The View From South Mountain


   South Mountain is an important part of South Phoenix area and it plays a major roll in urban landscape of the area and development of the area. The South Mountain park is known as the largest urban park in the United States but it is much more than just that. It is a beautiful place so it is not a surprise that most of the homes on its slope are some of the biggest and most expensive. The demand for development land close to the mountain is high and increasing as is the standard of living.

    I have always looked at the South Mountain from a distance, North Phoenix, to be exact. I finally decided to drive up to the top of the mountain and see what does the city, especially South Phoenix look like by looking in a different direction. Looking down from the top of South Mountain the only things that stood out were numerous subdivisions and some farm fields. The downtown, although so close, was barely visible due to the thick band of polluted air. As I stood there observing I pulled out and article with some photos South Phoenix from few decades ago. It was only when I compared the photos of old South Phoenix to today’s South Phoenix that I realized how urban landscape of the area has changed so drastically over the years. What was once farmland is now covered by subdivisions and many empty land lots already have heavy machinery present ready to start developing. Is it being close to the mountain or the downtown or perhaps both that is bringing such a large number of middle class people to South Phoenix? It is these middle class families that prefer subdivision lifestyle as the number of subdivisions keeps increasing. I began to wonder what would South Phoenix look like in the future. Is South Phoenix going to become what anthropologist Theresa Caldeira in her article “Fortified Enclaves: The New Urban Segregation” calls a “city fragmented by fortified enclaves” where “creation of spatial segregation transforms the quality of public life”. As I turned my head slightly to the left I noticed some dust being kicked up in the air. It was a tractor working one of the smaller fields. That particular field was surrounded by subdivisions on all four sides so I figured that its days were numbered and it was just a matter of time when that farmland will be converted into a subdivision. Is South Mountain Park going to be the only public piece of land left in the area that everyone can enjoy equally?

    I accidentally overheard a conversation by a group of people standing nearby, as one lady described South Phoenix as such a beautiful place to look at. I looked at her and thought to myself, perhaps if it wasn’t for all that pollution and all the same-looking roofs of subdivisions it would be much better to look at. The real beauty of South Phoenix, in my opinion, lies in its residents, their own uniqueness and their culture that which is expressed throughout South Phoenix in many different ways.

South Phoenix 2006 Class Home Page Modified 3/27/2006 Contact Bojan Rasevic