« Inflection points | Main | Culture of corruption »

April 14, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Even if lyrical, the name 'Pboenix' carries a particular burden:

At the peak of its existence the mythical namesake would burn to ashes. Phoenix has recently completed its nest-pyre of twigs.

The cycle of the Phoenix lasts a millennium. When will the egg next hatch?

Where can the beautiful song be heard over the whoosh, rumbles, and honks of automobiles?

A little perspective from the land south of the Gila:

I like to refer to the Phoenix Metropolitan Area as "The Conurbation," which is a British term that describes an urban area formed from many cities which have simply grown into each other. I like the word because it is an apt description of what has happened in Maricopa County, but also because it sounds like something that a Calvinist would rail against as naughty. On my brother's blog, he calls it "The Valley of The Yakes," which is a term that came to his attention thanks to the popular 1980s Phoenix skate-punk band JFA. Of course, both of us are smug outsiders, observing the development of Maricopa County at a distance from the relative safety of Tucson.

Mr. Talton has touched on an interesting aspect of sense of place in greater Phoenix. Beyond what he has discussed, one thing I have found interesting is what these names and how they are used reflects resident's sense of geography. My personal observation is that the terms "Arizona," "The Valley," and "Maricopa County" are largely interchangeable to the business community, political leadership, and media in the Phoenix area. In fairness, I think folks in Phoenix include the White Mountains, and perhaps even the Grand Canyon or Sedona when they say "Arizona," but not as discreet places with their own history, values, and identities, but as part of a recreational hinterland. Tucson and Southern Arizona seem not to figure into the discussion at all. This is how legislators can claim with a straight face that Pinal County borders Mexico.

In contrast, we Tucsonans usually say "Tucson" when they are talking about our own metropolitan area, reserving "Arizona" to refer to the state as a whole. I noticed, for example, just a few weeks ago that the roller derby league organized in Phoenix is called "Arizona Roller Derby," as if they represent the whole state, while Tucson's league is more modestly called "Tucson Roller Derby." Something about being removed from the center of political and economic power in the state tends to give us a sense of perspective.

Occasionally, a local organization will call itself "Southern Arizona..." which may well mean "Yes, our office is in Tucson, and everybody on our board is from Tucson, but if we are called out to Ajo or Nogales for some reason, it is certainly within our mission statement." In the same vein, a local arts organization who works almost entirely in Oro Valley and Marana has given itself the rather grandiose name of "Southern Arizona Arts and Culture Alliance" in an apparent effort to position itself better to receive grant money.

Nevertheless, there is a real sense of region, whether that be "Greater Tucson," "Southern Arizona," or, more recently "Baja Arizona." The latter is a shorthand way of saying "We're not Phoenix." "Phoenix," by the way, is how we refer to the whole conurbation, including Mesa and Glendale. Maybe some folks might find this unfair. Heck, Chandler and Gilbert look the same to us from here.

Dr. James Sell, one of my geography professors at the U of A, who now teaches at NAU, did most of his academic work on the subject of perceptions of place. The topic of names was a part of this. I remember him discussing Tucson's nickname of "The Old Pueblo" and how it has managed to survive for well over a century despite aggressive efforts by chamber of commerce types to replace it with something that they judge to be more forward thinking and marketable. Awkward and un-poetic monikers like "Sunshine Factory" and "Optics Valley" have entirely failed to catch on, which says a lot about who we are as a community and our business leadership's complete failure to understand this town.

Tom Prezelski

For some reason, this post reminds me of the 1992 presidential campaign when Rush Limbaugh campaigned for George HW Bush using the mantra "character matters". Bush had it. The meritocratic upstart Clinton? No. Similarly, Bush's wife Barbara had an expression to explicate one social station: "class will tell".

It's odd, of course, since the blueblood Bushs moved to Texas to make their loot and secure their status in the post-war American empire. Even so, they didn't discard their old Connecticut sense of self. Much of George W Bush's odd populism, in this way, can be seen as a reaction to his mother's hauteur. Barbara's pedigree - she traces her family tree back to a former president, Franklin Pierce - is vintage American aristocracy.

Americans love the British royal family almost as much as the Brits do. And we love settled neighborhoods with tree canopies and old houses suggesting old money. What most of don't like is a vulgarian like Donald Trump. But obviously somebody does. And that's the party of the deracinated exurbs, the GOP.

