Desert Pines Redevelopment
Shortly after approving its 2050 Master Plan, the City of Las Vegas identified a site where it could begin implementing its recommendations. Desert Pines is a 100-acre, city-owned golf course in the heart of East Las Vegas, an area historically disadvantaged by lack of investment in infrastructure and services. The city partnered with a multidisciplinary SmithGroup team to develop a vision plan for what the neighborhood could become.
The Desert Pines Vision Plan outlines recommendations for an activated urban neighborhood with a range of mixed-income housing, commercial space, new educational and workforce training opportunities, multi-modal transit, recreational facilities, water conservation efforts, and access to nature. The plan highlights the city’s initiative for more proactive, equitable community planning in contrast to traditional market-rate development that can lead to additional gentrification. Because the Desert Pines plan was developed at the same time as the broader East Las Vegas Plan—also a SmithGroup project—the effort included robust community engagement and employs strategies that can be expanded and applied beyond its boundaries.
It addresses the need for attainable housing with a mix of affordable and market-rate housing types, including townhouses, duplexes, multi-family units, single-family homes and senior living. A central community park becomes the centerpiece of civic resources such as a community center, a workforce training center, and a new satellite campus for the College of Southern Nevada.
This resiliency-driven plan is designed to aid in water conservation efforts within multi-family housing components, taking advantage of the major drainage way that passes under the site to improve stormwater management New solar panels and microgrid opportunities seek to harness the power of the sun with more resilient systems. Planting new trees and preserving open space reduces the heat island effect and provides healthy recreation opportunities including a soccer pitch, various sports courts, and walking trails.
The Desert Pines Vision Plan received overwhelming support from local residents, was endorsed by the mayor and was quickly adopted by the Las Vegas City Council. Currently, the City and SmithGroup are working with McCormack Baron Salazar, a developer of economically integrated urban neighborhoods across the United States, to refine the plan and begin implementation. Desert Pines is a project that is building trust and enthusiasm within the East Las Vegas community, as residents see planning ideas turn into action for positive change.