|Chair in between Downtown and "Downtown" Downtown - Photo: Stacey Champion|
So why is downtown so split off from downtown2? Well, that's a good question... Though the main answer in my eyes is what you see above. Vacant lots. Lots of them. Lots of lots. Dirt lots. Many of them city owned. Many of the others being land-banked by people who don't live in downtown OR downtown2.
Was there stuff on these lots before they were dirt lots? Yep. But now they're just big, glaring disconnects between downtown and downtown2.
Read Kevin Beechinor + Mike McDearmon's fabulous "Aiding and Abetting" for great detail, plus solutions.
The Valley of the Sunflowers project is a good start for these gaping holes that cut our city in two, and will hopefully wake up our city leaders to the fact that not only do these projects make the residents happy and beautify the neighborhoods, but they also generate fantastic press, which is a welcome thing for our political doom and gloom State. The folks at Roosevelt Row are forging ahead along with many engaged and committed community members, and our little downtown has been getting some recent good press, like the Nick Blumberg KJZZ story.
We all would like to eventually see things built on these lots - albeit if it's good design, and not a cookie cut-out of the suburban stucco gated community ick that downtowners or anyone else with good taste and a love of real architecture can't stand.
But until then, "temporary" has become many years for most of these lots. I hope the City of Phoenix, along with the new incoming Mayor, will open their eyes just a little wider and do a better job at thinking just a little further outside of the box. This would be my dream project for one of the lots, and is something I'd like to try to make happen within the next two years.
What are YOUR ideas???