Margaret Thatcher, as much a hero to the American right as Ronald Reagan, embodied this schizophrenia with her dictum, "society doesn't exist". In other words, only the market is real and ancient Toryism is the useless ballast weighing down the ship of state. Business, on the other hand, obeys only what is real and its world-flattening imperatives.

These tensions and contradictions still live within us, however. Nancy Reagan relishes her role as an American royal even though her husband politically capitalized on America's devolution into a socially disconnected crudscape of housing pods and big-box shopping.

Phoenix, in this way, is traditional society. That is, the bits and pieces of central Phoenix that look settled, reflect institutional memory, and remind us of a different, more authentic era. The rest of the "Valley" may be economically stronger and wealthier, but its cachet is like the aftershave on a car salesman's face.

The perennial American argument about wealth and status is bound up with our fear that we've been excluded from its graces. Both liberals and conservatives hum this melody. We argue over the details, the myths, and the petty injustices but most of us, ultimately, want to belong to the best club. Our status anxiety is everywhere and defines our politics, mostly for the worse (as in the white-right) but occasionally for the better (historic preservation, new urbanism, and the arts). Recommended reading: Paul Fussell's Class. http://www.amazon.com/Class-Through-American-Status-System/dp/0671792253/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302786130&sr=8-1

I've lived in central Phoenix most of my life and would only consider older Tempe as an alternative possibility. Most of us want something better than the stucco wrapper on a McMansion or lookalike strip centers. Yes, we're often confused about this. We think new must always be better. But in our heart of hearts we've always longed for the tangible details of shared memory and love. If we can't find it in the real world, we'll invent it in the fantasy version. Just ask Sarah Palin.

This, PhART and PhART apparel - idea, is genius.

Blue Blood
“Down in the valley, the valley so low I lost my true lover a necking to low.” In the 50’s the valley in my world was everything between Peoria and Apache Junction and North Mountain to South Mountain. Paradise Valley was over the Mountain and only the oldest area of Scottsdale was considered in the Valley. Anything NE of Judson’s Girls school was not in the valley. “The Valley” got lost in the classless construction industry of domestic violence suburbia. Starting in the late sixties and continuing today the greed factor inches forward. Today the current emphasis is on moving all those upfront costs back from the contractors to the taxpayers by the current legislators whose wealthiest constituents are the commercial, home and road builders primarily situated in the “east valley.” And of course they plan to sell these products to tax hating people over 55.

Living in the hood of Slope (Sunnyslope) and working the fields of John Jacobs (19th avenue and the Arizona Canal) and the Carol Arthur farms (Glendale) and the fields by Luke AFB I didn’t think much about class, just how much an hour. Yesterday while reading an article on Rachel Carlson I recalled my DDT days and getting paid to wave that flag for the crop duster (airplane) that sprayed me on each pass over the fields.

If Class is the Bush family it’s thanks to their benefactor, Chase. I like Barbara Bush even if she didn’t keep her son George in the closet. Margret Thatcher is a believer in the idea that there are only 5000 people in the world, Bankers, everyone one else is a commodity. Nancy Reagan's closest association with a class act was her astrologer. Class is in my world a pair of Levis and a T-shirt with a pocket for my pen. My classless identity is very clear to me, I am an AH.

Today I see Phoenix as the beautiful little oasis that lost its way. And I wonder what the Old Pueblo would be like had it decided to aggressively expand outward instead of letting a bunch of little enclaves morph into small incorporated cities. Tucson is now pretty much surrounded. And the CPA water is virtually undrinkable. Aggressive is not the way of Tucson. I recall as a (Phoenix) Arizona Road Racer, running in highly organized running events but in Tucson the Southern Arizona Road Racers just showed up and said go. It was hard to find the starting place and the ending place was where ever you decided. However maybe Tucson did it right or Phoenix has yet to get it right and become a MEGACITY. Although current projections cap Phoenix’s population at 10 Million. The dream of Trantor lives on in the minds of many, however I daydream of a western US where one is only allowed in on foot and you can trek from the panhandle to the Pacific Ocean and seldom see a soul.

Personally I envision Phoenix someday as depicted by Abbey, a huge glass tower in a shrunken valley on fire and dry. Dry like the desert it is. And I am the last cowboy riding off into the distance on my recumbent followed by my faithful companion, Spot.

