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Old 05-28-2015, 07:26 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
9,458 posts, read 18,389,987 times
Reputation: 11929

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Is Phoenix that bad? It gets a lot of mudslinging on this site. When matched against just about any other large city on a city vs. city thread it loses out most of the time. Many take pot shots at the city that range from its urban shortfalls to persecution of those that want to have swimming pools in the desert. It's not a secret that it's hotter than Hades in the summer and the state of Arizona does have a less than stellar reputation in the media sometimes.

So I've been thinking about moving there anyway. This would be about a year out with careful planning. I actually like Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun as a whole. I want to live in the desert for some years to come, the Southwest is a good match for me in terms of climate, scenery, and a laid back live and let live vibe. I like New Mexico, but I really feel like starting a new chapter in a bigger metro area. The isolation of Albuquerque is starting to wear a little thin on me.

Some years ago I didn't care for the idea of Phoenix and was living a more urban life in Seattle and just outside of Boston. Over time my tastes have changed and I got tired paying astronomical rent in a crowded city and I really wanted a more sunny climate. So here I am, living in Albuquerque for about three years and my career has brought me pretty good fortune here so far.

When I visited Phoenix for the first time back in 2012, before I got there I was skeptical of the city, and I had a rather mainstream opinion of it. But I found it to be a really attractive area with attainable modern comfort, new freeways with traffic moving better than most cities of its size, attractive landscaping, and some very scenic mountain ranges scattered around the valley, along with many of the amenities to expected from a metro area of 4 million +, albeit in a more modern suburban grid.

Phoenix on its own doesn't hold a lot of weight with nearby Tempe and Scottsdale filling in a lot of gaps. What I did notice in Phoenix was an effort to bring downtown back to life. Small but noticeable signs with art sculptures, a public market, more retail, and some small businesses around Roosevelt Row that's trying really hard to be hipster, but it's there. There's new residential urban development happening along the light rail line along Central Ave with new bars and restaurants. There are some cons about the city that really aren't easy for me to digest. But Seattle, Boston, and Albuquerque all had that to some degree as well.

Back to C-D, is Phoenix that bad to you, or do you like it? Nice area to visit or not much to do? Do you think its a cultural wasteland or does it not get enough credit? If you've been there recently do you think it's an improving city on its way up, or has it plateaued?

Last edited by Desert_SW_77; 05-28-2015 at 08:22 PM..

 
Old 05-28-2015, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,644 posts, read 8,356,907 times
Reputation: 7598
Phoenix is no where close to as bad as City-Data makes it out to be, at all.

The way people talk about it is like they are describing Las Vegas off the Strip, which is a bigger Fresno and an ugly physical city. Phoenix is a manicured and well taken care of, clean, and effectively growing city.

Phoenix is suburban as heck, there is not 1 square mile of that city that is urban or walkable or even acceptable as an urban environment, as you have to go to Tempe and Scottsdale's small pockets for that but it is definitely not a wasteland the way people on here make it out to be.

It is a good city, I would live there over Boston and Philadelphia in a heartbeat in all honesty and those are two very popular cities on this board (they are good cities but I wouldn't ever live in either, ever).
 
Old 05-28-2015, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma
6,911 posts, read 6,227,078 times
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To me Phoenix is just the largest of all the southwestern cities that were small outposts until WWII,

People expect all these urban traits not realizing the Phoenix was only about 100K after the war. So it's growth mirrored the suburban type growth that all cities experienced during that period into the present day.
 
Old 05-28-2015, 07:39 PM
 
82 posts, read 76,120 times
Reputation: 92
PHX has great access to mountain hiking. I like the desert feel in some parts of the Valley. Summers are just too hot, Boise is mild by comparison. I would rather live in ABQ but you might have more career options in the bigger city.
 
Old 05-28-2015, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
5,722 posts, read 3,678,141 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert_SW_77 View Post
The isolation of Albuquerque is starting to wear a little thin on me.
"Isolation" in what sense? If you mean geographically, then I'm sure you realize that most Southwestern cities tend to be isolated from each other. It's just the nature of the desert Southwest, where there are a handful of large cities and a whole lot of empty space between them.

As for your question about Phoenix, I can only offer the opinion of someone who has only been there once, for a several-day conference. Yes, it was as hot as all get-out (100 degrees in April). And though I knew it's in a desert, I was still taken aback by how dry it is. (I'm a lifelong resident of the Eastern Seaboard, so I have very little experience with deserts.) That said, it struck me as a clean and orderly city, and the natural beauty of the area was quite stunning.

I don't know if I could live there, at least not between April and October. But it left enough of a good impression on me that I would be willing to return and check it out some more.
 
Old 05-28-2015, 08:38 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
9,458 posts, read 18,389,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bus man View Post
"Isolation" in what sense? If you mean geographically, then I'm sure you realize that most Southwestern cities tend to be isolated from each other. It's just the nature of the desert Southwest, where there are a handful of large cities and a whole lot of empty space between them.
I just feel there is more to do in Arizona, for me at least. Isolation in terms of little things like better air service (non stop flights to Boston would be nice), better shopping, just a bit more diversity, more neighborhoods to choose from, all things Phoenix and the Valley can offer more of than Albuquerque. Yes, the Phoenix area is fairly isolated itself, especially compared with Eastern corridors. But I do like that Phoenix has fairly easy access to SoCal, Vegas, Sonoran beaches, nice mountain areas, Sedona and the Grand Canyon to the North, a fair amount of lakes (more than NM), and a bigger city I just think would keep me more stimulated.

