Defending Phoenix

Mar 22, 2010

One of the reasons why I started the North Phoenix Blog is because I honestly believe that Phoenix is a great place to live. Really, I do.

There is no secret agenda behind this site. I'm not trying to sell you anything and I don't have a vested interest in getting more people to move to Phoenix. I don't work in construction, real estate, or the financial industry. I'm not trying to "boost" Phoenix by promoting reckless growth and expansion. I am just a regular guy who loves life in the desert.

There are several reasons why I think Phoenix is a great place to live. Phoenix is more affordable than California and has a warmer climate than most other big cities. It is safe from major natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis. The City of Phoenix has a nice big airport, lots of brand new freeways, and a very simple layout that's easy to understand.

Another thing that I like about Phoenix is its location. No other city is just a few hours' drive from the sand dunes of Yuma, the pine trees of Flagstaff, and the magnificent splendor of the Grand Canyon. The sheer diversity of climate zones in the State of Arizona is ideal for enjoying a variety of outdoor activities all year round.

Of course, I am the first to admit that Phoenix is not a perfect place to live. Outdoor temperatures during the summer months are brutally hot and are associated with a number of health risks including sunburns, dehydration, and skin cancer. Like other big cities, Phoenix also has problems with crime, homelessness, and air quality.

What really gets under my skin is when people start talking trash about Phoenix. Many of my friends and colleagues have moved out of state after high school, and the general consensus is that they never realized how much they hated Phoenix until they moved somewhere else.

There is even more animosity towards Phoenix on sites like About.com, the City-Data Phoenix Forum, and UnCyclopedia. For whatever reason, Phoenix is a city that people love to hate.

Many of the criticisms of Phoenix are based on highly subjective claims about the weather, traffic conditions, the diverse population, and political views. But again, these issues could affect anyone in any city.

One of the most common complaints I hear about Phoenix is that the city is too spread and requires too much driving. I've also heard that Phoenix is nothing but a bunch of gun-toting rednecks packed together like sardines in tile-roofed subdivisions sporting granite countertops. Indeed, people sneer at the idea that Phoenix considers buildings from 1900-1950 to be historic.

When you think about it logically, these arguments against Phoenix do not stand up to scrutiny. While it's true that Phoenix is very spread out, do not forget that Los Angeles is ten times worse than we are! While it's true that Arizona residents enjoy the right to bear arms, so do the residents of 49 other states!

Critics of Phoenix love to attack the city for its acres upon acres of master-planned subdivisions with tile roofs that are extremely homogeneous in their architecture and construction. Well just take a look at southern Nevada and you will see nothing but the same thing! And when it comes to historic buildings, of course we are not going to be anywhere near Boston or New York! Comparing Phoenix to those cities is like comparing apples and oranges - they are just not the same and never will be.

Of all the different things that people say they hate about Phoenix, none of them are unique problems that can only be found here. Even the high summer temperatures are shared by cities such as Las Vegas, Tucson, and Fresno, and El Paso.

The way I see it, there are two possibilities: either Phoenix is an absolutely miserable and un-liveable place, or it is really not that different from any other big city. With over 4.2 million people in the greater Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area, I think the answer is pretty clear: Phoenix is a fantastic place to live if you love sunshine, blue skies, and hot, dry air.

I just don't know what the deal is with people who continue to hate on Phoenix. If you're really not happy here, there are plenty of other places to go! If you love humidity, go to Florida. If you love snow, try Minnesota. If you love rain, check out Washington state. If you love the beach, head over to California. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you.

Speaking as a native resident who loves it here, I feel like I spend a lot of time defending Phoenix against attacks from outsiders. It starts to get old pretty fast. It's the desert, stupid! What did you expect?

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