I like PhART as well! It is crude, yet endearing such as SLUT in South Lake Union...

I have trouble with the moniker of "The Valley" as well but (maybe because of the cocoon in which I live in) hardly hear it being used by residents in the Central City and never by a downtowner.

Light rail trains in Phoenix have increasingly been at crush load and I always hear suburbanites coming in from the eastern suburbs calling the trains the "Phoenix light rail" despite the fact that many boarded the thing in Mesa. Maybe the media and boosters will catch on soon enough?

About the sports teams (thank god for the Phoenix Suns) but I always wondered why teams besides the hockey and basketball team didn't use Phoenix in their name. Phoenix Diamondbacks doesn't roll off the tongue as eloquently, admittedly, but rumor has it that if an expansion of MLS (which would make sense given our Hispanic population) makes a home in Phoenix, the team is to be called "Phoenix Rising." Sounds sweet to me!

Y'all have crazylong comments.

Pre-Phoenix 101: "The Hohokam"

Southwest North America, 1400 A.D.

Hohokam elder: Let's get out of here. I have a bad feeling about this place.

Hohokam younger: But I like it here.

Hohokam elder: I had a vision of what it will be like in the future.

Hohokam younger: You been smoking that funny plant again?

Hohokam elder: No! Well, yes. It was a pretty scary vision. Let's leave now. We'll take all our stuff and we won't tell anyone where we're going.

Hohokam younger: Alright, but should we tell Cal we're leaving?

Hohokam elder: Nah, he won't leave, besides his dog scares me.

AZREBEL, just for U. Send me your E-mail and I will not bother the intellectual boys with my trash. The following is my electronic postcard I send out to all my red neck white republican buddies on Turkey day.
For about the last ten years.

Another Spurious White Man Holiday

I sit in the sweat lodge my peyote pipe in hand and lip, inhaling the smoke from nature’s herbs sprinkled with ground white lizard. I drift back in time. Terrible ancestral visions spring forward like a huge buck deer startled by the presences of an alien

I have visions of filthy Englishmen vermin infecting my children with their insidious diseases.

I see bedbug ridden Europeans chase our women and take them like dogs in heat.

My brothers slaughtered like pigs hung from a tree by these Anglo/Saxon Marauders.

The terrible visions pass and I am in a forest than opens onto a vast plain field with buffalo who romp in a gleaming river.

The men break from camp and pick one buffalo to provide for the tribe for a period of time. The other buffalo seem not to notice as if this is supposed to be the way.

The women and children surround the men and their prize. The tribe sets about enjoying the moment as if every day is a feast and every meal a banquet.

An elder interrupts my journey as he flips open the lodges flap and says “We must go as John Ashcroft has sent a team to seize illegal tribal medicine.

I step back into reality and realize I live in a place that really believes some Pirate name Columbus really discovered America and hasn’t got a clue the that the first people to come to America across an ocean (around 300 AD) were Japanese and that their ancestors the Zunis live in a canyon in New Mexico.

These same Anglo/Saxon marauding crusaders invented a mythical holiday and called it Thanksgiving. They celebrate it by driving a polluting vehicle to a store surrounded by concrete and asphalt where they buy a bird stuffed with more chemicals than a drug store.

They set a table and invite other white folks to eat a meal that was harvested at a supermarket not in a field or plain or valley or from the bush thickets that used to line the forests. They celebrate that a bunch of thugs called pilgrims actually survived their arrival into America but not because of the natives but because they pillaged, raped and killed these Natives.

Today’s ancestors of those who invent their own history have not a clue that America was once a great place to be an Indian.

Injun Calash

Which reminds me I read a few days ago information that seems to authenticate the Book "The Zuni Enigma." That those Zuni's in a NM canyon came to Amerika from Japan. It's a DNA theory.

AZ Rebel my E-mail is coper1658@gmail.com

Ha! Got a laugh at Cal Lash's crop duster experience. As a kid I lived way out by the aluminum plant, and we used to ride our bikes out to the canals and farms, where those crop-duster pilots loved showing off. We'd stand there open-mouthed with awe as they'd do rolls over us, and I can still remember that taste. Not sure if it was DDT or Malathion, or both. Mmmm-mmm.
Ivan Doig, in his book "Heart Earth," speaks pretty extensively about his brief childhood experience in WWII Phoenix (and Wickenburg). It seems poignant as hell now, but it's an interesting historical perspective.