Like I said, I want to stay in the desert, so my other options would pretty much be narrowed down to either Tuscon or Vegas. I find Phoenix much more livable and attractive than Vegas. Tucson is scenic, charming, and fun to visit, but it has less career opportunities and much of it kind of reminded me of Albuquerque.

Last edited by Desert_SW_77; 05-28-2015 at 08:49 PM..
 
Old 05-28-2015, 08:50 PM
 
Location: The Pacific Northwest
6,015 posts, read 6,394,099 times
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It's probably a mix of the extreme weather, sprawl, and political climate of Arizona. Water issues too though I know that's arguable for some people. Air quality isn't great to say the least. At this point in my life, Phoenix is everything I wouldn't want in a city personally but I can see why some are drawn to it. On the positive side, winters are nice and there are plenty of outdoor opportunities for residents to enjoy when it's not too hot. Ironically, one of my favorite places to visit in the country is the Flagstaff/Sedona area nearby for the fantastic beauty/hiking. Unfortunately, I had to cancel a backpacking trip near Sedona last year because the streams and other water sources were not potable due to flame retardant runoff from recent forest fires. Another reason why I would look elsewhere for future relocations.
 
Old 05-28-2015, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
5,316 posts, read 3,535,315 times
Reputation: 4524
I'm of the camp that likes The Valley.

It sounds like what you are looking for to me, Desert_SW_77.

And you're right about better flights, especially to SoCal - Southwest & American/US Airways have a ton. If you plan ahead it can be very affordable, and only around 45 - 55 minutes.

I've only been in early Summer once, and I acclimated pretty fast. Between A/C, misters literally almost everywhere in outdoor shopping, dining and bar spaces and access to pools - it wasn't bad.

I know I could live there most of the year comfortably, but I've never been during monsoon season in late Summer. I did witness a big dust storm once from the top of South Mountain Park. That was just bizarre, and looked like a giant East Coast thunderstorm until it hit!

Like everywhere, they are urbanizing in the core. Some of the surrounding outlying places like Carefree, Cave Creek and Apache Junction are almost surreal in their beauty. I wasn't expecting to really like the desert, but I was totally blown away on my first visit.

Good luck if you move, and check out the neighborhoods North of Downtown in the Central Corridor if you get a chance. Lot's of character, and one of the 'leafiest' parts of The Valley.
 
Old 05-28-2015, 09:44 PM
 
3,976 posts, read 3,513,429 times
Reputation: 6405
City-Data is a catch 22. For some reason stereotypes tend to get magnified on here. Things in any place are never as bad as they are made out to be. What is dealt with on here is a battle of ego's. The stereotype pushers say things that are hyperbole, or in some cases if they are not flat out lies they are EPIC displays of ignorance. This in turn causes the people who love the places that have been insulted to emotionally react and battle back. Then everything disintegrates in to the online urban enthusiast version of Jerry Springer.

For whatever reason Phoenix is one of the most misunderstood cities on here. For instance it is usually thrown up as the poster child for sprawl. I find this to be a myth. While I can't say that Phoenix is very urban (it is more urban than the eastern seaboard posters realize) it is no more or less sprawled than any other city. List of United States urban areas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThe link is a list for urban areas in the US. If you look you will find the Phoenician urban area is actually more dense than places like Boston and Philadelphia. I have heard people use MSA density to describe it and that is a sin. We all know MSA's are calculated based on county commuting patterns. Western states like Arizona have giant counties. Hence Maricopa county alone covers a land area greater than New Jersey. Only about 15% of it is actually developed. Using MSA in the case of Phoenix creates an inaccurate data set. I could go on, there are other misconceptions such as the water supply, which is actually the most stable in the southwest. There would be no point. The one thing I have learned after a year on here is that people don't want to be convinced. If someone has decided that orange is blue, well then that is just how it will be.

I spent 6 years in the Valley, I went to school at ASU. As a teenager coming from my suburban Twin Cities bubble I loved everything about Phoenix. World Class shopping, good restaurants, beautiful people, underrated gay scene, laid back and leisure. Great hiking and outdoors proximity, phenomenal air service, and easy access to Southern California. There is so much about Phoenix people don't know, It also has leadership that understands the value of progress and has made strides to take Phoenix to the next level and it is showing. The people who hear the word Phoenix and automatically think that the whole state can be represented a couple outspoken and bat **** crazy politicians, need to stop formulating their opinions from watching CNN, and start developing them through actual life experience.

Phoenix has it's challenges and is the poster child of the sunbelt to be certain. But gathering the opinion of a few isolated internet homers will never do it justice. I have a feeling you'll be just fine there. Lord knows I miss it
 
Old 05-29-2015, 01:56 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
9,458 posts, read 18,389,987 times
Reputation: 11929
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMatl View Post
I'm of the camp that likes The Valley.

It sounds like what you are looking for to me, Desert_SW_77.

And you're right about better flights, especially to SoCal - Southwest & American/US Airways have a ton. If you plan ahead it can be very affordable, and only around 45 - 55 minutes.
.
This will be a very nice option, one of my best friends live in LA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMatl View Post
Like everywhere, they are urbanizing in the core. Some of the surrounding outlying places like Carefree, Cave Creek and Apache Junction are almost surreal in their beauty. I wasn't expecting to really like the desert, but I was totally blown away on my first visit. .
Not all deserts are created equal. The Sonoran desert scenery is definitely one of the Valley's biggest selling points.
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