November 15, 2010

Phoenix – Small Town Big City

by: Taz Loomans


This weekend I attended three excellent community events, Pecha Kucha Night Phoenix #2, Cupcake Camp Phoenix and Certified Local! Fall Festival.  There were probably five other events happening simultaneously that I missed, I’m sure.  It’s November and the event season in Phoenix is in full swing!

So I knew a lot of the people at each of these events.  I would say I knew a good chunk of them.  And I would also say that this same chunk attended all three events and will probably attend the various events that are coming up this holiday season.  It seems like the same core group of people actually goes out and participates in these events and makes them successful.  This is wonderful because it makes for a solid nucleus of people energizing Central Phoenix.  It’s great to run into people you know at public events, to see what they’re up to and where’s they’re headed next.  It gives our huge metropolis a small-town feel.

However this is just the beginning.  We can’t get comfortable here as a city, leveling out at this stage of community development.  It’s true that it’s a critical milestone to have a reliable group of engaged people willing to do what it takes to make Phoenix into a vibrant urban center.  But now we need to strive for a higher level of community involvement, getting others to come out and join in the fun and to build on the momentum. I believe that as our fantastic community events keep growing and attract new people (in addition to the reliable nucleus) we’ll join the ranks of the great cities in the world.  We need to make these community events hubs of not only Central Phoenicians in the know but coveted destinations of interested people far and wide.  In other words, I think the next step in Phoenix’s evolution is to expand the reach of the exciting life that is percolating in Downtown so that it becomes infectious and actually has a reverberating impact across our expansive Valley, introducing our vibrant urban core to our suburban neighbors.

Photo Credit:  Cupcake Camp at CO+HOOTS this past Saturday. Photo by the author.

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6 Responses

  1. Steve Weiss says:

    I call Phoenix the “5th largest small town in the nation”.

  2. I totally agree with you: it’s time to activate the folks that don’t make all of these great events and aren’t always in the know about them.

    It’s easy to start thinking that just because events are garnering good attendance that we’ve done our job.

  3. Julie Baier says:

    I describe my neighborhood as an urban village for this very reason. I went to the inaugural mobile food court, and found myself in line next to Sean Sweat the day after the dog park hearing. We’d previously only known each other via Facebook. I have many similar experiences since I moved downtown, and I love that we have a book club, a pie social, community garden and art parade.

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