The political shouting over the Squaw Peak pots a decade ago didn't end efforts to beautify Valley stretches of asphalt.
And a good thing, too. Ever since "the pots," landscaping and public art have helped to sharpen the appearances of local bahns.
So instead of the Berlin walls that other regions install between freeways and neighborhoods, we get cheerful expanses like this public art project along the Pima Freeway. Designed by a team that included artist Carolyn Braaksma, landscape architect Jeff Engelmann and architect Andrea Forman, the six-mile ribbon of relief murals features desert critters and flora in shades of gray, green, pink, lavender and beige concrete. They're immense, colorful and filled with shadow-cut details that add the best smile we know of to any Valley drive.