The Cool Index: Is Phoenix Finally Cool?

Ten years ago this fall, New Times devoted a lot of ink to the possibility of urban renewal in a series called "Exploding Downtown." The bottom line: After several false starts over the course of many decades, downtown Phoenix was deserted after dark, a cultural wasteland with pro baseball and basketball arenas and little else to draw a crowd -- and it was hardly better during the day. At the time, a guy named Richard Florida wrote a book called The Rise of the Creative Class, in which he championed the notion of rehabbing crumbling cities (and, thus, economies) by making them places where "creatives" -- up to a third of the population! -- would want to live and work. It had been done in Pittsburgh, which pretty much meant it could be done anywhere, right? Read the full story by Amy Silverman here.

Photos by New Times staff and contributors

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