Engage Puzzle You’re interested in building a better community, but where do you go to offer your time, talent and commitment? Here’s a handy, rather comprehensive guide of projects, initiatives, events and meet-ups being contemplated or acted upon. If something piques your interest, click on the link for more information. In other words, Engage!

Improving Our Physical Space

Numerous projects are underway to improve our downtown’s physical space, and many seek volunteers or public feedback: Adaptive Reuse ProgramAdopt a Light Rail StationAdopt a ParkA.R.T.S. InitiativeBrownfields and the Arts PhoenixCalle 16 Mural ProjectCanalscapeCommunity GardensConnecting PhoenixDesert TULIP (temporary infill)Discovery TriangleDojo CollectiveDowntown Phoenix Public MarketFirst Baptist Church Housing & Public Utility ParkGraffiti BustersGrand Avenue Rail Project (GARP)Greater Phoenix CohousingGreen Art ParkGreening America’s Capitals: Lower Grand AvenueHance/Deck Park RedoMaryvale on the MoveRio SaladoRoosevelt Grow GardenUrban Form ProjectValley of the Sunflowers, and Washington Street/Centennial Way improvements.

Building Community

Many community-building activities bring out lots of people each and every week, monthly or simply once a year. Check these out and mark your calendar: Arizona CentennialArt DetourCityScape Entertainment & EventsCivic Space Park Concerts & MoviesDay for Downtown Community Service ProjectCritical Mass Bicycling Ride (Facebook), Devoured PhoenixFirst Friday ArtwalkDine AroundGrand Avenue FestivalMelrose on 7th Street FairMile Club Challenge Downtown WalkNight RailPark(ing) DayPhoenix Annual Parade of the ArtsPhoenix Phoestival (Facebook), Phoenix Retro Spectacular (Facebook), Pub CrawlThird Friday and Urban Wine Walk.

Hidden Phoenix

Whether you’re new to the Valley, a native or something in-between, you can always learn something new about Phoenix. Some helpful guides include: 26 BlocksArts/Culture Along Light Rail MapCenPho.comDowntown Phoenix JournalDowntown Phoenix Partnership AmbassadorsHoozdo MagazineJava MagazineLight Rail Blog, “Midcentury Marvels: Commercial Architecture of Phoenix, 1945 – 1975,” Most EnDangered Dozen ListPublic Art MapRadio PhoenixState of Downtown AddressVanishing PhoenixWelcome Back Students (Facebook) and You Are Here Guide.

Touring the City

A great way to learn more about Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods is to get outside and take a tour of… Central City SouthCoronadoDowntownEncanto-PalmcroftEvans ChurchillF.Q. StoryGrand AvenueJane’s WalkMidtown Museum DistrictModern PhoenixSunnyslopeWillo and Windsor Square. You can even receive a free tour map of Phoenix’s historic neighborhoods, created entirely by volunteers with the Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition, by sending an email.

Meet and Greet

You can meet new people who share your interests or catch up with friends at one of the community-focused “meet-ups” sponsored by various individuals and groups: BuzzcationCenPhoCampCreative ConnectDowntown Phoenix Book Club (Facebook), Downtown Voices CoalitionGet Your PHX (Facebook), Ignite PhoenixPecha KuchaPhoenix Community Alliance “Buzz” meetingsPhoenix Design WeekPlaces/Spaces/Faces Community Dinner (Facebook), Radiate PhoenixRogue GreenSmunch PhoenixTEDx Phoenix, or TEDxScottsdale (which does things in Phoenix too!).

Shop Till You Drop

Here are several ways that locals can shop locally: ASU Sun CardCommunity Supported Market CardIndependents WeekMetro Max Card, and Phoenix Small Wonders.

More Good Stuff, Yet Webless

The following projects don’t have a Web presence, but hopefully will one day: Downtown Phoenix Dog Park, East McDowell Revitalization Project, Historic McDowell Now, South Phoenix Between the 7s, SWAT Team (Exterior Fix-Up), Urban Infill Working Group, and Wrap Your Night event/dining walking map. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these, reply and we will put you in touch with folks involved.

So, to conclude…

Hopefully this list will spur you on to engage in an existing project or encourage you to start something that fills a hole or strikes new territory. If you live or work outside of Greater Downtown Phoenix — in another council district or city across the Valley — we’re sure you can get out your own pencil and paper and create a similar list.

NOTE: The list above represents “fine grain” opportunities, organized by individuals or groups that care passionately about our community, to promote and/or enhance Greater Downtown Phoenix. For the sake of brevity, this list does not include seasons of professional sports teams; seasons of professional arts organizations; themed months; or events, parades and shopping experiences revolving around major holidays.

Update: July 8, 2012