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October 24, 2014


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Interesting, but the only thing that I've seen with children of friends is that they go to NAU and stay in the Phoenix area. I think they would do better with their lives if they did move to a real city.w

I know this all too well. My educated kids left for Austin and Seattle. Probably half of the kids that I went to school with left Phoenix.

I wonder how much Phoenix numbers could improve in terms of young educated people staying in state, if undocumented immigrants could qualify for in state tuition?
1. Young Latino’s under 30 make up the largest demographic in Arizona.
2. Arizona is one of only three states that “specifically prohibit in-state tuition rates for undocumented students."

My guess is that we could help our society achieve better results if we weren’t so damn racist.

I agree, Suzanne, Arizona is shooting itself in the foot by making it hard for DREAMers to get educations and jobs.

Sorry Rogue, Seattle is not in the top tier for the young and the restless. A solid second tier with the Twin Cities, Denver, Dallas, Houston and several cities in the east. You were a commendable Rogue in Phoenix, but you have become a cheerleader and booster for the Emerald City.
Your birth town Phoenix is not a magnet for the young and the restless, but a destination for the old and racist.

The numbers you cited are revealing, and I have no reason to doubt them. Anecdotally, though, I've recently met several young professionals in their mid-to-late twenties who expressed quite the opposite view. Over the past week, I enjoyed conversations with five young women here in Phoenix: two had gone to Syracuse University in upstate New York and afterwards moved to Arizona, where they are both involved with architecture and city planning; both expressed their excitement about downtown projects they are working on, and their sense that Phoenix is an open community where it's relatively easy to get involved and make a difference.The third had recently moved to Phoenix from San Francisco to start her own business here. The fourth moved to Phoenix from Chicago about a year ago to accept a new job with a bank in the Biltmore Circle area. She told me she lives two miles from work and bikes to the office every day except for the worst part of summer. The final one lived for a few years in Washington, D.C., where she had gone to law school and worked for a few years after graduating. She was recruited to Phoenix, now works for a large law firm here and loves being able to live near her office. I realize that statistics may tell a different story, but I will say that these young women are educated, accomplished, engaged in their respective fields -- and happy to be in Phoenix, after having experienced other cities. It was heartwarming and encouraging to see their positive energy and enthusiasm.

Jon no new news here.
and here only eateries out number hospitals
From the 5th floor of Destiny Hospital
once upon a time Saint Josephs
until the Pope crushed the sisters.

Janet Traylor's "statistics" are heartwarming because they are something else entirely. Say, "anecdotes".

Phoenix may have the soul of a metastasized suburb but it's still large enough to provide examples of big-city life. Of course, there are young, creative people living in it. There simply aren't enough of them to transform the city into something dynamic. Successful cities have certain characteristics that attract creative types, who galvanize and attract others like themselves and thus become their own economic engine. Call it a virtuous cycle. Phoenix's problem is that it has a weak core, no real urban neighborhoods, few if any urban amenities beyond light rail, and a political culture that is broadly repellant to creative people.

The problem is holistic. If Phoenix had good bones, the artists and bohemians who are seed-carriers of every urban renaissance would find the old warehouses, Victorians, and lofts to fix up. What happened in Phoenix is that those relatively few urban pioneers had their efforts blocked at nearly every turn (see: Beatrice Moore). Whether it was city and county government, or the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, or the lowbrow elite of downtown movers and shakers (see: Charter Government), their efforts were frustrated at nearly every turn. But Phoenix would have had a difficult time even if it hadn't been so oblivious about what makes good cities tick. The bones were too few and too weak to provide the scaffolding of transformation.

