Scroll your mouse over each photograph for commentary from the “Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown“ report of August 2004.
In the chapter on Locally Owned Business, the report states: “The city of Phoenix is facing an unprecedented surge in growth, and city leaders are working hard to make a livable downtown that will sustain the addition of 15,000 new ASU students plus 1,800 faculty and staff, the employees of the Translational Genomics Research Institute, and massive additions to housing and retail space. In Phoenix, we still have the opportunity to keep our downtown unique and thriving, a combination vital to our quality of life and sense of place. Many people across the country are feeling a sense of loss in their communities due to the homogenization of their downtown corridors. The disappearance of local businesses is palpable and real. It is time to consider the real loss a community experiences when it loses its local business base, and choose instead to invest in our local economy, cultivate consumer choice, encourage cultural diversity, and ensure that our hometown maintains its own unique character.
From Barnstable, Mass., to Austin, Texas, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Fullerton, California, communities are becoming politically active and rejecting the hollow promises the chain stores offer. Local business is a critical part of the social fabric of any community and helps to build tradition, pride and commitment. We can move towards becoming another bland, commercialized, and divided town where gated communities, private security services, and chain stores are prominent features. Or we can remain unique, beautiful, and open to new cultural expressions through the encouragement and development of our local business community.”