Decentralizing Urban Policy: Case Studies in Community Development

By Paul R. Dommel; John Stuart Hall et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
Phoenix, Arizona

JOHN STUART HALL

From the ashes of the past shall arise a new civilization. The Phoenix bird of ancient mythology means resurrection and I suggest this new settlement be named Phoenix.

-- Darrell Duppa, credited with naming Phoenix in 1881.

BY ANY STANDARDS Phoenix is one of America's newest cities. More than 80 percent of its current housing stock has been constructed since 1950 to accommodate a dramatic increase in population from about 107,000 in 1950 to 669,000 in 1975. This growth has paralleled the city's phenomenal areal expansion from 17.1 square miles to 276 square miles.1 More than $100 million of commercial home loan activity took place in the city in 1976, and local contractors complained of inadequate material and supplies to meet the current housing demand.2 The city's spectacular growth accounts for the tendency of local realtors and prospective home buyers to categorize houses as "new-used" and "old-used." All are becoming harder to acquire. In more than one case entire housing subdivisions have been sold before the first unit was constructed.

There is substantial room for growth within city limits and good reason to expect continued economic development. The city's population density of 2,423 per square mile in 1975 was low compared not only with such per-square-mile extremes as Manhattan (67,808) and Philadelphia (15,164), but also with the most well-known example of urban

____________________
1
Valley National Bank, Arizona Statistical Review ( Phoenix: The Bank, 1976), p. 10. These data are used to reflect the city's characteristics at the time the community development block grant program started.
2
This is a minimum estimate based on home loan disclosure data obtained from local lending institutions. Data are incomplete or unavailable from three major lending institutions. For a discussion, see John S. Hall and Richard A. Eribes, "Politics of Housing Finance: Patterns of Investment and Hardship in Phoenix," paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Western Political Science Association, Los Angeles, March 16-18, 1978.

-47-

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Decentralizing Urban Policy: Case Studies in Community Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Legislating and Implementing a Block Grant 13
  • Conclusion 45
  • Chapter Three - Phoenix, Arizona 47
  • Conclusion 79
  • Chapter Four - Houston, Texas 84
  • Chapter Five - Chicago, Illinois 120
  • Chapter Seven - Carbondale, Illinois 195
  • Conclusion 220
  • Chapter Eight the Process and Its Outcomes 223
  • Conclusion 240
  • Chapter Nine Decentralization: A Moving Target 243
  • Index 265
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