I was born, perhaps even raised, in the Valley of the Sun. Aside from a few short periods in my life where I’ve lived elsewhere, I’ve always considered Phoenix home. I likely always will. I want to travel endlessly, but I hope to die here, or at least hope my remains find a way back here.
For good reason, many people have accused me of hating this place, demanding that I leave rather than complain. But I don’t actually dislike it here at all! I am very happy in this place, most of the time, and I rarely, if ever attribute my well-being to location.
But let’s be honest: Phoenix sucks.
It’s true, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Phoenix doesn’t suck in the way that other cities suck. Traffic is generally light, people are generally decent, crime is generally nonexistent, half the year the weather is too good to be true, and I don’t see myself moving for anywhere else.
Editor's note: This is a post from Yael Arbel, who is part of the Indigo Cultural Center, a member of The Alliance for Family, Friend and Neighbor Child Care. They aim to promote healthy childhood development and are hosting an event this week where our co-founder, Ryan Tempest, will be speaking at. Here at This Could Be PHX, we see a direct connection between a healthy childhood and healthy families that make up the larger community. As Downtown Phoenix continues to grow, we hope more and more families choose to live and raise their children in the area. Our goal has always been to help Phoenix become a great city right now and in the future. We hope in that envisioned future, our kids can not only live here, but thrive. I wanted to know what people in our community were thinking about the importance of the healthy development of kids so I hit the streets to get opinions. I’ve been involved in many conversations with people in the early childhood field but had never had the opportunity to talk about these topics with the young, vibrant, and growing Downtown Phoenix population. I used my phone to record my interactions with people on a busy Friday around downtown, from those eating and working at Food Truck Friday at the Phoenix Public Market to the afternoon coffee crowd on Roosevelt Row. Here are the top 5 things that I learned.
A few weeks ago, we asked for your opinions on our Facebook page: What's the worst thing about parking in Downtown Phoenix? You gave us various different responses, and were extremely helpful in understanding the community's perception of what it's like to park in Downtown Phoenix.
Let's face it: Parking is a touchy subject that lies at the center of a clash of lifestyles. It's a complex issue, and we get that. As part of our exploration into the topic of parking, we'll attempt to understand and explain some of its many facets in future blog posts. We want to do this thoroughly and factually so that we (and hopefully you!) can fully understand the problems our city is facing.
Yes. It's true. When I was eleven years old, my parents decided to migrate to The Land of Opportunity from Warsaw, Poland to start a new life. As excited as I was, I had no idea of what that meant. All I knew about America was from shows my mom and I watched, like "Dynasty," "Full House," and my favorite – "Beverly Hills 90210". I once asked my dad why people in America drive convertibles and never seem to lock their cars in the movies, he jokingly said: "That's because everyone can afford a car so no need to go stealing another person’s car." Cool!
Growing up in North Phoenix
Friday, Dec. 13th, 1994 – the big, scary move. I remember getting off the plane, getting in a car and soaking up the views of Phoenix at night. I noticed large freeways, lots of open spaces and cactus! We began our life in North Phoenix, which seemed cool to a foreign kid at first; but then the summer came. What are you supposed to do in this damn heat!? Luckily our apartment had a pool, so that was my life.
I don’t believe in love at first sight. That is, except for Phoenix. We fell in love the moment I first saw it on an ASU recruitment brochure my sister gave me, the red, orange and yellow stripes of the Walter Cronkite School glowing in a desert sunset. I loved the colors and the sleek, modern design of ASU’s buildings, so unlike the brick-and-ivy campuses my sister had toured. And the Cronkite School was one of the top journalism schools in the nation.
I knew I liked Arizona—we’d driven through it several times on family road trips, and I had taken photo after photo of flat-topped mesas. Phoenix was close enough to be a day’s drive from home, but far enough that I would be on my own and free. I pictured myself next to one of those mesas, my hair blowing in the hot wind, and I was hooked. I filled out the ASU application with my heart pounding like a new crush.