Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's deputy web editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Instead of pushing houses, businesses and all that comes along with urban sprawl further into the uninhabited desert, Phoenix-area municipalities are transforming the space they already occupy with the resources they already have. What most would consider trash, the people of Chandler, Ariz., see as treasure. The city used 1,500 thrown-out tires, 200 feet of old conveyor belts and chunks of old sidewalk to turn a trash dump site into a park -- the area's first built on a landfill, according to the Arizona Republic. And in downtown Phoenix, Maricopa County finally made use of an 82-year-old warehouse that stood unused for half a century. After removing toxic materials, the county moved its assessor's office into the revitalized building that's more cost-efficient and safer than the office space it was previously paying to use. Planning to avoid urban sprawl hasn't typically been popular in the Valley in the past, but as Diane Brossart of the environmental group Valley Forward Association tells the Republic, "it's starting to gain traction."