I have a friend visiting from "the Valley" at the moment. We were talking yesterday about Ed Glaeser, the author of The Triumph of the City and a spear-carrier for right-wing urban theory. His book is a good one, however, since it advocates for the creative energy of cities themselves. Suburbs and rural America don't have this energy simply because they don't bring creative types into physical proximity. The important exception is Silicon Valley. But the creative infrastructure was there anyway (Stanford, nearby San Francisco, Berkeley, and Livermore). Today that energy is transforming San Francisco into a global city with Manhattan-scaled prices. I wanted to argue that the right's favorite cities like Houston, Dallas, and now Mesa ( have other factors working for them beside creative class energy. To be sure, Houston and Dallas have strong economies with a pronounced element of resource extraction undergirding that strength. They are, by comparison to Phoenix, spectacularly successful. Houston, in particular, has geographic destiny given its port location. But its suburban typology illuminates its core problem: it's cheap for a reason.

Phoenix is not only cheap for a reason, it's becoming even cheaper because that reason is so fundamental to its raison d'être. There was never a compelling reason to build a large city on the banks of the Salt River. Ideally, Phoenix would be about the same size as Fresno if it weren't for its resort culture. Resort cities are not global players. They are, at best, pleasant. But given the post-war boom in electronics, semi-conductors, and military-industrial complex assets, Phoenix exploded in size. Now it's dealing with the aftermath of that boom. I don't see this ending well because, unlike, say, beleaguered Detroit, there were never significant trade routes, a port, or a large navigable river close by. Tanning and swimming opportunities, yes. Suburban bliss, indeed. The underpinnings of a complex and vibrant city, none at all.

Old London
Here you go Ruben a break from the Pines and boring white folks, a mega city folk of really boring white drunks boring food and a boring white real queen.
At most a way station in pushing off to a real city, Amsterdam.

Way stations and cities

Side-note: a new comment added, here:

(On Ralph Nader, soleri, T.S. Eliot, and diva tantrums.)

Emil and Soleri, same sex marriage?
ending in divorce?
I believe we have what the shrinks
call a "Love, Hate Relationship"
and its the most emotional contribution I have seen by either participant.

Click on my name to view my website which describes my university system restructuring plan to increase accessibility, affordability, and accountability to a public university education for many more Arizonans while breaking-up the ASU monopoly within Greater Phoenix.

Another batch of anecdata: out of the dozens of smart, talented kids I know who grew up in Phoenix and its suburbs, the vast majority of them went to ASU, graduated, and moved to the cities in Rogue's list: Seattle, Portland, Denver, various places in California. I do know a handful of young people in Phoenix with good jobs - they all moved here from out of state, and are planning on leaving before they have children. The combination of bad schools and an ugly political climate is driving out the smart people on the far end of that 25-to-34 age bracket, who don't want to raise kids in a place like this.

Cassandra, will send two white guys in white shirts, black pants and on bicycles from the lost in the desert tribe to intice your friends to stay.

FYI: I tend to drop out of this conversation with increasing frequency simply because I cannot abide my own negativity. It eats at me from within. The latest one, with this blog's resident troll, is something else, however. I will no longer read his "contributions" or respond to them.

There are legitimate disagreements and then there is the narcissism of self-regard the troll employs to hijack threads for his own purposes. I take some pleasure in sharing Jon Talton's concerns. As near as I can tell, I'm the only regular commenter here who does. My comments are relevant to the subject at hand. I don't use this space to freelance my own blog as the troll does. I carry no aspirations in that arena.

I think Talton is a very good writer and his posts deserve respectful attention and pertinent comments. The joy of a good conversation cannot be minimized. I occasionally cross a line in my argumentation but I like to think it's done in service of enhancing the scope of the blog's concerns. This is particularly true with political subjects. I consider myself a realist (and I consider Talton, certainly the Seattle Times columnist, to be one as well). Realism is not popular. Many commenters, I suspect, are jaded with their own cynicism. Maybe I'm wrong about this, however. I want the conversation to reveal what our fallacies are. In that vein, we should approach the conversation as a mutual effort in elucidating blind spots. No one has all the answers, of course. If I prod too forcefully, it's partly for that reason. Conversations should be vital and dynamic but not an excuse to bully one another.

