The Economist: Mesa's the "City of the Future"

We couldn't help but raise an eyebrow when we saw the Economist's headline "City of the Future" and realized it referred to Mesa, the rather bland, ultra-suburban neighbor of Phoenix.

But the international weekly seems to really dig Mesa's attempt to mold a new city center out of nothing. In any case, it's quite a coup for Mesa to get this kind of wide-scale, positive attention -- the Economist is one of the world's most influential and well-read business magazines.

Mesa's new mayor, Scott Smith (left), is quoted prominently in the article, which concerns the development of new urban core at the automobile proving grounds that General Motors abandoned and around the all-important Gateway airport. From the Economist article:

The forward-looking part of the plan is that Mesa will be built around an airport. Rather than pushing air traffic to the fringe of the city, as most cities try to do, Mesa will build around its runways. It hopes to become what John Kasarda of the University of North Carolina calls an "aerotropolis"--a city as tied to air traffic as 19th-century cities were to railways.


The new development has been viewed skeptically by some, naturally. But the city is paving the way for the plan, and it seems to be worth a shot. The cash-poor city needs new, vibrant businesses like an accident victim needs a blood transfusion.

The land in southeast Mesa is a diamond in the rough Whether the city's future is so bright -- only time will tell.   

-- Ray Stern

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern