Phoenix Municipal Expansion 1930–87

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Map Code: Ax01360

The name Phoenix was suggested because the city in Arizona was founded on the remains of the Hohokam civilization and their canal networks. But its explosive growth (48,000 in 1930; 980,000 in 1990) derived from a more muscular harnessing of water: the Roosevelt (1911) and Coolidge Dams (1930). The early economy was based on 5 Cs: citrus, cotton, cattle, copper and climate, the last making it a major military air base in World War II. As a result, it developed a concentration of military supply industries and a large pool of skilled labour, which, in turn, nourished a hi-tech boom post-war through companies such as Motorola, Intel and McDonald-Douglas. Rapid suburban expansion followed, particularly northward, and the American urban trademark, racial segregation. In 1964, a reporter observed ‘Apartheid is complete. Two cities look at each other across a golf-course’. But Phoenix has also been distinguished by enlightened municipal planning anchored upon a network of urban villages (1979).

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