The City of Phoenix is the nation’s 5th largest city and the capital of the State of Arizona, as well as the most prominent hub for business and culture in the Southwestern U.S. Phoenix has been growing at a lightening fast pace for the past several decades, and is consistently at the top of national rankings for population growth, job growth and new home development. The city’s population grew by 47.7% between 1990 and 2005, and is currently approximately 4 million people, covering more than 515 square miles. With one of the lowest costs of living compared to other major cities, and all of the amenities one would expect in a modern metro area, Phoenix is an excellent location for business and residents to make home. Growth projections for the next several decades are also quite positive.
Phoenix’s history began with Native Americans (the Hohokam) occupying this area as early as AD 700. They created over 135 miles of irrigation canals and grew crops native to the region. Their canals would later become useful for Central Arizona Project. Other Native American tribes populated the general area, and several reservations are sprinkled throughout the Valley today. With these deep roots in agriculture, the early modern economy of Phoenix was primarily agricultural, dependent on cotton and citrus farming, as well as cattle and dairy farms.
Early settlers to the region began arriving in the mid 19th century, and by 1881, Phoenix was incorporated with 2,500 residents. The coming of the railroad in the 1880s revolutionized Phoenix’s economy and brought merchandise to the area, making Phoenix a regional trade center. During World War II, Phoenix’s economy shifted to that of a distribution center, and had many industrial areas that produced military supplies and brought thousands of military personnel to the city. There is still a significant military presence in Phoenix today.
The metro Phoenix area, or otherwise known as “the Valley” (short for “Valley of the Sun”), is surrounded by the McDowell Mountains to the northeast, the White Tank Mountains to the west, the Superstition Mountains to the east, and Sierra Estrella and South Mountain to the south. Current development is pushing rapidly at all boundaries to the north and west, south through Pinal County towards Tucson, and surrounding the Salt River and Gila Indian Reservations. The City of Phoenix has 15 urban villages: Ahwatukee Foothills, Alhambra, Camelback East, Central City, Deer Valley, Desert View, Encanto, Estrella, Laveen, Maryvale, North Gateway, North Mountain, Paradise Valley (not the Town of Paradise Valley), South Mountain and an as yet unnamed 15th village.
The greater Phoenix area is a $50 billion marketplace driven by high tech, biotechnology and aerospace industries. World leading companies such as Intel, Avnet, Motorola, Honeywell, Allied Signal, and Boeing have chosen Phoenix for their corporate and regional headquarters. Industry leaders such as American Express, Phelps Dodge, Prudential, Charles Schwab, US Airways and the Mayo Clinic also have major operations in Phoenix. In the past few years, the Translational Genomics Institute was established in Phoenix, and is now an incubator for world class research and biotech spinoff technologies and companies.
In addition to working hard, Phoenicians know how to recreate! Phoenix is home to several professional sports franchises such as the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), the Arizona Cardinals (NFL), the Phoenix Coyotes (NHL), and the Phoenix Suns (NBA), and other significant teams in arena football (Arizona Rattlers), women’s basketball (Phoenix Mercury), and lacrosse (Arizona Sting). In addition, nine MLB teams conduct spring training throughout the Valley, Phoenix International Raceway is a major venue for NASCAR, and the brand new Cardinals stadium will host the 2008 Super Bowl as well as the BCS Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. And, with over 300 days of sunshine annually, there are more choices for world class golf, hiking, biking, and water sports than you can imagine in the Valley of the Sun!
During those hot summer months, or anytime throughout the year, Phoenicians take advantage of plenty of other points of interest as well such as the Arizona Opera, Arizona Science Center, Arizona Historical Society Museum, Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, Desert Botanical Gardens, Encanto Park, Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Zoo, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, South Mountain Park, Taliesin West, Symphony Hall and any number of world class restaurants and shopping venues spread throughout the Valley. Phoenix truly offers something for everyone.