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March 19, 2009

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Even if all those vacant lots manifested condo towers in some unimagineable future, Phoenix would still suck. But not to worry, they won't. Perhaps, there'll be a CVS or Walgreen's, maybe an apartment complex if we're slightly luckier. But the fine-grained building stock that makes cities come alive? That's gone, and it's forever.

The bad news keeps spreading north and eastward. Twenty some years ago, Camelback Rd was fairly lively. There were places to hang out like Caf Casino, Entz-White, The French Corner, the Cine Capri, Orbitz, and the surprisingly fertile Town & Country, now a ghost of its former self. The news isn't all grim, but the trendlines are. That's why any old building needs to be guarded like an endangered species. The very little that Phoenix has are carrying tremendous responsibilities if we ever hope to find a real city here.

When we look at the downtown restaurant renaissance and how vital old houses and a few vintage buildings are to their success, this one should be no-brainer. Alas, this is Phoenix, cemetary of dreams. We want to nurture this wounded beast but some committee of surgeons keeps amputating its limbs.

So glad to see the mention of retail space that come right up to the sidewalk. It's such a simple idea yet it's virtually impossible to find in all of Metro Phoenix. Heck, even LA has this!

The isolation caused by seas of parking lots is devastating to making a city walkable. If there were two elements that would help make Phoenix more walkable and thus a more urban city, it would be streetfront buildings and parallel parking.

It's unfortunate that mother nature, combined with the heat island, wiped out so many mature trees in Willo and the Viad park last August. It's inexcusable that this was used as an excuse to switch to more desert landscaping.

My brother was in town this week and one even together we walked the dog. He commented on the "smell", which was blooms. I hadn't noticed.

"Because I know the fragile self-esteem of Phoenicians is at stake, let me begin my observations about the state of the center city with the good stuff."

Nothing could be more true about fragile self-esteem. It is a big Achilles heel around here. :(

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