Cal - give me a link on that post about "The Zuni Enigma". I have worried this theory down over & over, and have been dissuaded by the local archi-types from pursuing it further. In short, they tell me "it aint so". What's new on this theory?

Terry, I generally tend to pursue anything I am advised not to!
I recently saw an article on the web and it talked about further confirmation of this theory but it didnt provide any source. However from the following web site you can get some info.
Confirming a South Pacific and Japanese Migration

Based on the mutations found in the mtDNA, most researchers think that groups A, C and D, entered America from Siberia across Beringia some time around 35.000 B.C. Group B, they assert, probably came to America from the South Pacific or Japan via boats. It is believed the B groups began this migration not long after the A, C, and D groups arrived. However, the majority of the B group arrived about 11.000 B.C. This leaves open the possibility of several migrations by the B group from different locations.

It should be noted that a few geneticists have proposed that each of these tour haplogroups came in four separate migrations. And many Clovis supporters argue that all the groups migrated together.

Terry, Here's another from the Smithsonian.

Thanks, Cal: I'll be back with you when I look into this subject further.

Well, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Cal today. We had an enjoyable visit.

We decided to form a "Jon Talton Fan Club".

Neither of us wanted to be president or vice president, so those positions are open to first come, first serve.

Since we did decide that the sergeant at arms will be allowed to carry a weapon, we will both be sergeants at arms. We figure two armed SAA's will prevent any future club president or vice president from grabbing too much power.

While the subject of dues did come up, we decided to table the discussion until we have the officer ranks filled.

One personal note to Fusilero, I tried to use the word "Conurbation" in a sentence today. It didn't go well. It got me slapped in a Fry's food market and thrown out of a Dairy Queen.

Soleri, you have a future coffee date with me and Cal. Fair warning.

Azrebel, as improbable conspiracies go, the Talton Fan Club might as well weaponize itself with dirty coffee bombs and jihadist chit-chat.

I promise not to use words like "comity", "dispositive", "deracinated", or anything so polysyllabic that I spray everyone close enough to hear it.

I am a four letter word guy in two languages and I always feel better after a good round of swearing.

Speaking of swearing, Arizona is about to pass a "birther" law. I see two problems immediately. One: I dont have a birth certificate as I was born on a farm in the river bottom and there was no one present except my now dead parents. Two, even after you present all your evidence to the state the elected Secretary of State has final say so on whether you really are a citizen. What U think Jon?
To coincide with this on going waste of time at the AZ legislature, today the Tea Party and the John Birch Society are pushing the movie Atlas Shrugged" opening today at the Valley Art Theater. I am going as I love a circus.


Phoenix "retro specialist" Marshall Shore conjures a narrative about Sunnyslope in which my father, KE Hall, figures prominently.

As one Sloper to another, thanks Soleri.

What is the greatest thing ever produced in Arizona?

"What is the greatest thing ever produced in Arizona?" - Rate Crimes

... other than my angst.


"Raising Arizona"

Superior is still a hell hole

"What is the greatest thing ever produced in Arizona? "

Native American Art. It is and will always be timeless.

Announcing the first annual Jon Talton Supper Club gathering.
This event will be held at the Compass Room Restaurant during day light hours atop the Hyatt hotel located in the Concrete Desert of Phoenix Arizona. The event will allow for an hour of Rogue conversations while obtaining a rotating observation of the destruction wrought on Phoenix by ugly developers. The menu will include Martinis, stirred not shaken thank you. Sweet Lucy Wine will be served by one of Jon’s favorite protagonists. Guest speakers will include a Macho Hispanic law enforcement type and a local strong willed motorcycle nut and active FBI agent whose real identity cannot be revealed as she is currently investigating an organized prostitute ring in Sun City. For reservations please contact Cabrone Cal at 6023161755 or coper1658@aol.com. Plus if you need me to take video of your current SO, I will be happy to do so. Rates start at $150 per hour plus expenses. Mileage starts from the time I leave my Jim Rockford type motor home.


