Downtown Phoenix: What the Dreamr’s are Saying

DREAMR, which stands for Downtown Revitalization Effort Awards of Merit and Recognition, is a yearly banquet that hosted by the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.  It celebrates individuals, groups and projects that are helping to create a more vibrant downtown for the nations fifth biggest city.

This year, to promote their 20th anniversary, the DPP sponsored a video showcasing various ‘downtowners’ visions for downtown Phoenix over the next 20 years.  Thanks in part to my friend Rhonda Bannard, the video reaches beyond the corporate DPP types and highlights the diversity of views and ideas of what WE as a community want to see in downtown Phoenix. You can hear my ideas at the 2:52 and 6:32 marks.


There are some great ideas in this video, but perhaps the most encouraging refrain is the need to Think Big, but Act Small.  While Mayor Gordon may want to see the world’s tallest residential high-rise in Phoenix, he seems to be a solitary voice, with most of us preferring to see smaller infill and adaptive use projects. As Cyd West mentions at 0:58, Phoenix already has much of the big towers and building blocks in place. What we need to do in the next 20 years is focus on the fine grain urban fabric that ties everything together.

Thankfully the mayor is in the final year of his term and Phoenix wil be electing a new mayor this fall.  Here’s hoping that the candidates watch this video and pay heed to the diversity of voices who understand that achieving our big dreams for big  downtown Phoenix is best achieved through small actions, not mega-developments.

Of course, as my friend J Seth Anderson pointes out:

It’s ok to have dreams, but they don’t just magically come true, a lot of work and dedication is required to make a dream become a reality. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either.

Here’s hoping that this video acts as a motivating force for all of us to GET INVOLVED in our city and help Let’s use this video, not just as a feel good piece for the suits attending the Dreamr awards, but as a platform to hold our business, civic and community leaders responsible for turning these dreams into realities.  I’ve written a few time in the past on the need to get involved and a few ways that residents of Phoenix can do so.  Here’s hoping that this video gives a few of you the encouragement you need to help turns the dreams of a dynamic downtown Phoenix into reality.

Yuri Artibise

Yuri Artibise is an experienced policy analyst, community engagement practitioner and social media specialist. I have a Master of Public Administration degree with over 10 years of public policy research, analysis, and advocacy experience.


  1. Lovely. It’s so sad that one of the Valley’s biggest urban leaders won’t be around to see the fruits of his labor.

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