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April 12, 2019


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I don't quite get the idea that an impressive skyline represents some kind of civic achievement. There have been great cities through the ages with really no skyline at all. Washington, DC, for example, is a strikingly handsome city precisely because it capped buildings at a reasonable height. This means the city doesn't have that alienating out-of-scale building stock that is incomprehensible at street level. Washington is beautiful, walkable, and interesting.

What makes Phoenix boring is that it's architecture is largely cheap and uninspired. The urban scale, too, is inhuman and unwalkable. Creating taller buildings won't solve this problem because people generally don't enjoy cities with their necks craned. But even if they did. Taller but still mediocre buildings are not a panacea. A lively streetscape with people-oriented businesses would be vastly preferable than the kind of priapic erections that excite teenage aficionados of skyscrapers.

I'm happy to see downtown Phoenix getting denser with more residents. The new apartment buildings are mostly awful but they're still a net plus. It won't mean Phoenix overall is becoming more urbane except for a few square miles in a couple of locations. That said, I never would have dreamed even this renaissance was possible. Credit to the Millenials who finally decided to stop living dozens of miles aways from their workplaces. Phoenix will never be a wonderful city but it will be more interesting and less lonely at street level. You'll still want to drive everywhere but it won't just to the routine big box stores and chain restaurants.


You banned me on Facebook.

Not nice.

Many Scottsdale, Reno, and Carlsbad Executives on Facebook took note of this when I informed them. I routinely exchange messages with them on a variety of topics. We cannot figure out why you would ban your readers who sustain your paycheck.

Tim Mello took note of this and was also disappointed. He added me to his page.

Please send me a reason for the permanent ban.

You owe me an apology for this inappropriate discipline.


Do people still use fakebook? And how about twatter and snipchot. I'm quitting easymail 122020. Too mucho incomprehedible chatter.


Well Jon as U know i prefer ONE story buildings. The Superstitions are as usual beautiful today here in the great Sonoran desert, in bloom. The birds are at the water and the rabbits are in the bushes.
But its getting crowded and Why AZ is on my radar.

Thanks for waving the dirty laundry about.

Manana I travel to the TALL buildings preparing my flivver for cruising open Sonoran desert summers least traveled roads. There are few places but in an automobile that I find solitude. Open windows and only the sound of rubber on the road and the hum of the engine pushing me into happiness.

Cars vs Light Rail.
I suspect the August election on more light rail will fail. Because of the power of the folks opposed to it and the Arizona legislators hate of Maricopa County.
Hence the six suggested extensions will not happen. Although the ones to GCC and ASU to Metro Center might get some support.
I visited Metro Center today and interestingly the south east inside is occupied and for a Monday Morning had more folks than i excepted. Plus Harkins movies are 7 bucks each all day. The surrounding business seemed to be doing ok.

Tom Lane LOL. Legend in his own mind like so many suburban losers. In touch with executives, right. Try a real job, goldbricker.

I would like to second Soleri's comment on this obsession with tall buildings and follow up with some of my own observations.
Traveling down central avenue in midtown or downtown I'm in complete amazement at how these "tall" buildings yield dismal street life and character. I was walking some tourists from out of town to explore this city's "main street", Central Avenue. The common commentary was how "corporate", "generic", "boring", "lifeless", "sterile", "suburban" this main street was. But on the map, one would expect this concentration of "big" buildings would result in the best this city has to offer.

Observe the obscenity of "The Stewart" building that essentially looks like a cruise ship that landed on top of the circles building. Does that street feel more charming because of this high rise addition? Architecturally, this building is quite possibly the best manifestation of our current collective state of chaos and anxiety. I'm an architect and still cannot describe what if any "style" that is.

The Chase tower which is shown in this article is the equivalent to an alien spaceship with its bunker-like launching pad and adjoining power plant (parking garage). Whenever I see I wonder what this building replaced?

In contrast to Central Avenue. One can explore a walkable city in a similar desert climate. Granada Spain, Marrakech Morocco, Valletta Malta, or Malaga Spain Theses cities are not know for their skylines. They have vibrant street life and tons of local charm. It's interesting to contrast the historic cores of these cities with the corporate contemporary developments on the fringe. Tourists flock to this charming walkable neighborhoods, like flies to light. Most of whom seem amazed that prior civilizations used to build cities for human's in mind rather than machines. Yet here we are with a dismal collection of strip malls, fast food chains and jive plastic cruise ship apartment buildings that frame (name your arterial street). I dont see much of a difference from these corporate towers and the corporate strip mall. Other than which axis they are built, horizontal vs vertical.

That's my observation..... I seem to be in the minority in this city with this opinion.

Always enjoy the history posts, thanks Jon.

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