Sunday Book Review: The Great Reset by Richard Florida

The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity by Richard Florida

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Richard Florida returns to form in this book. He is spot on in his assessments of our current crisis and what it means to future generations. While I am conflicted about the changes that are already occurring it is impossible to ignore them any longer. This is a must read to anyone caring about economics, government and/or education.

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Note: Trying something new other than the thumbs up/down reviews because Good Reads makes it so simple now.

Phoenix Urbanites Cry Sprawl Foul, but Remain Most Guilty

A few times recently I have seen/heard Phoenix Urbanites disparage outside cities in derogatory terms using “sprawl” as their verbal assault of choice.  Oddly the facts, don’t line up with their dogma.

Let’s look at total population, population density (people per sq mile), incorporation date and average household income.

City Population Density Incorporation Household Income
Portland 582k 4,288/sq mi 1845 $70,000
Chandler 274k 4,202/sq mi 1912 $69,278
Tempe 175k 4,067/sq mi 1894 $42,361
Mesa 463k 3,536/sq mi 1878 $42,817
Phoenix 1,567k 2,937/sq mi 1881 $50,140

It’s amazing that Chandler, AZ looks more like Portland, OR than Phoenix, AZ does by the numbers.

I suspect that Phoenix people harping on density and urban infill while casting stones at other communities would know that in fact the City of Phoenix has been the biggest culprit of unabated sprawl over the last 50 years.  Having by far the lowest population density track record.  It likes to claim superiority by being the capital and being here “first” and that these other cities popped up over night and ruined the world with “sprawl”, but in reality it is younger than Mesa and relatively close in age to the others.

I do believe that all these cities have a sprawl problem (which I am against).  I am just setting the record straight that Phoenix is the biggest violator.

I  lived in Phoenix (the city) for 24 years and have lived in the East Valley for the past 10 years.  I worked in downtown Phoenix for 8 years and downtown Tempe for 4 years.  Two of my children were born in downtown Phoenix and one in Chandler.  I love both the city and the metro, but it’s time that we start having real discussion and stop just regurgitating the rhetoric the uninformed feed us or we will be doomed to be in crisis for another decade or more.

Disclaimer: My goal is to position Chandler is the linchpin of the Sun Corridor by 2020.  Rising tides raise all ships and by definition this does not make me “against” Phoenix.

Chandler Ostrich Festival

The Parade Kicks off this weekend in Downtown!  We are excited as this will be right outside of new Gangplank 3.0 building.

The Thorobred Chevrolet Ostrich Festival Parade will kick-off the Ostrich Festival on Saturday morning, March 6th, 2010 at 10:00 am.

The parade route starts at Ray Road and Arizona Avenue, proceeds south on Arizona Avenue to Chicago St.

Parade watchers are encouraged to bring their chairs and blankets to enjoy the parade. Some of the attractions that were featured in the past include Ollie the Trolley, antique cars, horses, high school marching bands and creative floats. More than 100 various entries are expected for the parade.

As the parade sponsor, the Thorobred Chevrolet name has been associated with supporting the Ostrich Festival from the beginning.

Don’t forget to get out and enjoy the rest of Festival the following weekend!

Chandler Mardi Gras Event

Downtown Chandler will be transformed into the “Big Easy” for one magical night on Saturday Feb. 6, as the Downtown Chandler Community Foundation hosts its first Mardi Gras Festival.

The event will include a parade, street festival, strolling musicians, costume contest and the crowning of the Mardi Gras King and Queen. The reception and registration will kick off at 6 p.m. at di Sciacca. The parade will go from di Sciacca to the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort at approximately 7:30 p.m.
The resort is the site for the dinner, music and casino.  VIP tickets are $100 and general admission tickets are $75.  All proceeds from the event will go to the Downtown Chandler Community Foundation, which provides grants to nonprofits in the downtown area that meet critical community needs.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to

Live Music in Downtown Chandler

One of the things we were hoping would happen in moving Gangplank to downtown Chandler and getting the recording studio setup was more live music.  The great news is that the process is already well under way.   Every weekend you can find live music at the following locations. Looking forward to expanding the offering in the near future!

Murphy’s Law
Tues. Wed. Fri. Sat (480) 812-1588

Urban Tea Loft
Saturdays (480) 786-9600

El Zocalo’s
Fridays, Saturdays (480) 722-0303

San Tan Brewery
Wed.,Sat., Sun. (480) 917-8700

Kokopelli Winery
Fridays, Saturdays (480) 792-6927

Art in Unlikely Places / Downtown Revitalization

Revitalizing an area and encouraging urban infill is about more than attracting new business to a location.  It really is about building community and getting people involved.  One thing I love about downtown Chandler’s effort is that they understand that details matter.  They are far from perfect but they are attempting to get the little things right.  The business owners and residents really are a tight knit family.

Look around downtown and you will see bursts of color everywhere, thanks to the “Downtown Chandler Wrap Project, Making Art out of the Ordinary.”  These photographic and digital paintings, which cover trash receptacles and bollards, are now anything but ordinary. A public jury selected the work of four local artists–  Maynard Breese, Sue Cullumber, Dale Kesel and George Lenz— whose images were then transferred to vinyl with laminate. The images were then wrapped around the objects to produce one of the first exhibits of its kind in Chandler.