There are some crazy ass long posts here, but I enjoy 'em all. Not a Rogue Columnist Fan Club? And I'm already priced out of the supper club (no burritos at some hole-in-the-wall or the Presidential Booth at Pancho's?). And I always end up with a couple more hours of reading to do from all the links and sidebars (too bad I'm not at work!). I always thought Tucsonians refered to Phoenix as the "Center of the Universe" - quit 'er bitchin' toads and take yon lips off the water straw. Nice post RC!

An interesting perspective on the region vs. city divide:

"In both countries, most of the population lives in urban areas, but there is a crucial difference in language that creates a difference in habits of thought. Americans think of big "cities" as separate from their "suburbs," and often use these terms as shorthand or euphemism for a range of other oppositions. (Only in America, for example, would a style of music associated with black people be called "Urban.") Americans also have the idea of a suburban center (what Joel Garreau calls an "Edge City') that clings to the outer orbit of a big city but can think of itself as unrelated to it. Hence someone in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, say, may be happier thinking of their metro area as "Northern Virginia" rather than "greater Washington DC.""


A question for you "urban" warriors.

When I first visited Arcosanti, I remember thinking to myself, "This makes a lot of sense". Reduce the human footprint on nature, so that nature is preserved for future enjoyment. Energy is used more efficiently. Time is used more efficiently.

In our "open, free market society", sound, good ideas usually end up working and being accepted by the masses.

So here's my question, if the idea was good, why did it fail so badly and who were the forces who won out over "the good idea"?

(I know the answer, I'm just curious what your thoughts are.)

Azrebel, I think it failed because it wasn't a good idea. I'm not saying that the "free market" is a fail-proof arbiter of these things, only that "arcology" was a brilliant but daft idea that suffered from a basic misunderstanding of the environment. We live on the planet for a reason - that's where all the goodies are. It's not as if elevating ourselves will somehow make our resource demands that much less. Yes, there's some gain in efficiencies and energy conservation by living vertically but past a certain point, the arbitrary nature of the commune becomes self-defeating. Arcosanti would have been the sine qua ultra of command economies requiring an overseer class that would make our current oligarchy look egalitarian.

On the other hand, you might be persuaded by this: http://www.lovolution.net/MainPages/arcology/arcoloveessay.htm

A couple of comments about the Reason interview with Jane Jacobs. I smell a rat when a libertarian extols the humane virtues of cities. It's not that libertarians can't appreciate cities or offer good insights. It's that the absolutist nature of their ideology tends to make those insights subservient to an overarching demand that places the "free market" in charge of every everything. So, in this case, Portland is bad because it mandated growth boundaries, thus placing a higher value on its environment than economic liberty. Libertarians, even the crunchy kind, must by their very nature deny the intrinsic value of the environment. If we overbuild or overpopulate or over-utilize the planet, the free market will solve that for us, too. I would just as soon avoid the correction, if at all possible.

Still, there's an excellent point in the libertarian complaint about government mandating certain uses that end creating monocultures instead of functional if messy cities. Planners playing God wreak havoc by imagining cities the way Euclid imagined the cosmos. Their assumptions about human nature are too thin and brittle to be of much use. Anytime you see a modernist skyscraper set back in a sterile plaza, you can see a minimalist sensibility at work on a canvas where people's real lives count for nothing.

If it wasn't for the automobile, I would happily let the market (not crony capitalism or cartelized professions) make our urban decisions. But the car changed everything, from our spatial requirements to how we even see the city. Driving down Central Avenue at 35 mph, you tend to overlook the gaps where human activity and social networking should occur. Traveling on foot, those gaps become obvious.

Jacobs' insights are a necessary counterweight to the hubris of top-down developers and government officials. I only wish we had invited her to Phoenix back in the 1980s. Instead of these sterile corporate plazas with a retail component (Arizona Center, Collier Center, Cityscape), we might have let a real city take root in the forlorn blocks too humble and too real for our bad love.

Sorry, but it should read: "Arcosanti would have been the NE PLUS ULTRA of command economies....."

Moral? Latin is dead for a reason. Vive la France.

Soleri as Sisyphus
Soleri, I think you are the Running Man and Sisyphus in the same chemical and electronic make up. When “manunkind” makes that transition to a non physical being I hope you are there as the galaxy will need your mind. I tried several times to read your Acrosanti piece and the accompanying web site. Maybe someday you might be able to translate for me. I did take it as a rather pessimistic view of the future. Time to put on my cowboy hat and mount my recumbent.


