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-   -   Will Mesa become a 'Twin City'? Or will it always be a bedroom community? (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//showthread.php?t=240748)

Sun Belt Oct 21, 2019 8:10 PM

Will Mesa become a 'Twin City'? Or will it always be a bedroom community?
 
Will Mesa become a 'Twin City'? Or will it always be a bedroom community of Phoenix/Tempe?

I think we all agree that Mesa is the nation's largest suburb.

Here are some Mesa Stats:

1] The 2018 population estimate for Mesa, AZ is 508,000.
2] It's the second largest municipality in a metro of about 5 million.
3] On pace to pass up Arizona's second largest city: Tucson [pop. 545k] this decade.
4] Mesa is the 35th largest city in America, passing Sacramento and Atlanta this decade, will come close to pass Baltimore by 2030.

JManc Oct 21, 2019 8:24 PM

Do people see San Francisco and San Jose as twins? The latter is bigger but San Francisco stands out as the main city where as San Jose is 'just another city' in the Valley to outsiders.

craigs Oct 21, 2019 8:28 PM

What qualities or characteristics does Mesa have that could possibly qualify it as one of the rare 'twin cities' in America?

Sun Belt Oct 21, 2019 8:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JManc (Post 8724205)
Do people see San Francisco and San Jose as twins? The latter is bigger but San Francisco stands out as the main city where as San Jose is 'just another city' in the Valley to outsiders.

Well no, however the difference between Phoenix and Mesa is a whole lot less than that of SF and SJ, the physical and social geographical differences are huge in the Bay Area. Metro Phoenix is more homogenous.

Buckeye Native 001 Oct 21, 2019 8:30 PM

Downtown Mesa is starting to show signs of a pulse. That's thanks in part to light rail running right through the middle of town. Not coincidentally, former mayor Scott Smith now runs Valley Metro.

However, most of Mesa's built form is suburban and can't match Tempe's urbanity (much less Phoenix's) unless it undergoes some sort of a major urban overhaul. For that reason, it will always act as more of a bedroom community and can't really compete with what Tempe and Scottsdale have to offer. That could change eventually, but it'd take a while.

hipster duck Oct 21, 2019 8:34 PM

No, Mesa is just the largest suburb in a metro that has large-sized suburbs.

Sun Belt Oct 21, 2019 8:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buckeye Native 001 (Post 8724218)
Downtown Mesa is starting to show signs of a pulse. That's thanks in part to light rail running right through the middle of town. Not coincidentally, former mayor Scott Smith now runs Valley Metro.

However, most of Mesa's built form is suburban and can't match Tempe's urbanity (much less Phoenix's) unless it undergoes some sort of a major urban overhaul. For that reason, it will always act as more of a bedroom community and can't really compete with what Tempe and Scottsdale have to offer. That could change eventually, but it'd take a while.

I wonder if Mesa will become an attractive place to build some mid-rise structures in it's downtown area, within walking distance to their light rail, as a cheaper alternative to Tempe, which is becoming more and more pricey these days.

Buckeye Native 001 Oct 21, 2019 8:37 PM

I can't imagine there being midrises any time soon. Mesa's NIMBYs are some of the worst in the Valley, and there's still plots of desert right up to the Pinal County line waiting to be developed into subdivisions.

My parents moved to east Mesa two years ago from Ahwatukee (they're so close to Gateway Airport that you can read the tail numbers on Allegiant's jets). My knowledge of Mesa doesn't extend much past Mesa Drive (never had much reason to go any farther east when I was growing up) and I'm continuously amazed/flabbergasted by the amount of suburban development going out as far as Apache Junction...

Sun Belt Oct 21, 2019 8:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buckeye Native 001 (Post 8724234)
I can't imagine there being midrises any time soon. Mesa's NIMBYs are some of the worst in the Valley, and there's still plots of desert right up to the Pinal County line waiting to be developed into subdivisions.

My parents moved to east Mesa two years ago from Ahwatukee (they're so close to Gateway Airport that you can read the tail numbers on Allegiant's jets). My knowledge of Mesa doesn't extend much past Mesa Drive (never had much reason to go past that growing up) and I'm continuously amazed/flabbergasted by the amount of suburban development going out as far as Apache Junction...

