You live where?! That’s right, I live in Downtown Phoenix. Now let me tell you why.
Have you ever woken up to a beautiful city skyline right outside your window? For anyone who appreciates the city, a view of the skyline is as picturesque as it can get. With the cities unique architecture sculpting the skyline, each building adds to the individuality of the city. Here in Phoenix, the city carves its own identity out of the orange, red and purple backdrop produced by the magnificent sunsets.
From the balcony of my fourth floor apartment on Roosevelt Street, the whole city is on display for my enjoyment. I can even see part of the new Arizona State Recreation Center which I spent one year of my life as an integral part of the design team and another year on the construction administration team. There is nothing more gratifying to me than being a part of shaping the fabric of Downtown Phoenix – my home.
I once had a conversation with a pro-suburbanite about why I loved the city. Their response was common and concise, “I love living closer to nature too much to live in the city." Actually, to say I "once" had this conversation is an under exaggeration. In fact, that is one of the most common justifications I hear in response to asking people why they chose to live in the suburbs.
The Paradox of Suburbia
On the surface, this statement actually seems quite valid. I lived in the suburbs and I felt much closer to nature when I was there than I do now in the city. Cities are our urban cores at the center of the surrounding suburbs and, naturally, the further out from the city you are, the more likely you will be closer to nature. So if you are a nature lover then you probably want to live in the suburbs, and if you are an urbanite, you probably want to live in the city, right? Well, not so fast. There is something paradoxical about this belief. Suburbia is actually the leading cause of environmental destruction in the United States. No other phenomenon has caused as many acres of forest to be destroyed here.
I hated Phoenix. Actually the word "hate" would be putting it mildly. From the heat to suburbia I couldn’t escape. I grew up in South Phoenix and went to Greenway High School on the west side. My childhood was filled with dreams of leaving this place and living anywhere but here.
With a mother working for the airlines by the time I was 13 that dream became reality quickly. I spent my young adulthood hopping free flights and discovering the world. This Arizona native immediately fell in love with the forever green and sprinkling with rain, northwest. I had family in Seattle and it always felt right that I would leave the desert I loathed and runaway to my Washington, my mecca.
Project Rising Phoenix is coordinating a Call for Ideas for three key downtown Phoenix properties – two adaptive reuse projects and one vacant lot – with strong potential for multiple uses.
Luhrs City Center Arcade, Jefferson St., between 1st Ave & Central Ave
Regency Garage Edge (aka Matador Restaurant space), 125 E. Adams St.
Adams Street Lot, SE corner, Adams St & Central Ave
Developer Goal: Create dynamic project concepts to activate the space(s) and bring vibrancy to a downtown undergoing significant revitalization.
More photographs of each project site are located at http://on.fb.me/1b1WMQr If you're interested in submitting an idea to Project Rising, you'll find more information here.
Project Rising Phoenix is an urban infill accelerator, helping ideas become a reality here in Downtown Phoenix. They are currently running their call for ideas that is open to the public to submit what they want to see on three vacant or undeveloped sites Downtown. Even if you don't want to submit a formal entry to Project Rising, This Could Be PHX wants to hear from you! What do you want to see in these spaces? Leave a comment here or join the discussion on our Facebook page. We'll be exploring each site in more depth in the coming week but here's a little preview.