How many people arrive there via rail, bike, or foot?


How far did/do the materials/supplies travel?

Maricopa County is also used to describe the Phoenix metropolitan area by non-residents with knowledge of the city. Orange County comes to mind.

Arcosanti is what happens when someone who masturbates to architectural digests has too much money.

About the best thing that can be said about Paolo Soleri is that he makes beautiful bells. As any kind of visionary about human living arrangements, he can be lumped into the disastrous crew that wrecked the City Beautiful Movement and continues to make ugly buildings in the name of their egos.

To be fair, unlike Le Corbusier or Wright at his worst, Soleri didn't exactly promote car-based sprawl. He just didn't address the automobile age at all, the foremost challenge facing anyone who would seek to build "an experimental town." Thus, Arcosanti is out at Cordes Junction, in splendid artistic isolation, but only reachable by vehicle. As Yavapai County grows, especially, Arcosanti looks like more of the trailer-trash settlements spilling over from the Verde Valley.

The most efficient living arrangement is the dense town or city that's scalable, walkable, high quality of life, shady, connected by transit, rail, etc. This also doesn't seek to change human nature's love of property and one's own space. The loss of the City Beautiful Movement and the entire sense of quality civic design in America remains a huge tragedy.

The market was distorted by cheap gas, subsidies for cars and suburbia while railroads were taxed near death and transit systems dismantled. Markets fail. In this case, the cost of suburbia, freeways, car-generated pollution, et al are not "costed" into our stats-obsessed society. If they were, we would go back to our old style of town and city design.

All Soleri did was create one more Arizona freak show, like "The Thing" on I-10. Sorry to be harsh. He does make nice bells.

Very good answers from everyone.
However, it was a bit of a trick question.

The reason it was a trick question is due to the fact that we have not lived in an open, free market society for a very long time. Thanks to the banking, oil and auto interests of this country, our destiny has been defined and predetermined by them since the early 1800's.

The special thing about Arizona is that in addition to the big three masters listed above, we also have the electicity and water masters that we serve here in the desert.

We live our lives at their mercy.

Cal, is Sisyphus a STD? If so, I've probably had it.

If you've ever tried to read Paolo Soleri, you know how frustrating visionary theory can be. You have to adopt not merely the lingo but the cultish certitude that enfolds the entire ideology. I can read maybe one paragraph before I fall asleep. If there's a point to mystification, it's probably a way of avoiding impertinent questions. I went through a Catholic phase during college in which I read Teilhard de Chardin. Or tried to. Finally I gave up and was relieved when I found that Hallmark cards expressed the same sentiments rather more economically.

This all borders on nostalgia, but we should pause and remember all the hippies that came to Arizona to work or "apprentice" on Arcosanti. This includes Arizona's greatest living architect, Will Bruder. I was never one of them but I appreciated their presence. Even today, you'll run in to them at Green Party meetings or a food co-op. They tend to be gentle and idealistic, and maybe a little credulous. I can't hear a Jackson Browne song without thinking of them, like Deadheads but with a purpose.

Jon, skip the "The Thing" on I-10 and go for the Amerind Foundation and Cochise and Dragoon. Turn off on exit 318 for The stagecoach route of the Butterfield Overland Mail passed through Texas Canyon from 1858 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1862 when the stage line suspended operations. The canyon is historically within the range of the Chiricahua Apache, and Cochise made his last stronghold near here in the Dragoon Mountains during the mid-1870s.

In the mid to late 1880s David A. Adams arrived from Coleman County, Texas, soon to be followed by other family members. The family became the namesake of Texas Canyon, as there were "a bunch of damned Texans up there." Descendants still live and raise cattle on the old family ranch.

The Amerind Foundation, a privately funded archaeological and ethnographic research facility, library, museum and art gallery founded by William Shirley Fulton in the 1930s lies about a mile south of I-10 in Texas Canyon at Exit 318. This is some of my favroite country. Cal

Go hippies!

I'm confused. Is "'The Thing' on I-10" Phoenix, or Tucson? :)

"Y'all have crazylong comments." - PhxDowntowner

Seeking balance...

"why did [Arcosanti] fail so badly?" - azrebel

No poker tables.

