Creating An Urban Downtown


​Stre​ngthening Phoenix's Urban Core

Stanton is supporting an emerging model for downtown Phoenix: a traditional suburban city that is making the investments to rapidly growing its urban corridor.  This is happening as a result of new decision-making processes, downtown transit, investment in education, and smart policies.

Read Stanton's 2014 "Celebrate Downtown" remarks.​

Downtown Decision-Making Process

Stanton campaigned for mayor in 2011 with the promise that he would work to change the decision-making process in downtown to put everyone at the same table.  When he took office, Phoenix looked at how other cities with growing and urban downtowns operated – and adopted their best ideas.

The result was the creation of Downtown Phoenix, Inc., an organization that unifies – for the first time – the arts community, downtown residents, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Phoenix Community Alliance, and businesses large and small, and gets them working on the same page.

In just a short time, DPI has worked to organize events that have added value in downtown, such as Feast on the Street, McDowell Mountain Music Festival, Phoenix Festival of the Arts, CALA Festival, and the first-ever Viva Phoenix.

A Vibrant, Walkable, Livable Downtown​

Three years ago, Phoenix passed pedestrian-friendly rules for new development downtown in an effort to reshape the street experience.

In 2011, the City Council passed a Downtown Form Code that set new rules for development in an attempt to direct the street experience.  And when Stanton took office, the Council updated the code again, designating every downtown street as a "pedestrian street" – which set new rules for future development that ensures pedestrians, bicyclists, and downtown patrons have a better "street experience."

A Hub for Students, Entrepreneurs and Commerce

Just a decade ago, there were nearly no students living or learning in downtown.  By 2020, just six years from now, there will be more than 17,000 – an achievement few in Phoenix could have predicted years ago.  They're also utilizing mass transit: 22 percent of light rail riders are students.

Most importantly for Phoenix's economy, the highest-ranked education opportunities in Arizona are – or will soon be – offered downtown.  Each of the state's three public universities have campuses downtown.

Downtown isn't just a great place to for students to live and learn – it's transformed into a hub for innovators and entrepreneurs.  The Downtown Biomedical Campus is home to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (T-Gen), a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders laboratory, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center laboratories, and more.  And Phoenix's emerging network of co-working spaces, business accelerators and incubators is attracting millennial entrepreneurs downtown.

Supporting All Our Neighborhoods

​​​In addition to a strong urban core, Phoenix needs great neighborhoods with character and a vibrancy of their own.  One way ​Stanton is ensuring strong neighborhoods is through the "Love Your Block​" mini-grant program.  The mini-grant encourages residents in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods to engage in critical revitalization projects. When our neighborhoods succeed, it's better for everyone. 

Phoenix's Effort to Become One of the Most LGBT-Friendly Communities in America

In February 2013, Stanton and the City Council approved a proposal to expand the city's non-discrimination ordinance law to include protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and disabled persons related to city contracts, housing, employment and public accommodations.​​

Phoenix's efforts encouraged other Valley cities, including Tempe, to pass their own non-discrimination laws.

As a result, the Human Rights Campaign has given Phoenix a perfect score of 100 in the Municipal Equality Index, a national survey of how communities fare when it comes to the equal treatment of LGBT individuals.  In 2013, only 25 U.S. cities earned perfect scores, and Phoenix was one of only eight cities to earn a perfect score without a supportive state anti-discrimination law in place.  Phoenix was the only city in Arizona to achieve a perfect score in 2013, and it encouraged both Tempe and Tucson to score 100 in 2014.​​

Doug Mings is the mayor's liaison on LGBT issues in the community. He can be reached at