Forget “The Valley of the Sun.” Imagine “The Venice of the Southwest.”
It’s an idea that’s hard to fathom now, especially when most Valley residents think of canals as “ugly, smelly and dangerous,” says Nan Ellin, a former Arizona State University professor who conceived Canalscape with her students.
Canalscape is a concept that encourages Phoenicians to embrace the canals that give life to the desert by developing “places of urban vitality” where major streets meet canals, Ellin says.
Despite the canals’ bad reputation, Valley Forward Association and Ellin see a bright, watery future for Phoenix. With more than 181 miles of canals, Phoenix has more of such waterways than Venice and Amsterdam combined. But unlike their European counterparts, canals in Phoenix are not a vital part of the city’s culture.
“The canals used to be the front porch and they became the back alleys,” with the urban sprawl of the 1960s and 1970s, Ellin says.
Read more at: AZ Big Media