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Posts Tagged ‘Growth’

1st February
written by Arizona Kid

Decisions will have to be made quickly by our community leaders about Pima County’s role in the Sun Corridor growth. Times are difficult today but ‘this too will pass’. It’s time to focus on the underlying systems in our region.  The Sun Corridor classification brings opportunity and challenges. 


From American 2050.org – HERE

The Sun Corridor is equivalent to Indiana in size and population but will add another Indiana’s worth of residents by 2040.  Located in a desert environment, Phoenix and Tucson – the megaregion’s biggest metropolitan regions – have instituted water conservation requirements and are promoting the use of desert landscaping.  These efforts provide the two metros with enough water for perhaps up to twenty million people, preparing the Sun Corridor for current and future growth.

Location: Arizona – From north of Phoenix south to the border with Mexico
Principal Cities: Phoenix, Tucson
Population 2000: 4.535,049
Percent of U.S. Population: 2%
Population 2025: 7,362,613
Projected Growth: 62%
2005 GDP: $191,036,000,000
Percent of US GDP: 2%

Brookings Report Calls for New Federal-State-Local Partnerships to address megapolitan challenges in the Intermountain West



intermountainwest sprawl.JPGThe Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program released a report this month titled “Mountain Megas: America’s Newest Metropolitan Places and a Federal Partnership to Help Them Prosper”.  The report was introduced in conjunction with a luncheon in Denver on July 22nd that brought leaders from the Intermountain West to discuss economic, social, and environmental challenges in five emerging metropolitan areas: Wasatch Front, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Sun Corridor, Arizona; Northern New Mexico, New Mexico, and the Front Range, Colorado. 

As part of its Blueprint for American Prosperity initiative, the Brookings report calls for the federal government to provide leadership and support as these urbanized and rapdily changing areas emerge and expand. In addition, the report comes in anticipation of the upcoming Democratic Convention in Denver.  Local leaders and officials are hopeful the presidential candidates and elections will make these emerging trends and challenges a national priority.  As one of the fastest growing regions in the country, the study suggests that these swing states represent a “new new West” that is urban, and require new and reformed federal-state-local partnerships.  Moreover, the research recommends that these collaborations should be issue focused, namely: transportation, infrastructure, innovation, immigration, and climate change. 

The event was attended by Jon Huntsman, Gov. of Utah; Bill Ritter, Jr., Gov. of Colorado, and John Hickenlooper, Mayor, City of Denver.  For a copy of the executive summary of the report, please click here.     

Photo: “Mountain Megas: America’s Newest Metropolitan Places and a Federal Partnership to Help Them Prosper”, July, 2008.

Megapolitan: Arizona’s Sun Corridor


Thumbnail image for Megapolitan sun corridor.pngThe Morrison Institute for Public Policyat Arizona State University released a report in May titled, Megapolitan: Arizona’s Sun Corridor. The study examines growth challenges in one of the nation’s most rapidly growing regions: the Tucson-Phoenix corridor. Poised to double in population from 5 million to 10 million by 2050, the region will grapple with the environmental challenges of accommodating rapid population growth in a fragile desert environment. Ensuring an adequate drinking water supply and mitigating urban heat island effect without the use of increased vegetation (which requires additional water) are two big challenges. Urban form is another important consideration; detached single family homes are by far the preferred development type in this region, but their proliferation will contribute to sprawled development and make transit options less viable.

The changing demographic and economic environment in the corridor is prompting researchers and leaders to think about how the corridor can one day become a significant economic, technological and cultural center, while growing in a sustainable way. At a recent workshop sponsored by the Sonoran Institute and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, planners considered the implications of this emerging megapolitan region with the report’s authors and local transportation and community leaders.