I promise this apologia will be my last. No more drama, period. If I fail at that effort, I'll excuse myself permanently from this blog. It deserves better than petty backbiting or self-vouching assertions of superiority. I want this particular blog to succeed because its concerns overlap my own so closely. I will do nothing more to injure it. We are thinking out loud in public here. We should take care that it represents the best in us, not the worst.


I realize you are not digging for a compliment. So the simple truth is that you always bring great value, insights, intelligence and first-class writing to this blog. Thank you.

Soleri also brings true heart felt human emotion to his writings. Jon's great column here without Soleri's intelligent and visceral input would be a tragedy.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” With these words Dickens began his famous novel A Tale of Two Cities.

While the following is not on Point. I do think it is relevant to the conversations that occur on this blog and relevant to today's world.
I do wonder what Berlin would have to say if he were witnessing today's world.

A brief follow up on "spoiler" dynamics (Nader/Gore) here:

What's lacking in Phoenix isn't a class of 25-34 year olds with the desire for an urban, inner-city, convenient, less car-reliant lifestyle. What's lacking is what is touched upon in the article: the jobs and the housing in urban areas to attract these young talents. It's no surprise to see so few added within the last decade; what housing projects have come on board that target such a demographic? Two high-rises were built, hardly affordable for this young professional class, along with a slew of tax-break-aided senior living and low income housing. Very few affordable rental communities were developed over the last few years that didn't target students or a demographic well out of the range of post-graduates. Even worse, what jobs were added to the core in the last decade? Downtown is essentially the last place businesses go to die after they abandon midtown. That's the only reason for the decent vacancy rates. In reality, midtown and downtown need to be looked upon as one whole - the success of one drives the other, and so, too, does the failure. A crumbling midtown means one less neighborhood that could be transformed into an affordable, transit-accessible enclave for people like me. All eggs were placed into the Biomedical Campus and ASU; the former has been a total bust as the mayor touts a better one out in Desert Ridge, while the latter continues to segregate downtown straight down the middle by creating anti-public, anti-urban fortresses and a law center in a time when graduates from law school are having the hardest time finding work ever. So, really these numbers are no surprise. For most, like me, the writing is on the wall - there are no jobs and no housing that fit the lifestyle I crave and we leave. For others, it's working in the Price Corridor and renting out a house in South Tempe.

Here's my two cents, which is worth something considering I run the blog and can always institute moderated comments, which I don't want to do.

My preference is to give commenters maximum latitude.

However, I would prefer that you engage with the topic of the column. And try to bring some value. We have thousands of readers who don't comment, but they are interested in value-added comments.

If a post runs out of steam, it's OK to turn the thread in a different direction. Not preferable, but OK. After all, there are plenty of open-thread blogs where you can talk about anything you wish.

So let's stay on topic where possible.

Soleri posts are a blog within a blog and I appreciate them. The discussions here are great jump off points from the great original post from Rogue. I do lose patience with excessive side tracking.
I am also 32 w/ college degree(s) and have had most of my peers run for greener pastures. Not 100% sure why I haven't...

Gordon, would you try to to explain why you haven't left?

I bet your thought process would be interesting.

Ruben .
I think I stay here because I like the desert. Its eerie, its spooky and creosote smells good.

And family.

I'm 26, I have a master's degree, I just got married and I just moved to Central Phoenix. My wife and I live between the Biltmore and the DeMarco restaurants on Central. We enjoy riding our bikes around the neighborhood and to these fun shopping and eating centers, but we'd prefer if we could ride bikes or public transit to work and other activities. It is less expensive to live in Phoenix than Seattle (where we moved from), but we intend to move away from Phoenix when I have some more job experience or if my wife decides to go to graduate school. Seattle, Salt Lake, Portland, DC, Denver and Austin are all cities I would rather live in. There is a culture of people my age in those places that I appreciate. Also, I'm not planning on having children anytime soon, but when I do, I don't want my them going to school in Arizona.

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