When people hear I survived in Phoenix without a car during college, their reaction is universal. How did I get anywhere? You walked. It helped that I actually lived in Tempe. All the essentials to a balanced life were within reasonable distance of my front doors over the years. But, everything changed when I moved to downtown Phoenix last year.

From the quality of sidewalks to the distance between my mailbox and the nearest grocery store, it’s a harder city to navigate by foot. Sure, tripping over a jagged sidewalk on my morning runs is a drag and sometimes makes me miss Tempe. But I’ve enjoyed watching this city change in little ways. Widening the sidewalks in the Phoenix Arts District or infill projects are the baby steps toward a more walkable city. Though Phoenix was recently ranked No. 29 of 30 major cities in the U.S. for walk-ability, the community is laying the foundation for change. Read more about these initiatives in the Urban Land Institute-Arizona’s supplement (p. 33).

In this issue, you’ll also find stories about best practices (p.65) and modern assisted living facilities (p. 22). Additionally, we recognized the Arizona Association for Economic Development’s 40th anniversary (p. 49). After a year at the helm of AZRE, I am amazed I get to share what makes this state fantastic with the people who work hard to make such statements possible. Sure, it will be decades before I can stop using my car to commute a few miles to work. But I have hope. Every time I hit the red light at McDowell Road and Central Avenue, I watch the digital art installed on the side of the Phoenix Art Museum. It’s two figures leisurely walking on a perpetual loop across the top of the wall. And, when the light does change, I find myself at my desk once again, listening to the light rail, watching the skyline change and eagerly reporting the next step in Phoenix’s own loop of improvement. At the end of the day, it’s good to remember, one small step for man is one giant leap for Phoenix.

Amanda Ventura, Editor
Associate editor, AZRE