Daily Archives: August 16, 2009

Fair Trade Cafe opens up second downtown Phoenix spot, Aug. 21

[Source: Downtown Phoenix Journal] — On Friday, August 21, Fair Trade Café will open its second location in downtown Phoenix, and the video above gives you a sneak peak on last minute construction work.  Their grand opening coincides with the public open house of the restored 1926 A.E. England Motor Car Company building at the Downtown Phoenix Civic Space Park.  All are welcome to attend the festivities, hosted by the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, from 6 to 9 p.m.  Highlights include live music, building tours, vintage cars, and (of course) coffee and other menu items.

The building’s restoration and overall park development were funded, in part, by the 2006 City of Phoenix Bond Program, overwhelmingly approved by Phoenix voters.

Phoenix Daily Photo: Downtown Phoenix

Downtown view 1.JPG

Downtown Phoenix looking northeast (Photo source: Blogger Sharon)

Sharing pictures via the Internet is easy, and it’s interesting to see where photographers and videographers, both amateur and professional, focus their lenses. Blogger Sharon snaps photos all around metro Phoenix.  On July 10, she took this shot from an interesting angle in downtown Phoenix.  Her commentary is below:

Here is a view of downtown Phoenix that I snapped from one of the county high-rise building.  The building to the left, with the crown on top is the City Hall building that I featured here.  The older, low building to the right of the photo is the building that houses the Maricopa County Court House and the old city hall. You can also see a number of business high-rise buildings in the mix.  The building under construction to the very far right is part of the [CityScape project] that combines, office space, living space, and retail space in one development.  It is one major development project that continues to progress even in these tight financial times.

Viewpoint: The free market did not give us suburbia

[Source: Life in Downtown Phoenix blog] — A common refrain of defenders of the dominant American suburban form is that it is simply the culmination of millions of microeconomic decisions by consumers to “vote with their feet” and buy a house in the ‘burbs. If mainstream Americans really wanted urban living, they would have chosen to stay in the cities, goes the argument.

A great article in [the August 15] Wall Street Journal debunks that free market myth, and discusses the way that government — through its creation of Fannie Mae and federal underwriting for mortgage loans, among others — shaped our sprawled-out society through multiple market-distorting policies throughout the 20th century.  One key quote from the article:  “Federal housing policies changed the whole landscape of America, creating the sprawlscapes that we now call home, and in the process, gutting inner cities… [o]f new housing today, 80% is built in the suburbs — the direct legacy of federal policies that favored outlying areas rather than the rehabilitation of city centers.”

The article doesn’t even get into the federal government’s massive freeway-building programs that laid waste to central-city neighborhoods in order to whisk commuters into and out of downtowns and back to the suburbs.

The article is a worthwhile read, and makes one ponder how America would look if government policy (authored by politicians of both parties) hadn’t for decades obsessed over increasing (mostly suburban) homeownership.  And it goes without saying that Phoenix, which came of age as these policies were in their ascendancy, would have looked much different.  It also makes one wonder about Phoenix’s future as these policies increasingly come under question by politicians and more importantly, consumers.