“We were able to use art to enhance regular objects and create a visually pleasing environment,” says Eric Faulhaber, Visual Arts Coordinator for the City of Chandler and the Chandler Arts Commission.  The exhibit is sponsored by the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, the City of Chandler’s Downtown Redevelopment Office and the Chandler Arts Commission.

Downtown Chandler Events for January

Stupid Monday Movies
Every Monday @ San Tan Brewery (9pm)
Mutants, Freaks, and Nerds tend to inhabit the SanTan Brewery, and that’s just the Staff! Watching bad movies is generally a guilty secret for most people. Anyone who has seen Point Break more than once has probably seen it 74 times. The same goes for a host of other lousy titles that were given the green light to infect celluloid with their utter “unwatchableness” (not sure if that’s a word). Truthfully, this category can be divided and sub-divide many, many times depending on your passion or aversion to the genre. However, we will try to keep it a little more mainstream and common. The television screens will be painted with Low-Def cinema centerpieces.

Chandler Art Walk
First Wednesday @ Downtown Chandler (5-9pm)

Farmer’s Market
Every Thursday @ Downtown Chandler (3-7pm)
Dr. A.J. Chandler Park is filled with vendors selling everything from local, organic produce to jams, salsas, honey, tamales and a wide variety of craft items. On the second Thursday of each month, join us for live music

Around the World/Multicultural Festival
Saturday Jan 16th @ Downtown Chandler (1-5pm)
Celebrate the wonderful diversity of Historic Downtown Chandler–and enter a raffle for great prizes–by joining us on Saturday, Jan. 16, for “Around the World in Downtown Chandler.” The event, which will be held in conjunction with the City of Chandler’s Multicultural Festival, runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Downtown merchants will feature the sights, sounds and tastes of destinations around the globe. Travelers can pick up their passports from a booth at the Multicultural Festival on the east side of Arizona Avenue. Those that get all the destinations stamped will be entered into a raffle for a Grand Prize–an overnight stay at the beautiful Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort and a gift certificate that can be used at any business.

Images Fashion Show
Saturday Jan 16th @ Guedos (1-5pm)

Valley Fever Improv
Saturday Jan 16th & 30th @ Art on Boston (7pm)
Adults $10 and Kids, Seniors, or Students $8
Valley Fever Improv is Chandler/Gilbert’s answer to ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ Be ready for a 90 minute fast paced, all ages appropriate show based on audience suggestions. Dave and Colleen Specht are proud to produce improv in beautiful downtown Chandler.

Tea 101 Class
Sunday Jan 17th @ Urban Tea Loft (2-5pm)
Discover the world of tea by exploring tea types, health benefits, resources and countries of origin. Learn how to conduct a proper tea tasting using correct terminology, tasting logs and notes. Will taste the 5 major tea types. Includes professional cupping set. $35 per person. Because space is limited to 13 participants reservations must be secured with pre-payment by calling the Loft.

Italian-American Festival
Friday-Sunday Jan 29th-31st @ Kokopelli Winery (1-5pm)
Enjoy homemade Italian food, Kokopelli Wine, live Italian Music, Italian autos, Karoke Rat Pack Singng contest and a bocce ball tournament.

11 Months of Phoenix Metro Rail Ridership Data?

I saw RailLife post Metro Rail ridership numbers from Jan 2009 through Nov 2009.  I was curious what these numbers looked like graphed out, so I quickly plotted the weekday, saturday and sunday/holiday numbers.

Metro Ridership by Month

I then wondered what effect temperature may have had on ridership based on extreme heat here in Arizona.  Granted I was only able to use average monthly temperature and monthly ridership numbers instead of being able to plot ridership everyday by temperature.  I would like someone with that data to plot it though or post the daily ridership numbers so someone else can plot it.

Metro Ridership by Temperature

Lastly I wanted to see what effect gasoline prices had on ridership.  I was only able to use average gas prices with month totals instead of average gas price by day and ridership by day.

Metro Ridership by Gas Price

All in all this data is probably useless for several reasons.  Gas prices jump dramatically during the summer almost directly at the same time temperatures rise here in Arizona.  Rising gas prices and temperatures happen at the same time students are out of school and snow birds are gone.  Would love to hear various theories and see more data.

U of A in Downtown Phoenix.. Does This Smell Funny?

There is a lot of talk about U of A building a new cancer center in downtown Phoenix.  There is no denying that this would help fulfill long ago given promises made by the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.  I am not sure where I stand on this.  I just know something is rotten in the state of Denmark.  U of A pushing so hard to be in Phoenix and Mayor Gordon seemingly so willing to help them find money to borrow.

Then all the talk of Maricopa Integrated Healthcare System (MIHS) partnering with U of A to create a medical center in downtown.  I want to be really optimistic because the thought of increased biotechnology sectors and increased health care are big wins.  However, I am reminded of the phrase of “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is”.  So help me out.  Tell me what I’m missing here or am I just being unduly paranoid?