Ryan Tempest | This Could Be Phoenix
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Author: Ryan Tempest

The suburb and the city are two of our most common built environments. Historically these two places have represented completely opposite ways of living — the city was seen as dense, crowded, dirty, dangerous, and detached from the natural environment, while the suburb was thought to be a place that reconnected us to nature, relinquished us from the crowded urban streets, and sheltered us from the dangers lurking around dark street corners. Our perceptions of the past even linger on today.

"Living Downtown" and "saved me money" are two phrases that don’t normally go together. Up until a year ago I would have agreed, but then I realized that living in Downtown Phoenix could actually be a great way to fill my pockets with some spare change, and then some. I've heard a lot of people talk about moving out of the city in order to cut costs or not choosing to move Downtown because of the higher costs of urban living. It's true; many places in the city are expensive to live in, especially if you are expecting to live in a 1,500 sf – 2,000 sf apartment or condo with outrageous HOA fees. So I am sure you must be asking; how in the world does living in Downtown Phoenix save you money? The answer: transportation.

Nowadays, more and more people are doing their part to be ‘green.’ People all over the country are greening their homes with solar panels, solar water heaters, trash compactors, low water use plumbing fixtures, energy efficient light bulbs and mechanical units. The hybrid car is selling like hot cakes and the all-electric car is gaining in popularity as well. Governments and other organizations are beginning to require that all new buildings are built to LEED standards, with each building aiming to be more sustainable and ecologically friendly. Together, each of these tactics plays a huge role in transforming the way we have been living into a more eco-friendly way of life – or so we believe. In reality, true sustainability has been contaminated by companies, governments and other organizations who want us to believe that we are being green. By creating eco-friendly products, promoting green technologies, eco vacations, etc. – we’ve bought into the idea that sustainability is just another thing to obtain. But it’s not a gadget or technology – it’s a context.  Sustainability is not a micro phenomenon applied to individual components, it is a network of deeply interdependent relationships, a way of living that goes beyond a product or service you can purchase.