Open Letter


By Thinh Tran



To Whom It May Concern,


Taking the Soc 332, Modern City course, offered at Arizona State University West Campus and taught by Dr. Kristin Koptiuch has changed my perspective when talking about South Phoenix.  I have lived in Arizona for 5 years, but I have never ventured down to South Phoenix area because of all the rumors I’ve heard such as crimes, prostitute, drug dealing, waste dumps, etc.  The focus of the course was “Learning from South Phoenix” and its objective was actually to go into the field, explore and interview residents.  Throughout the course, I learned about South Mountain Park, Habitat for Humanity, the Rio Salado Project and gentrification.  Coryn, my group member she wrote an interesting article Gentrification in South Phoenix.  In the article, she discussed of how South Phoenix is currently under extreme change but many people aren’t aware of it.


One of the important developments in South Phoenix is the work done by Habitat for Humanity.  Habitat for Humanity, an organization provides affordable housing for low-income families, founded in 1976, up to date; it consists of more than 1050 chapters in 40 countries.  Habitat has completed more than 30,000 homes.  It has 12 affiliate chapters in Arizona that have built more than 100 homes, selling them at no-profit, with no-interest mortgages.  Volunteers who dedicated their in building houses made it possible for low-income residents to own homes. 


Another important development is the Phoenix Rio Salado Project.  The project is a major project long in planning and already underway, to restore the Salt River to its natural state.  The Rio Salado project is expected to be completed by the end of the year 2004.


As the class explore deeper and deeper into South Phoenix, I see its uniqueness.  Many houses and stores painted with bright colors such as pink, blue, and violet.  Also there are fruit-stands on the street which I have not seen one before in my area.  Interviewing the residents of South Phoenix, our group learned that they all want nicer restaurants, home improvement warehouses and electronic stores such as Red Lobster, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Starbucks Coffee, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy and Ultimate Electronic.  They said that they have to drive miles to get to these stores.


Anyone interesting in learning about South Phoenix, I highly recommend checking out these web sites created by each individual in our class.



Individual Web Pages