I worked in North Mesa near Falcon Field about 15 years ago. Everything south of Brown and west of Mesa Drive is much more urban than most people will acknowledge. West Mesa, specifically west of Mesa Drive is quite urban [especially for a suburb] in many regards. East Mesa is 100% dense suburban sprawl, which is the reason why Mesa continues to grow so rapidly. West Mesa has some potential for urban in-fill, while the east end could continue to sprawl outwards.

craigs Oct 21, 2019 9:54 PM

How are we defining "urban" in the context of a discussion about Mesa? According to the New York Times' census widget, Mesa's highest-density census tract (tract 422103) works out to 17,481 persons per square mile. That may look impressive on paper...but then you look at the way it is built out....

https://goo.gl/maps/p2igHTMiYpEMLcGv5

https://www.google.com/maps/@33.3948...7i16384!8i8192

Ouch. While some may perceive that area as 'urban,' I don't.

Basically, we can look at it a couple of different ways: Mesa as a nondescript stretch of greater suburban Phoenix, and/or Mesa as a major American city in its own right. If it's the former, then it's not a 'twin city.' And if it is the latter, then it is the most unimpressive and boring major city in America, with the smallest downtown and the absolute worst skyline. Either way, the answer to the thread title is "no."

Sun Belt Oct 21, 2019 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by craigs (Post 8724390)
How are we defining "urban" in the context of a discussion about Mesa? According to the New York Times' census widget, Mesa's highest-density census tract (tract 422103) works out to 17,481 persons per square mile. That may look impressive on paper...but then you look at the way it is built out....

https://goo.gl/maps/p2igHTMiYpEMLcGv5

https://www.google.com/maps/@33.3948...7i16384!8i8192

Ouch. While some may perceive that area as 'urban,' I don't.

Basically, we can look at it a couple of different ways: Mesa as a nondescript stretch of greater suburban Phoenix, and/or Mesa as a major American city in its own right. If it's the former, then it's not a 'twin city.' And if it is the latter, then it is the most unimpressive and boring major city in America, with the smallest downtown and the absolute worst skyline. Either way, the answer to the thread title is "no."

Considering that that location in West Mesa is 16 miles away from Downtown Phoenix, I'd say that's a pretty urban environment for a suburb.

craigs Oct 21, 2019 10:19 PM

I would disagree.

Mesa has a lot of people within its municipal borders, is growing rapidly, and part of it is served by a light rail line.

Nothing else about Mesa is noteworthy, and it doesn't enjoy a rare 'twin city' status because of that.

Sun Belt Oct 21, 2019 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by craigs (Post 8724423)
Nothing else about Mesa is noteworthy, and it doesn't enjoy a rare 'twin city' status because of that.

Currently No. Mesa doesn't deserve any recognition in that regard. But that's why I'm asking the question. Will Mesa one day in the our future become a Twin City, and let's not get hung up on the phrase 'twin city'. What I'm asking is Mesa capable of producing an urban skyline, while increasing it's population density, especially in West Mesa?

ThePhun1 Oct 21, 2019 11:09 PM

They need a major university (the ship has sailed on that unless one is moved there) or a major industry to build around. Short of that, it's the biggest fraud of cities with 500,000 people. My suburb has 100,000 and nothing worthy of calling a CBD. I can't imagine that on a scale of 5.

CaliNative Oct 21, 2019 11:40 PM

delete

Obadno Oct 21, 2019 11:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8724185)
Will Mesa become a 'Twin City'? Or will it always be a bedroom community of Phoenix/Tempe?

I think we all agree that Mesa is the nation's largest suburb.

Here are some Mesa Stats:

1] The 2018 population estimate for Mesa, AZ is 508,000.
2] It's the second largest municipality in a metro of about 5 million.
3] On pace to pass up Arizona's second largest city: Tucson [pop. 545k] this decade.
4] Mesa is the 35th largest city in America, passing Sacramento and Atlanta this decade, will come close to pass Baltimore by 2030.

Not an Effing chance my man.

Maybe Tempe as it has a downtown core with some gravitas and tall buildigns

Mesa is just a giant sprawling mass that has no identity. It might as well be 20 small suburbs who cares.

Obadno Oct 21, 2019 11:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaliNative (Post 8724534)
Mesa is Phoenix's Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma, Ft. Worth, St. Paul. Big but second in the urban area like the others. Notice I didn't mention San Jose. San Jose is #1 in the SF area now, at least in pop. if not urbanity. Phoenix is so massive in area & pop. it will always be #1.

I wouldn't even say that, its #1 in population but the true second Core to the Phoenix Metro is Tempe, Followed by Scottsdale, then Probably Chandler or Glendale followed by Gilbert and lastly Mesa.

