My Urbanista Credentials…
Co-Founder of This Could Be PHX
City Commissioner for the Transportation 2050 Plan
Speaker at GoGreen Sustainability Conference
Car-Free since 2013
I grew up in Phoenix but I never planned on staying here.
You see, Phoenix felt like a joke of a city to me. It’s where I grew up, but not where I wanted to be once I had the choice. So I left, drawn in by the bright lights of Los Angeles. Those bright lights then turned into headlights. Disconnection. Misdirection.
After 6 years, I landed myself back in Phoenix, with plans to leave as soon as I could get to a ‘great city’ where I could have the life I always envisioned.
But I discovered something… a new city growing from the ashes of the old. One that was in a constant state of becoming. One that had been progressively taking steps to create that intangible *thing* that drew me to other great cities in the world… Connection. Energy. Community.
It all centered around Downtown Phoenix. Since 2011, I’ve been in the middle of a whirlwind of change, the dusting off of long neglected streets, hollow buildings, and forgotten corners. I’ve watched as perceptions shifted, new ideas emerged, and change started to become an everyday reality. Like many other cities of sprawl, attention started to shift inward to the core.
A place was about to be born and I wanted to be a part of it.
What Happened Next
In many large cities, you can often feel like a small fish in a really big pond. But in Phoenix, it was the opposite. I felt like I could have a direct influence on shaping the city’s future in a short amount of time. Longtime advocates opened their arms and encouraged me every step along the way.
That’s why I, along with my partner in crime, Ryan Tempest, was inspired to create a community engagement and urban awareness group that became This Could Be PHX. It started off as an idea to create a vision for deserted buildings on one Downtown street and turned into a full blown online and offline platform that sparks conversations, creates connections, and allows us to participate in and influence the growth our city.