Phoenix Light Rail and an “Urban Heart”

There was an interesting article in the paper today talking about a new $160,000 campaign to help "shape the new brand" of downtown Phoenix. The name of the campaign is "Arizona's urban heart." The Downtown Phoenix Partnership paid SHR Perceptual Management to help with an image makeover and to raise the profile of Downtown Phoenix. The partnership consists of business owners and some general "movers and shakers" in the Downtown business community. Another group in place within the business community to help "revitalize" the area is the Phoenix Community Alliance. Together, these groups are made up of talented people and it is my hope they will continue to listen and act on the desires of some of the smaller yet vibrant groups making some noise and raising some awareness downtown. Groups like Radiate Phoenix, shows like, blogs like the Downtown Phoenix Journal are all run by the real people in the middle of the "vibe" that is slowly changing the core of Downtown.

Quoted in the "Branding Phoenix" article were the lines, "The new 1.4 billion light-rail line is one of the many recent projects that have added some big-city flavor to the downtown Phoenix area." I rarely see a development story about the area that doesn't mention the potential economic benefit of light rail. I have contacted people at Radiate Phoenix, and the Downtown Phoenix Journal in the past and each of them have, at one time or another, been very cooperative in helping to raise awareness of the communities along the line. I hope groups like the Downtown Phoenix Partnership and the Phoenix Community Alliance continue to reach out to smaller, community groups to listen to what they have to say.

Let's face it, communities are changed by people. People that are part of the community, the lifestyle. It starts by shopping local, by bringing unique developments and cool projects instead of just the chain stores and billboard material. I am really looking forward to watching what the new advertising partnership has to offer. I wonder how many of the advertising executives have been on the light rail, have decided to live downtown or to help participate in it's growth by working with people in the communities? Do they know these people can help them create the vibrancy in the neighborhoods that will help make a tourists stay more enjoyable? I have met some of the people that are shaping downtown and I can tell where their heart is, I just hope the people writing the checks will listen to them…


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