The Lessons Phoenix Can Teach Other Cities About Sustainable Development

The lessons phoenix can teach other cities about sustainable development
The Central Arizona Project (CAP) is designed to bring approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water annually to Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa Counties / © Tim Roberts Photography

A new book suggests the desert metropolis has been getting a bad rap, and has lessons to offer other cities

Grady Gammage isn’t happy with the way people talk about his city. A land use lawyer and senior scholar at Arizona State University, Gammage believes the stereotypes about Phoenix, that it’s a sprawling city without rules that wastes resources, just aren’t true. His new book, The Future of the Suburban City: Lessons From Sustaining Phoenix, challenges the idea that this is a city in the middle of the desert that shouldn’t exist. Rather, the fast-growing city’s evolution, originally based on autos, air conditioning and air travel, has lessons that apply to other large metro areas.

“I used suburban city in the title because it’s a pejorative term,” he says. “I’m OK with that, since I want readers to understand they shouldn’t think of it as a pejorative term. It’s just a different type of city.” […]