Mesa just is nothing but sprawl it has a little downtown street that has improved but it does not even house a basic bar street/entertainment area like the other major suburbs do.

craigs Oct 22, 2019 12:00 AM

And after Phoenix and Tempe, Scottsdale is much more notable to outsiders than is Mesa.

bossabreezes Oct 22, 2019 12:08 AM

Isn't Scottsdale more of a contender to be a ''twin city'' then Mesa? I mean, yes, Mesa has double the population of Scottsdale, but Scottsdale is far more famous countrywide. It's nothing to write home about either with a pitiful downtown, but it's got more of a pulse and is definitely seeing more ''urban'' development than Mesa and probably Phoenix as well.

Sun Belt Oct 22, 2019 12:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by craigs (Post 8724554)
And after Phoenix and Tempe, Scottsdale is much more notable to outsiders than is Mesa.

True. However, Mesa does have couple miles of LRT transit, where Scottsdale does not.

Mesa has potential to develop an physical and visible urban node.

Obadno Oct 22, 2019 12:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bossabreezes (Post 8724565)
It's nothing to write home about either with a pitiful downtown, but it's got more of a pulse and is definitely seeing more ''urban'' development than Mesa and probably Phoenix as well.

Your conclusion is correct that Scottsdale is a more important core than Mesa is or will ever be, Your details as to why are totally whack but thats fine.

Obadno Oct 22, 2019 12:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8724569)
True. However, Mesa does have couple miles of LRT transit, where Scottsdale does not.

Mesa has potential to develop an physical and visible urban node.

Mesa has the 4 mile butt end of a 22 mile system that is about to gain a two additional lines.

Your reasoning is that because Mesa is Big its a twin city and thats just not the case.


I tend to agree with you but that's just not the case, ask anyone from Phoenix if we ever gain a second Urban core of note its Tempe.

Sun Belt Oct 22, 2019 12:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8724573)
Your reasoning is that because Mesa is Big its a twin city and thats just not the case.


I tend to agree with you but that's just not the case, ask anyone from Phoenix if we ever gain a second Urban core of note its Tempe.

And that is why the question was posed. Locals will have a different perception, not saying its right or wrong, but rather greatly appreciated on this global forum.

Look, we all know Tempe is EXPLODING, right now, does that not mean Mesa can't do the same, especially since the pricing in Tempe has become so high?

craigs Oct 22, 2019 12:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8724569)
True. However, Mesa does have couple miles of LRT transit, where Scottsdale does not.

Already noted above; Mesa has lots of people, is growing rapidly, and part of it is served by a light rail line.

Scottsdale is no urban paradise, but it is more urban and cohesive, is easier to negotiate by foot and bike, has a better central business district and more to do, and is generally more upscale than Mesa. It's got a peak census tract in the same range as Mesa's. And it has curb appeal. Tourists flock to Scottsdale, like they do to Tempe and downtown Phoenix. Mesa--not so much.

Quote:

Mesa has potential to develop an physical and visible urban node.
Sure, there's 'potential' in any place where it can't get much worse.

SIGSEGV Oct 22, 2019 1:10 AM

What fraction of Mesans work in Mesa? Tempe is a major academic/employment center. Mesa is what you'd get if Hayward and Fremont merged with each other.

Chef Oct 22, 2019 3:15 AM

St Paul and Oakland both started as independent urban cores and were cities in their own right before they became subsumed into the metro of their larger neighbor. I think that is how it has to work to be a real twin city. I can't think any giant suburbs that grew into that role

JAYNYC Oct 22, 2019 3:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8724468)
Will Mesa one day in the our future become a Twin City, and let's not get hung up on the phrase 'twin city'.

The answer is no, plain and simple. How this could ever be considered a legitimate question is beyond comprehension.

xzmattzx Oct 22, 2019 3:41 AM

What would happen if Mesa merged with Tempe and/or Scottsdale and created a super-suburb-city of over a million people? Would it be on par with Phoenix then?

RC14 Oct 22, 2019 6:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef (Post 8724826)
St Paul and Oakland both started as independent urban cores and were cities in their own right before they became subsumed into the metro of their larger neighbor. I think that is how it has to work to be a real twin city. I can't think any giant suburbs that grew into that role

Mesa has existed as a separate community almost as long as Phoenix has. I don't know if it ever had anything resembling an urban core though.

10023 Oct 22, 2019 6:58 AM

There would have to be a first city. ;)

Crawford Oct 22, 2019 11:22 AM

Not sure why this is even a question. Mesa is an anonymous bedroom suburb; it's relative size/city limits are irrelevant.

Scottsdale is the high profile Phoenix suburb, with an important corporate and leisure base.

PHX31 Oct 22, 2019 2:58 PM

Mesa does have the light rail line, and it's downtown is becoming more popular and getting a big facelift. I understand the question and think it's a possibility. But it would be so far into the future that twin cities would be the norm everywhere.

