The Downtown Phoenix Podcast Series 2

The Downtown Phoenix Podcast returns in 2020 to capture our community’s stories from this time of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

Logo for The Downtown Phoenix PodcastSix years ago, I did a silly little podcast thing called The Downtown Phoenix Podcast. The only series was an eight-episode run that tried to capture some of the area’s history and stories. We talked about the renaissance of Hance Park, explored ways to get involved in central-city advocacy, and brought new voices to the table (one of whom is now an Arizona state legislator!).

Since 2014, I’ve frequently wanted to bring it back. I am definitely biased, I know, but it was an important project to bring these stories out of the shadows. But every time, there was always a hiccup that kept it from going.

In light of what’s happened to our community in this time of COVID-19 and social distancing, it’s certainly no understatement that things have fundamentally changed. That’s why I am going to bring back The Downtown Phoenix Podcast: to capture our stories from this time. It’s part podcast, but part collection of oral history.

This is going to be a team effort, however. Unlike the 2014 run of the Podcast, this isn’t going to be me talking all time time and offering my commentary essays on the relevant matters of the day. This is going to be about you. It’s going to be about our communities. What’s happening now? What are our fears for the moment? What are our hopes for the future?

If you or someone you know is a business owner, a community leader, an artist, or someone who’s life or livelihood has been upended in the past few weeks, get in touch with me. (Like the name of the Podcast suggests, the objective is to share stories from central-city Phoenix.) Email podcast@downtownphoenixpodcast.com or fill out this online form to get in touch.

Thank you for your consideration!

A Brief History of Midtown Phoenix – Online on March 24!

Join Edward Jensen online on Tuesday 24 March 7:00pm for an encore presentation of his lecture, A Brief History of Midtown Phoenix.

As we’re all practicing safe and smart social distancing to try to #FlattenTheCurve to slow the spread of COVID-19, I thought I’d do my part and offer a little bit of education while we’re all stuck inside.

Last year, I debuted my new lecture, A Brief History of Midtown Phoenix. The talk spanned the last 1,500 years of midtown Phoenix history and walked through Midtown’s past and present using historical imagery, primary sources, and contemporary photography. We saw the people who played a role in making Phoenix–and Midtown–the place it is today. We understood the effects World War II had on Phoenix and how it paved the way for Midtown’s urban form.

But this is more than that: A Brief History of Midtown Phoenix is a love letter to Midtown. I know we’re all hurting. We’re all wondering what life’s going to look like tomorrow, next week, next month. We’re all hoping that Midtown will bounce back after the dust settles.

So join me on Tuesday 22 March 2020 at 7:00pm Phoenix time over at edwardjensen.net/abriefhistory to take part in the revival of A Brief History of Midtown Phoenix.

See you then!

The Six Icon Staredown

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions but learning more about these different apps–and what they do–on my computer is a goal of mine in 2020.

Each day when I use my Mac, I have these six icons staring at me. They’re the icons of six pieces of Adobe software for things like photo organization and manipulation, graphic design, and audio and video editing. (They’re also reminders that I have to spend the full amount on the Adobe Creative Suite because I need Acrobat in addition to Photoshop and Lightroom, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I figure that, since I have access to them, I ought to learn more not just about these pieces of software, but about the different things that they’re supposed to accomplish. I have said, perhaps as a crutch, that I’m not a graphic designer. And although that’s true–I’m not–why should that mean I shouldn’t know anything about graphic design?

With video editing, the cameras I use for still photography all have a video mode. Why should I limit myself to half of what the cameras can do? And for audio editing, how could I use that to make a future run of that silly little podcast thing I did, The Downtown Phoenix Podcast, even better? (Hint, hint.)

I’m generally not one to make New Year’s resolutions but I think I’m going to challenge myself to do some learning in 2020 on these things. Because, hey, learning is good, and learning might be important to future things that I’m doing. So join me on this journey, won’t you?

Phoenix on fire

Two photos of smoke rising outside downtown Phoenix

If you’re wondering what that smoke is by the State Fair Grounds, it’s a scrap-yard fire near 21st Ave and McDowell. No, it’s not someone’s fried funnel cake getting cooked a bit too much.

But what surreal scenes: the joy of the State Fair juxtaposed against the destruction of fire.

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Scooters

Electric scooters have arrived in downtown Phoenix. It’s a shame the Phoenix City Council isn’t supporting the program.

[Editor’s note: This post has been updated with recent reporting on scooters from local media. See the bottom of this post.]

The Friday Essay: Scooting MidtownAfter attempts in other cities, electric scooters have finally made their way into downtown Phoenix. A six-month pilot program began on 16 September 2019 and will certainly be watched by many interested parties, not least the Phoenix City Council.

As my friend Lauren Potter wrote in a blog post for Downtown Phoenix Inc., the electric scooter pilot program involves scooters from three different companies. The pilot program will be immediately constrained to downtown Phoenix, where scooters can be picked up and dropped off from almost 400 designated parking areas. Scooters can’t be driven on sidewalks, they have to stay on streets or in bike lanes. They also can’t be taken into areas that are pedestrian-oriented, such as the eastern portion of Hance Park (the west portion of Hance Park is outside of the boundaries, turns out). Unique to the electric scooters as a part of this program is that scooters will slow down and stop if they are nearing one of these no-ride zones; it will be interesting to see how that works in practice. Continue reading “Scooters”