Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the country, but it doesn't look like it, particularly its dead-after-dark downtown. Why hasn't a vibrant core city happened? We've got interesting people: artists, tycoons, celebrities cultural and ethnic diversity. Why are we saddled with vacant lots and Soviet-style architecture in our core city? Downtown dwellers can't even rent a video in the neighborhood, and forget about it if you're looking for more than a handful of decent restaurants and bars. Among the few good things downtown are sports venues like Bank One Ballpark and America West Arena. But they aren't enough. The First Friday art walks, which bring thousands downtown each month, give us a taste of what downtown could be. But that isn't enough either. In a New Times special project, we examine how downtown got this way and what must be done if Phoenix is to become a world-class city.
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