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If we build it they will come, but they are already here.

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Everywhere I go, no matter what time of day, I seem to be stuck in traffic. Phoenix is growing but our roads are not. When my four kids and I drive through town, we play a game to try to count how many different state license plates we see on the roads. Typically, we see 3 to 5 out-of-state plates any place we go. If we don’t do anything about our current infrastructure it’s going to be like living in California here soon and not in a good way.

We are now in an age of climate refugees and a large corporations coming to Phoenix because we don’t have a lot of the severe natural disasters destroying our City like floods, hurricanes, tropical storms, mudslides, earthquakes, and drought. We are going to continue to be a magnet for people and businesses relocating even though it is getting hotter here than ever before.

Melisa Camp

Melisa Camp

This is especially true when coupled with the fact that we have a strong housing market and booming job market. Statistically speaking, yesterday Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, or ARMLS, had the lowest number of active listings I’ve ever seen in 11 years of being an agent. We’ve got shrinking inventory. Lack of affordable housing. Not enough building happening to support our growth.

This September, I have a vision of bringing stakeholders and decision makers together to have a day of thoughtful planning and conversation about the future of our city and state. Through cross-pollination, interdisciplinary problem solving, and good old common sense I’m hoping we can address some of the climate and growth issues that we all share.

Smart Growth touches everything: water use, jobs, urban infill, transportation, walkability, etc., and we can use it to bring parties together instead of dividing us. Phoenix can build a resilient housing market and economy but it’s going to require strategic partnerships and communication between key stakeholders.

Historically, I’m learning there was a stigma attached to the term ‘Smart Growth’, and it was made out at that time to be a political issue. It’s so not political and I will debate anyone who wants to argue otherwise. It is about not waiting too long to react to known problems and problem mitigation. It does not matter where you live, what religion you identify with, male or female, young or old. It affects everyone and we can do better together.

One of the best examples right now of Smart Growth gone wrong is Queen Creek. It grew so fast that there is constantly a traffic backup in the middle of fields no matter what time of day. Beautiful city but wasn’t well planned for as quickly as people started moving there.

How we choose to develop Arizona today will affect future generations, how we do business, where we live, work, and play. With careful planning and innovation we can make Arizona’s future resilient while reducing environmental impact, saving money, and creating jobs. I highly encourage anyone interested to make time to attend this event and be a part of the solutions.

The Smart Growth Summit will take place Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Burton Barr Library auditorium. We strongly encourage participants to ride the light rail and vote No on Prop 105 to halt light rail construction and expansion. More information and registration can be found at: http://SmartGrowth.eventbrite.com

Do you have a smart growth success story? We would love to feature you as a speaker during the working lunch provided by headlines sponsor SRP. Contact Melisa Camp at mcamp@hsmove.com for more information.

Melisa Camp is a Realtor® and resident of Phoenix.

One comment

  1. Any “Smart Growth” initiative should include steps to reduce the environmental impact of expansion. For example, rainwater collection systems on new buildings, including the plumbing to use collected water to fill pools, water gardens and flush toilets. Solar panels on new multi-unit residential buildings and commercial buildings. Electric charging stations at shopping plazas, office and residential buildings. No more grass lawns on new buildings.

    And put the rest of the light rail system underground. It’s less intrusive and it works better.

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