Note: While the America 2050 initiative recognizes the Sun Corridor as a megaregion, Robert Lang’s “megapolitan” definition, which refers to smaller metro pairs connected by overlapping commuting patterns, may be a more apt description. A chart on pp 22-23 of the Morrison Institute report presents a helpful breakdown of how America 2050’s 10 megaregions are comprised of 20 smaller “megapolitans”.
  • There are few models for sustainable urban form in a desert environment.
  • With temperatures frequently soaring to the 100s, mitigating “extreme heat” is a big challenge. Added concrete and building surfaces traps heat at night compounding urban heat island effect.
  • The Tucson-Phoenix urbanized core has actually planned for enough water to sustain the population for the next 100 years. However development to the north and south of that core region will stress ground water supplies and reduce the core region’s ability to recharge.
  • Most people come to Arizona by choice from elsewhere for its incomparable natural beauty and high quality of life. If these assets cannot be maintained, it stops being a desirable place to live.
  • A megaregion is more than just two metro regions growing together physically. What are the economic synergies and advantages that can be fostered by promoting the linkage between Phoenix and Tucson?

Download the Morrison Institute Report.

Some of the challenges and questions that arose in the workshop include:

11th December
written by Arizona Kid

Tucson Citizen ran a story today on the Slowing Population Growth in Arizona and Pima County.  We’ve touched on the topic before, when real estate related growth slows Arizona and Pima County dip into a recession. Not since the dip in population growth in the early 1990’s has Arizona experienced an economic pull back. How about we stop being lazy and taking the low hanging fruit – growth, and start laying tracks to our economic future by diversifying our economic engine.

As you can see from the chart, growth is slowing and Pima County is hurting.  We must plan ahead and diversify our economic base away from non sustainable growth and towards industries that provide high quality jobs at livable wages.

The big three economic engines in our region are Construction, Tourism and the Government sector. I guess the good news is one of the three is staying strong.


From a recent economic development forum up in Phoenix sponsored by ASU and JP Morgan Chase;

Other key findings and predictions:

• The recession is “extraordinarily deep and extraordinarily widespread,” the most dangerous since the 1920s, said Joel Naroff, a Philadelphia economic forecaster.

• Arizona’s economy is in the worst shape of any state in the West – and its job market has seen the second-largest losses in the nation, behind Rhode Island – because of major overbuilding of homes in 2005-06 and weak job growth today, said Lee McPheters, an economics professor and director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at Arizona State University.

And although experts offered glimmers of hope for a recovery, they noted that the slide hasn’t stopped yet.


Arizona’s job numbers have been falling monthly through most of the year. The latest job numbers, down 2.8 percent from a year ago, are the worst since 1976, McPheters said. He expects no growth in jobs next year.

The state went from being the nation’s No. 1 job creator in 2006 to 49th this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Arizona’s unemployment rate, which reached 6.1 percent in November, is likely to rise to at least 7 percent, McPheters said. But it has been worse, reaching 10 percent in 1976 and 1982.

The construction industry is expected to lose about 80,000 jobs, or about one-third, from its peak in 2006 by the end of next year. The brightest spot is that health care is gaining about 1,000 jobs a month, McPheters said.

Real estate

The residential-housing market probably will recover faster than other real-estate sectors, such as office, industrial and retail, Scottsdale economist Elliott Pollack said. But the housing market is still three to four years away from full recovery, he said.

The problem is that there was a surplus of single-family homes built in 2005 and 2006 and there aren’t enough people moving to the state, enough jobs being created or enough people confident enough to buy new homes.

Pollack estimates metro Phoenix has a housing surplus of 40,000 to 50,000. Tucson and Prescott also are suffering from an oversupply of homes, but the rest of the state is not, he said.

“My guess is that the residential market is not going to reach normal until 2012,” he said.

At the same time the Valley is coping with too many houses, Arizona Public Service Co. has reported its lowest number of residential hookups since it began keeping records in the 1950s, an indication that in-migration has slowed dramatically.

Construction of offices, industrial buildings, apartments and retail space also has outpaced the demand, and construction is likely to slow down if not stop in a year or two, he said.


Naroff said the lack of consumer confidence and spending is now a more serious problem than the ailing housing market. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the country’s economy.

The Arizona Blue Chip Economic Forecast, a consensus of about 20 economic experts in the state, predicts retail sales will fall 3 percent this year in Arizona and increase only about 1 percent next year.

But eventually he and other experts expect that consumers will get tired of sacrificing and curtailing their purchases because of the dour economy.

“Once that psychology changes, I wouldn’t be surprised in one year if growth will happen a lot faster than anyone expected,” Naroff said.

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