Crowdsourcing an Urbanist Trip

A faithful reader of WSA is heading off to the American southwest next week, for a ten hour tour  ten day car trip. She was wondering what nifty — or really horrible — urban thingys she should look for in the following places. Dear Readers, you know the stuff that interests fellow readers: nifty neighborhoods, old or new; traffic calming and streetscaping;  transit; architecture; the weird and wacky.

Her list is already started, and includes these obvious things:

Las Vegas – the new Starchitect hotel megaplex near the Bellagio, includes the Ghery building that focuses the sun’s rays onto a hot spot at the pool. She’s been to Vegas before, and will revisit old favorites like the Bellagio and ride the Deuce double decker transit. Did the “new” monorail ever open?

Sedona – the church high on the hillside sponsored by Barry Goldwater

Prescott – for the old Victorian neighborhoods

Phoenix – ride the LRT; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West; new downtown waterfront (?) project.

She’s starting to look things up on the ‘net, so don’t go to any special effort. You are not travel agents. Really, it’s just an exercise in finding out what fellow readers know of that would be nifty and interesting. Let ‘er rip. 

PS: having travelled before, she has already been the Canyon, Meteorite Hole, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, etc. Think URBAN.

6 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing an Urbanist Trip

  1. 1. In Phoenix, the Van Buren motel strip off the Airport.
    Some of them are grown over w/kudzu vine and look like Inca ruins.
    Others are kept alive housing “the downtrodden”.
    Nice old neon signs too.
    (they may all be down by now…)

    2. Prescott: Hasayampa Hotel, built 1927. Tom Mix hung out there.

    1. Terrible location for a monorail – it only get built with the cooperation of the casinos, so it runs well in behind them (meaning a 10 – 15 minute walk from the strip in some cases) and it doesn’t go downtown. So a real “from nowhere to nowhere” project. Plus one of the stations is inside a casino that is closing…. lucky!

      Another great failed project to go see would be CityCenter, the Strip’s attempt at urbanisation. I have heard that on some sides of some of the building, the wind noise renders the apartments uninhabitable. It cost more than double projected (almost 10 billion) and I think has gone into bankruptcy.

  2. This Mesa Del Sol development in Albuquerque New Mexico is pointed to as “the nation’s largest New Urbanism project” where they are turning 12,000 acres of desert land between the airport, the railway, a reserve, and University of New Mexico, into a mixed use community.
    Developer site:

    Not sure how much there is to see yet – or if this is turning out to be a LeBreton Flats version of “New Urbanism”. But it all sounds so pretty…

    Here’s an article where Tucson residents are complaining “why can’t we do that here?”

  3. In Las Vegas there’s a cemetery for old casino signs. Is Boulder Colorado out of the way?

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