building code that has been used will result in enough energy savings to prevent one billion pounds of carbon emissions from entering our atmosphere over the next two decades.

Based on the Civano experience, the City of Tuscon has begun a city- wide sustainable development initiative using public participation to define the priorities. Other impacts include the adoption of new state legislation to promote the use of solar energy and national funding for photovoltaic product development.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Wayne Moody
(520) 889-6207
Environment / Built Environment
Environment / Energy & Sustainability
Social Environment / Neighborhood/Community Attachment
CDC Partners, LLC; City of Tucson; and Fannie Mae
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Tuscon, AZ
For more details

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