Not since Seattle have I been so impressed with the esthetics of a city. Architecture, the upkeep of public spaces, and an injection of artistic touches creates a welcoming ambiance. My guess is that bylaws regulate the appearance of malls, and other commercial properties, with an emphasis on adhering to the local flair.
As we approached the Phoenix area, the first thing I noticed were the overpasses, stamped with designs and artsy figures. Even the sound barriers, separating neighbourhoods from highway traffic, are ornate, in keeping with the area’s style.
Many corners are host to carefully coiffed gardens. These bright green trees, called Palo Verde, add such beauty. My research tells me that the trees are Arizona’s National tree. Accustomed to the grass and concrete of home, the textures and colours of Arizona landscapes are remarkable. The variety of trees and shrubs, the colour of the earth and the use of rocks creates interesting vignettes. I also love the bright red flowering bushes commonly seen along the roadways.
Signs are kept to a minimum here, which de-emphasizes the commercialism, an effect I appreciated in Hilton Head last year.
In Gilbert, the water works plant has been landscaped and fitted with trails and walkways attracting birders, families, and joggers. This cactus garden is an example of their efforts. The large cacti are called saguaro. Like trees, these giants have holes indicating wildlife nesting in their trunks. The violet prickly pear add a pop of colour. We visited this area on a Saturday when it was quite crowded, but plan to come back during the week.
In downtown Phoenix, many of the highrises and office buildings sport glass facades. (See feature image.) We traveled in town for the RV Show* and I was too distracted by trying to navigate our way to the Convention Center to get many shots, but I was particularly struck by the Arizona State University across the street from our destination. These buildings with the unique facades are also Arizona U.
As a visitor, I appreciate the effort that Phoenix and its surrounding cities have taken to honour the mountains that form their backdrops through their design concepts, and attention to details.
(*Side note: The Convention Center spans many blocks and even though we parked in the underground handicapped spaces, the distance to the motorized vehicle rental spot and then to the third floor ballroom where the RV Show was hosted was too much. Ric left me just outside the elevator from the parking lot and fetched the scooter. His pedometer indicated 3500 steps before we even got into the show. As he is also mobility challenged this outing did us both in.)