Landscape of Phoenix
(Phoenix, Arizona, USA)
Los Angeles is often cited as an example of an extreme car-oriented society. When I drove by car in the town of Phoenix, I had an impression that Phoenix was a more extreme example.
Roughly speaking, it is a town where wide streets with grid pattern extend in a plain endlessly. The exception is rocky hills that sometimes stand up in a plain and generate faint disarrangement.
Its grid has the interval of about 100 meters. It is unlike that of Kyoto, Japanese town designated as world-heritage-, composed of grid with walking speed. In Phoenix, it matches to the speed of a car with mile specification. Except the downtown, buildings and houses expand without articulation nor accent. So, though buildings exist, a town and a community in a classical meaning doesn't appear. The whole of town seems to be a sprawl district.
This city was originally a desert, Now roadside trees and green of houses is thriving well. Compared with cities in the tropical and temperate zone where green and water are abundant, the scenery is dry and bold rocky hills are added as a small landmark. So, a desolate impression always haunts.
It was a matter of course that I had the first impression that it was insipid just as I went out of the airport to the town.
After driving several days, the city had nothing more to overturn a dry image except large-scale commercial areas that were designed like a town. Nonetheless, the refusal feeling had disappeared gradually. The reson was not because the time produced attachment but an attitude of anti-human city was so excessively thoroughgoing that I was seeming to be splendid. I felt a sense different from existing cities with accumulation of time.
It might be generated by high speed sense of car realized by the road condition without congestion even in the downtown of business time. The sense that I ran fast in the city at maximum speed of 70 km/h on a general road and 100 km/h on a highway was different from that of driving in Japanese cities and in abundant nature. It was just a world of the simulation game of drive.
The city is the sixth largest metropolitan area in USA in spite of low density, so it doesn't end even if they run at maximum speed. The sequence of the townspace switches quickly without neither notable change nor interruption. On the streets of the downtown and a residential area, no one walks. Highway interchanges are complicated like labyrinth.
Gradually. the sense of distance and direction disappeared and I felt deja-vu that I turned round the same point where I just passed a while ago. I pass through such city with car navigation system with a Japanese voice equipped to Rental Car of Hertz. It is just a world of simulation.
My sense of driving had become weak and I found a moment when the city and the car melted with me and went being geostationary. The duller my sense became, the more my felling got high due to the paralysis produced by the monotonous repeating.
And, the climate emphasizes that more. If the town is located in the frigid zone where sunlight is weak and the period of winter is long, the negative impression must be generated. So, the clear and bright climate of Phoenix that I rarely found clouds might be compatible to the sense of anti-human scale and disappearing the speed that the city has had.
The whole area of Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
Arizona Biltmore Hotel
Hotel San Carlos
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch
Royal Palms Resort and Spa
The Canyon Suites at The Phoenicia
2018.01 Photos and text in English version and Japanese version
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