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 Program, Adopt a Light Rail Station, Adopt a Park, A.R.T.S. Initiative, Brownfields and the Arts Phoenix, Calle 16 Mural Project, Canalscape, Community Gardens, Connecting Phoenix, Desert TULIP (temporary infill), Discovery Triangle, Dojo Collective, Downtown Phoenix Public Market, First Baptist Church Housing & Public Utility Park, Graffiti Busters, Grand Avenue Rail Project (GARP), Greater Phoenix Cohousing, Green Art Park, Greening America’s Capitals: Lower Grand Avenue, Hance/Deck Park Redo, Maryvale on the Move, Rio Salado, Roosevelt Grow Garden, Urban Form Project, Valley of the Sunflowers, and Washington Street/Centennial Way improvements.
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 Centennial, Art Detour, CityScape Entertainment & Events, Civic Space Park Concerts & Movies, Day for Downtown Community Service Project, Critical Mass Bicycling Ride (Facebook), Devoured Phoenix, First Friday Artwalk, Dine Around, Grand Avenue Festival, Melrose on 7th Street Fair, Mile Club Challenge Downtown Walk, Night Rail, Park(ing) Day, Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts, Phoenix Phoestival (Facebook), Phoenix Retro Spectacular (Facebook), Pub Crawl, Third Friday and Urban Wine Walk.
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 Blocks, Arts/Culture Along Light Rail Map, CenPho.com, Downtown Phoenix Journal, Downtown Phoenix Partnership Ambassadors, Hoozdo Magazine, Java Magazine, Light Rail Blog, “Midcentury Marvels: Commercial Architecture of Phoenix, 1945 – 1975,” Most EnDangered Dozen List, Public Art Map, Radio Phoenix, State of Downtown Address, Vanishing Phoenix, Welcome 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 South, Coronado, Downtown, Encanto-Palmcroft, Evans Churchill, F.Q. Story, Grand Avenue, Jane’s Walk, Midtown Museum District, Modern Phoenix, Sunnyslope, Willo 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: Buzzcation, CenPhoCamp, Creative Connect, Downtown Phoenix Book Club (Facebook), Downtown Voices Coalition, Get Your PHX (Facebook), Ignite Phoenix, Pecha Kucha, Phoenix Community Alliance “Buzz” meetings, Phoenix Design Week, Places/Spaces/Faces Community Dinner (Facebook), Radiate Phoenix, Rogue Green, Smunch Phoenix, TEDx Phoenix, or TEDxScottsdale (which does things in Phoenix too!).
Shop Till You Drop
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