"who were the forces who won out over 'the good idea'?" - azrebel

One need only experience the spaces in which the 'master planners' of Arizona spawn their beasts: It is Conway's Law for developers. Walls are built to hide empty hearts and new horizons.

This is probably way too simplistic an answer, but Arcosanti looks much too Brutalistic to function on a large scale. Aesthetically, is it uglier than many new tract-home subdivisions in Phoenix and I would never voluntarily choose to live somewhere even as "nice" as Verrado. I couldn't imagine hundreds of those mud-hut like structures in a downtown somewhere no matter how densely populated they may be. I often wondered if Paolo Soleri designed his buildings as a modern version of Casa Grande or other Hohokam dwellings.

As for architecture in downtowns like CityScape and Collier Center, I think that CityScape is a successfully designed space and will be very important for downtown PHX growth. I also am glad that the third block was canceled. Because CityScape became a smaller development, it now allows for varied design on other blocks. Likewise, now most of the pedestrian interactions for the development occur on the corners (this I believe, was an accident brought on by store/restaurant placement).

The busiest sections of CityScape are on Central and Washington (Urban Outfitters, Charming Charlies), 1st Ave and Washington (Five Brother's), 1st Ave and Jefferson (CVS), and 1st St and Jefferson (Arrogant Butcher). It is likely that new development will follow this trend because customers will demand more street level, sidewalk facing retail and entertainment (and downtown building codes require most new buildings and highrises to incorporate street-level retail).

So yes, I'm saying that by accident, CityScape became a little more "organic" than it was initially designed for; there is also much more plant life incorporated into CityScape than Collier Center and the water features help. Looks at Civic Space Park; it has blossomed into a truly green space in a short amount of time. It is much cooler in the park than in blocks around it and a reason why you find a great deal of people utilizing it.

"The Thing" is on I-10, on your way east of of AZ toward New Mexico.

"I think that [x] is a successfully designed space and will be very important for downtown PHX *growth*. [emphasis mine]" - phx[X]fan

Gee-whiz, there's that 'g'-word again. That word should be eradicated from the Arizona lexicon. Perhaps, it could be replaced by the neologism (or rather, 'neolojism'), 'groat' (growth + bloat).

Or, perhaps it would be better to combine 'growth' with 'contraction': 'grotraction', in order to better reflect the reality.

There goes my angst again.

Thanks, terry, I think we're all familiar with the famous, undisciplined 'experiment'.

Agree with Rate Crimes, except for the obvious differences between developments like CityScape and those like Scottsdale Quarter; dense, urban growth vs suburban, car-based sprawl...

Thanks, phxSUNSfan. I'm in a bad mood from too much Atlantic Coast humidity. :(

In the context of labels, maybe we can examine the lunacy of those who envision "The Sunshine Corridor" linking Phoenix and Tucson. It reeks of denial and dysfunction and may be deservedly dead in the water, but the Booster Club still seems to hang onto the prospect that someday the palm-y days will return!

Rate Crimes, I feel you! The worst humidity I've ever experienced was in Biloxi, MS...

I think the Sun Corridor has its origins in ASU and Michael Crow trying to make nice with the Real Estate Industrial Complex. Or it might have begun with the Rockefeller Foundation's America 2050 and been latched onto by ASU. Either way, since then, it's been used to generation all manner of delusional reports by think tanks.

In the context of the Sun Corridor, "sustainability" is code for urban Arizona being able to keep doing what it's doing now (or was before the bust) endlessly into the future with no consequences. For example, cooling sidewalk technology will save the day. The plans and pleas for "planned development" will go nowhere, and they usually involve the same car-based sprawl as today.

If Phoenix-Tucson ever gathers the 8 million promised by the Sun Corridor hucksters, God help us.

"Rate Crimes, I feel you!"

Is there an app for that?

As the co-Sargent at Arms of the Jon Talton fan club, I can tell you that "feeling for one another" is allowed in this club. "Feeling each other" will be limited to hand shakes and pats on the back. Upper back.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

AZrebel, I find that policy highly discriminatory....

Remember, we're still putting together the club rules. Hugs are still on the table, we just haven't gotten to that agenda item. I will admit we spent way too much time on the caliber of weapons the SSA's are allowed to carry.

I'll stick with my Colt Python...

Considering the members in your fan club, I don't blame you. A shady group if I ever saw one. ( : - )

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)