By Derek Hall | Arizona Republic
Metro Phoenix is known for its sprawl — its swath of suburbs with desert-hued stucco homes and strip malls connected by a web of roads and cars.
But many of those communities have sought to shed their suburban trappings. To create unique places that are more walkable, more urban.
In the days of the boom, before the harsh reality of the Great Recession soaked in, such bold visions were especially rooted in the fledgling West Valley. A 40-story skyscraper rivaling downtown Phoenix’s Chase Tower was envisioned in Glendale as growth marched west. In Surprise, the city planned a downtown to sprout from raw desert.