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Desert Discovery Center Community Workshop – November 30th

As part of SAAR’s ongoing support for community outreach, awareness and encouragement to provide productive input for the current feasibility study being conducted on the Desert Discovery Center; we encourage Scottsdale residents and our REALTOR® members to Register for one of the free Community Workshop sessions available on Wednesday, November 30th.

Space for these sessions are filling up fast; at the time of posting this notice the only remaining sessions with space available are from 4:30pm – 7pm.  Click here for Registration and then select an available time/session from the menu.  Once selected, you will click on the Calendar date of November 30, which will open the “Book it” link for finalizing your registration if space is still available for that session time.


See below for the DDC Community Workshop invite:


Desert Discovery Center Community Workshop


The city of Scottsdale and its nonprofit partner, Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale, Inc., invite you to a public workshop regarding the proposed concept for the Desert Discovery Center. Please attend to meet the experience designer – Thinc Design – and architect – Swaback Partners. They will be leading a workshop that will highlight the new Desert Discovery Center concept.


The workshop will be held on Wednesday, November 30. Registration is required and a number of time slots are available from 3 to 7 p.m. To register, please select the time that works best for you and plan on actively participating for about 1 ½ hours.


Please note: One registration per person. Those who register should be prepared to participate in the planning process for the proposed Desert Discovery Center at the Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (located at the Preserve perimeter — Thompson Peak/Bell Road). The Scottsdale City Council has directed further study of the DDC concept at this location.


It is vital that those who are enthusiastic and supportive of the Desert Discovery Center planning attend the workshop.  Thanks for your support!


Project Update


Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale has hired Thinc Design as its experience designer for the Desert Discovery Center concept. Thinc Design has developed world-class projects of national and international significance — most notably the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The firm’s focus is on history, natural history, culture and the environment.


The Thinc Design team will be sharing more information about the developing concept at the Nov. 30 community workshop. To-date, they have provided a  Summary of Outcomes (PDF) that gives a glimpse into the aspirations guiding the Desert Discovery Center’s experience design:


The DDC should inspire future generations to preserve and protect – the story of the Preserve is an invitation to see the potential and value of local preservation, at all scales, and it will inspire local pride and ownership that will grow stewardship in current and future generations

  • The DDC should educate – alignments with STEM and STEAM frameworks will inform the design concepts and exhibits, supporting the educational mandate of the Center
  • The DDC should build anticipation for exploration – an experience that stirs people’s imagination, curiosity and sense of discovery … for many, it will be their first exposure to the real desert
  • The DDC should show people the “world of the desert” – the desert cannot be seen in a day or on a single hike … there are things happening below the surface and inside plants that most of us cannot see, as well as off-trail locations where species are known to congregate or ancient sites with petroglyphs that must stay undisturbed
  • The DDC should support tourism – many people seek experiences that connect them with the “real place”: authentic knowledge, cultural practices and activities … the Center is ideally placed to align with the strategy of the Scottsdale Tourism Advisory Task Force’s long-term plan for interpretation on the climate and ecology of the desert
  • The DDC should be inclusive – design planning will address accessibility for all visitors, including experiences that can replicate some of how the desert “feels” for those who cannot have a direct encounter
  • The DDC should be a model of sustainable design and practice – in its architecture and exhibit design, the Center should be sensitive to the landscape and create the least amount of visual interruptions and impact on the environment … the eventual size of the Center has been of particular concern and we should aim to define its size in terms of what is needed to achieve the mission and economic and environmental viability … in its operations, the Center should follow practices for sustainable cohabitation with neighboring residents, including traffic and parking management