PhxPavillion, while Im all for big grand projects, we need to run from Dubais example, not towards it. Their buildings seem to always be built on superblocks, with giant walls facing the street and everything connected by what amounts to basically indoor malls. While I know that seems appealing at first blush because of the AC its not a good idea. Youre giving up everything thats been associated with great cities for hundreds of years due to 3 months out of the year. We can design things smartly enough to make the outdoors tolerable in the summer and take advantage of the rest of our years great weather.
Ch 12 stuff:
I too have heard Ch 12 is moving, though I hadn't heard anything about going to the Biltmore. On one hand ,I think its socially irresponsible of them to move out of Downtown. A news station should be close to where most of the news is coming from and its also a show of civic faith and pride to have it downtown. On the other hand, Ch 12s building is awful and fucks over any hope of Hance park being great. Hance Park sucks not only because of its awful design but also because of what immediately surrounds it. If it was developments (that were occupied) like the Portland Place building it could have some chance, but walled off TV studios won't do the trick.
If I ruled the world/Ch 12 Id try to move MORE downtown, not less. For instance a great spot would be the NE corner of Fillmore and Central, if they designed the station right. On the ground floor they could have their studios for their morning and day shows with glass windows facing towards the Civic Space park. They could capitalize on the view and people walking by, like the Today Show does. Then for their evening broadcast it could be up on a higher floor, 5 or store floors up and also have a window backdrop that would look out onto downtown and the park/Her Secret is Patience. Wouldn't that be cool?
A small big idea: Renaming the libraries
Yesterday I wanted to check out a DVD from the library, so I looked it up on their site and it would give me a list of which libraries it was available at. They have plant names, "Mesquite" "Palo Verde" "Saguaro", etc. While I see what theyre trying to do, and its cute or whatever, its not very helpful. I had to click on each one to see the map and realize where it was.
Now obviously Phoenix has a geographic identity issue. Very few people self identify the neighborhood they live in (because they often dont know) they say their cross streets. Renaming the libraries to properly reflect their neighborhoods would help a lot. Furthermore new parks when built should carry the neighborhoods names, later parks can have generic names like "Desert View" or whatever.
Id propose these name changes to help identify their locations:
- Burton Barr Central Library....no change, "Central Library" is fine
- Acacia Library.....Sunnyslope Library
- Century Library....Biltmore Library
- Cholla Library.....Metrocenter Library
- Desert Sage Library...Desert Sky Library
- Harmon Library...no change, or maybe call it Harmon Park Library
- Irondwood Library..Ahwatukee Library
- Juniper Library....Deer Valley Library
- Mesquite Library...Paradise Valley Library
- Ocotillo Library...South Phoenix Library
- Palo Verde Library...Maryvale Library
- Saguaro Library...Arcadia Library
- Yucca Library....Christown Library
- Desert Broom Library...not sure, can't call it "Cave Creek" that may be confusing-Im open to suggestions
- Cesar Chaves Library....Laveen Library
- Agave Library...no idea for a name on this one
was that so hard? It was actually MORE difficult to think up the plant names. Except for two of those they all have clearly defined area names. Now it would cause a controversy to change the Cesar Chavez branch, so you could go with "Laveen-Cesar Chavez Library" or something like that.
More on neighborhood identification:
On a related note, I once got in touch with the Mayors office to inquire about who to speak with in regards to Phoenix doing a better job of naming neighborhoods. That is, providing signage, maps, creating specific boundaries, unifying park names, etc to help create more defined neighborhoods. Our competing Western cities like San Diego
all have done this, yet we just have those retarded, useless "Urban Villages."
So you think the gal I talked to (wish I could remember this cunts name) would appreciate someone trying to get involved and point me in the right direction, right? Nope. She started by saying she didn't understand, I explained to her that in San Diego the neighborhoods have signs like this:
And she said "well the Urban Villages have signs too." Ug. Really? You think ANYONE notices those tiny sun bleached metal signs when theyre whizzing by at 55mph? Especially when theres maybe 20 of them in the whole city?
Furthermore she wouldn't agree that people don't actually use terms like "Camelback East."
She then said "well the city puts up the historic district signs" again I told her that wasn't what I was meaning. Those signs are too small for anyone to notice and the city has no cohesive effort at mapping out its neighborhoods. I even emailed her Seans excellent neighborhoods map to give her an idea (I hope that was oK Sean) and she basically just told me they weren't interested.
Its stuff like this that really makes me go insane. It would not be expensive or really even take that much man power to implement something like this. It would greatly help people feel more connected to the neighborhood, create greater senses of civic and neighborhood pride, promote local involvement and shopping local, etc. Whats the fucking downside!? Whats it going to cost to put up better signs, create maps, etc.? It can't be that much, plus you can use the neighborhoods themselves and local businesses to chip in to help pay for it. You can empower local artists to create the signs, and neighbors can get involved to help their area be unique either through secondary signage, unique street lighting, uniform landscaping, etc.
High Speed Rail:
Im currently reading Visions in the Desert: Carl Hayden and Hydropolitics in the Southwest
and it amazes me that we used to have guys like Carl Hayden and Barry Goldwater who actually did some good for Arizona. Today the Federal government is giving out huge sums of money and we have to rely on our Mayor and a Congressman to wrangle any of it for us.
Obviously we need more rail options for commuters and it would be nice to not be so reliant on air travel when going to other cities. Like James Howard Kunstler says, we have "a rail system the Bulgarians would be ashamed of." Arizona ought to pursue a HSR line connecting Nogales to the Grand Canyon. Something along these lines:
High speed rail connecting 2 major metropolitan areas to the gateway to another country and one of the 7 wonders of the world would be amazing for tourist and locals alike. If other states/the Fed wanted to chip in there could be a junction in Wickenburg to connect up to Vegas and one in Phoenix (at Union station) connecting to LA. Im not sure how you'd connect to SD, maybe through Phoenix or maybe Florence would make more sense. Or maybe youd just have to go to SD by way of LA.
I know it would be insanely expensive and thus itll probably never happen. But hey, the CAP cost billions too. Id love it if we had leaders who were able to sell the Federal Gov't on building it as a demonstration project for nationwide HSR but its highly unlikely we'd be able to convince them to build it here instead of somewhere like NYC-DC.