There has been a lot of building, restoration, and renovation of the downtown area. Examples of the vast amount of development that have been going on are the US Airways Center (formerly America West Arena) and Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark) and the very many coffeehouses, restaurants, nightclubs and shopping areas appearing with increasing frequency. The popular Arizona Center continues to attract people to the downtown area for shopping during the day as well as for the vibrant nightlife. Many new restaurants have done well by offering first-rate food, fun, and service, some using the themes of Phoenix's early history to add extra charm and uniqueness to the dining experience. Downtown attractions include a variety of events and activities supported by public and private sponsors. There are also many parks and squares to walk, the Arizona Science Center, art and history museums and the public library to visit.
Phoenix adopted a commission form of government in 1913. This is long before any other city had thought about using this type of method of city government, as most had never imagined any system other than the long-established major leadership system. The city of Phoenix is managed by a city council consisting of a mayor and eight city council members. The mayor is elected in an “at large (or election open to the public) election.
The winning candidate is elected to serve a four-year term. City council members are elected to four-year terms by voters as well, but each councilperson is voted for by, and to represent, each of the eight separate city districts. The mayor and city council members have equal voting power to make laws and set the policies that govern the city.
In addition to eight voting districts, the city is also divided into 15 "urban villages." The reason for this is to help in making local laws and regulations that are in tune with the needs of the local residents. Having smaller areas that can express their needs and wants is intended to let people have their say at a level closer to the neighborhood residents
These urban villages(Five of the villages: North Mountain Village, Alhambra Village, Encanto Village, Camelback East Village, and Central City Village, are included in Central Phoenix.) are: Ahwatukee Foothills, Alhambra, Camelback East, Central City, Deer Valley, Desert Ridge, Desert View, Encanto, Estrella, Laveen, Maryvale, North Gateway, North Mountain, Paradise Valley (not to be confused with the town of Paradise Valley), South Mountain, as well as a fifteenth which is as of yet unnamed (created in 2004 and currently called, "New Village."). The fifteenth is sparsely populated and new development is not expected anytime in the near future.
All of these villages are unique and have special characteristics. Visit any of these five villages and the differences in history and personality will become immediately apparent to even the most casual observer. Phoenix is in the center of Arizona and it has a little of everything. Discover Phoenix, discover a unique part of America’s heritage.
West Phoenix (Growth and Opportunity)
The inner neighborhoods include many reasonably priced homes. Much of the residential building here is recent and took place no later than the 1970s. Shoppers in the west are catered to by a variety of large malls and pavilions that promise not only great selection and price but also provide free open-air entertainment like concerts and other attractions.
The west side continues to grow outward at an amazing rate. Visit charming Historic Downtown Glendale and see how life was in the area in days gone by. Antique vendors tempt visitors with their hidden treasures and the area affords a variety of shopping and diverse dining choices.
Cardinals Stadium is currently under construction in Glendale. The Fiesta Bowl is moving to the stadium in 2007 and the 2008 Superbowl (XLII) is slated to be held at Cardinal Stadium.
South Phoenix (Economy and Scenery)
This area features a lot of inexpensive housing. There is also a lot of commercial activity going on here. But for older adults and urban professionals there is the gated community of Ahwatukee that provides upscale apartments.
Visitors are advised to take the South Mountain Park Scenic Drive while in this area. The beautiful sunsets that are the pride of Arizona and best enjoyed from a desert wilderness vantage point are seen so clearly from these mountains. An impressive shopping mall is located just across the freeway so that area residents can choose from an assortment of goods located very near to where they live.
Northwest (History and Recreation)
Out beyond Peoria and Glendale are the communities of Sun City, Sun City West, Youngtown, and Surprise. The Sun Cities and Youngtown are largely retirement communities and provide full-service to take care of the needs of resident retirees.
But while development is springing up all over the area is also remarkable for its natural beauty. Hikers will enjoy the White Tank Mountain Regional Park. These areas provide some of the best hiking and sight-seeing to be found anywhere.
East Side (Expansion and Diversity)
Nestled again Phoenix on the east is the town of Paradise Valley. Found to the Northeast of Phoenix, this area is popular with middle-class and wealthy residents. South of Paradise Valley is the neighborhood of Arcadia. Unlike most of Phoenix, Arcadia is filled with more mature landscape and citrus trees.
Just to the east of Paradise Valley is the well-known City of Scottsdale. The people who live there like to call it "The West's Most Western Town." Scottsdale housing and living is expensive as the area is made to serve those who are the wealthiest Phoenix residents.
Tempe, located south of Scottsdale, is primarily a college town. It is the home of Arizona State University and the Sun Devils. Local festivals, gatherings and a long list of other special events are extremely popular in this area. Arizona State University is the hub of this area.
Continuing further to the east is Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert. The City of Chandler remained largely an agricultural community until the 1970’s when there was a big increase in settlement. Much of this area houses young families and middle-class professionals in traditionally styled housing developments.