93: Yuri Artibise

No. 93: Yuri Artibise

Yuri is a recovering public policy wonk. He has a depth of experience in research and analysis of contemporary policy issues, including a stint at ASU's Morrison Institute of Public Policy. His current passion is community building and creating livable neighborhoods.

Since moving to the Valley from Canada in 2007, Yuri has dedicated himself to building a community of people interested in creating and sustaining authentic urbanism in central Phoenix.

Five things on your inspiration wall:

While I strongly believe that Phoenix has a unique spirit of place that needs to be nurtured there is a big world out there, filled with awesome ideas to learn from. Being exposed to new ways of doing things is perhaps the most inspirational activity we can undertake.

Books. Although I'm a Google Reader fanatic, there is something permanent about books that continue to motivate me. My latest inspirational read was What We See, Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs. The breadth of the collected essays is amazing, as is how the book presents a fresh perspective on Jane Jacobs' thinking for a contemporary audience.

People. Despite living in a city best know for its sprawl, I've found a small but passionate community of people determined to improve Phoenix's urban fabric. As Tim Ferriss said: "It doesn't matter how many people don't get it. What matters is how many people do." Each time somebody else who 'gets it,' I know I'm on the right track.

Architecture: Arizona has an amazing architectural lineage starting from Frank Lloyd right up to today's crop of young architects like Merz Project and plus minus studio. I also value our city's mid-century modern heritage. The sense of optimism that architects like Ralph Haver, Al Beadle and Frank Henry brought to the Valley is a constant sense of inspiration. It is sad, however, to see so much of it being torn down or stuccoed over.

History. Despite being accused of being a city with no history, Phoenix actually has quite a bit. I continually refer back to the Phoenix that 'once was,' before the automobile and speculators began to dominate our planning decisions. Believe it or not, until the 1960's Phoenix had a dense, walkable and vibrant downtown. It would be great if we could bring even a portion of that fine-grained urbanism back to our core.

What was your last big project?

My latest big project was Jane's Walk Phoenix on May 1st. Jane's Walk is a series of free neighborhood walking tours that helps put people in touch with their environment and with each other, by bridging social and geographic gaps and creating a space for cities to discover themselves. This was the second year that I organized a walk in Phoenix. Over 80 people came out to celebrate Jane Jacobs and learn more about Phoenix's Warehouse District. The large size of the group (nearly three times last year's attendance) is a testament to a growing passion for downtown Phoenix and our authentic urban fabric.

What's your next big project?

I have a few lined up. I was recently invited by Bill Wyman to write for Phxated.com, a blog about culture, media and politics in and around Phoenix.

In terms of big projects, I'm gearing up to bring PARK(ing) Day back to the streets of Phoenix in September. PARK(ing) Day is an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens independently but simultaneously temporarily transform metered parking spots into "PARK(ing)" spaces: temporary public parks. This year's event will be on September 17th.

I'm also working with Tyler Hurst to hold another CenPhoCamp in October. CenPhoCamp is an 'unconference' designed to bring small, local organizations together and introduce them to the power of social media. This first event in January was such a success that we've been asked to do it again. Stay tuned for details!

How much do you hate being asked what your next big project is?

 I actually like it. The question keeps me grounded and focused. If you want to change the world (or even a small part of it), you have to keep on pressing forward.

What's something you want Phoenix to know about you? (And, if you're game, what's something you really don't want Phoenix to know about you?)

The answer to both questions is really a moot point. I lead a pretty open life online. If there is anything you don't already know about me, friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or ask me on Formspring and you will quickly find out.

The Creatives, so far:

100. Fausto Fernandez
99. Brian Boner
98. Carol Panaro-Smith
97. Jane Reddin
96. Adam Dumper
95. Mayme Kratz
94. Daniel Tantalean

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