As said, Tempe almost already is becoming a twin city (it has a booming skyline, ASU, light rail, and a walkable core), and Scottsdale is more popular as a tourist destination, plus a lot of the money of the metro is over there. The downtown area is a night life spot, has some residential (mostly high end), and some offices, but I doubt it will ever be more than that. Those 2 are much bigger players in the metro area as compared to Mesa, although they don't have the population.

And the satellite cities around Phoenix (Tempe, Mesa, etc.) aren't just suburbs in the normal sense, they started out as their own places, and have grown together. Similar to all of the various "suburb" cities around Los Angeles.

Crawford Oct 22, 2019 3:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PHX31 (Post 8725375)
And the satellite cities around Phoenix (Tempe, Mesa, etc.) aren't just suburbs in the normal sense, they started out as their own places, and have grown together. Similar to all of the various "suburb" cities around Los Angeles.

That's pretty much the norm with all suburbs. It isn't like suburbs are usually built in empty wilderness; there's almost always an old legacy settlement.

But places like Mesa are about as close as it gets to "blank slate" (sub)urbanism, as there was basically nothing there until very recently.

mhays Oct 22, 2019 3:26 PM

In the East there's usually a legacy settlement. In the West often there wasn't.

I haven't been to Mesa (unless you count flying over it!) but it sounds like it's just suburbia for the most part that happens to have larger than usual boundaries. Like a handful of smaller suburbs that happened to be one government.

CherryCreek Oct 22, 2019 4:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xzmattzx (Post 8724866)
What would happen if Mesa merged with Tempe and/or Scottsdale and created a super-suburb-city of over a million people? Would it be on par with Phoenix then?

No.

Merging suburbs into super suburbs doesn't make them into cities.

Buckeye Native 001 Oct 22, 2019 4:31 PM

Neither Tempe or Scottsdale would ever agree to such a thing, and I don't think anyone in Mesa is clamoring for that either.

Obadno Oct 22, 2019 5:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef (Post 8724826)
St Paul and Oakland both started as independent urban cores and were cities in their own right before they became subsumed into the metro of their larger neighbor. I think that is how it has to work to be a real twin city. I can't think any giant suburbs that grew into that role

The suburbs of Phoenix were independent towns, little tiny farming communities separated by mile of Cotton, Citrus, alfalfa and lettuce.

Mesa has a little downtown that makes perfect sense for a farming community fo 25,000 people. Mesa as a city went from mostly farms to a giant suburban city almost entirely in the last 40 years

Obadno Oct 22, 2019 5:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xzmattzx (Post 8724866)
What would happen if Mesa merged with Tempe and/or Scottsdale and created a super-suburb-city of over a million people? Would it be on par with Phoenix then?

Why would that happen? Its not like there is any daylight between them, in a matter of minutes you can cross back and forth to all of them and not even realize you've done so.

Obadno Oct 22, 2019 5:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhays (Post 8725427)
In the East there's usually a legacy settlement. In the West often there wasn't.

I haven't been to Mesa (unless you count flying over it!) but it sounds like it's just suburbia for the most part that happens to have larger than usual boundaries. Like a handful of smaller suburbs that happened to be one government.

The larger Phoenix Suburbs were independent small farming towns that had been around just as long or even longer than phoenix, Whoever compared it to LA is exactly correct.

By the time phoenix took off in pop growth in the 1960's, it was the largest town in a region of several farm towns (Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert etc.)

All of these just short of grew into each other just Like LA, Long beach, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Anaheim, etc etc. Modern car centric Suburban development allowed these towns to massively grow out and run into each other before ever developing urban cores to match.

Its the reason LA has a downtown, as discussed before, that is relatively small given the region it anchors and why LA has many separate city cores, town centers and downtown's spread out over the metro region.

This is true in all regions to a degree but older (mostly east coast cities) have a much more dominant central core with very minor secondaries, newer cities have weaker central cores and several moderate and small secondaries.

Its simply a matter of the time these places developed and the technology/trends available at the time they did.

toddguy Oct 23, 2019 1:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8725658)
The larger Phoenix Suburbs were independent small farming towns that had been around just as long or even longer than phoenix, Whoever compared it to LA is exactly correct.

By the time phoenix took off in pop growth in the 1960's, it was the largest town in a region of several farm towns (Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert etc.)

All of these just short of grew into each other just Like LA, Long beach, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Anaheim, etc etc. Modern car centric Suburban development allowed these towns to massively grow out and run into each other before ever developing urban cores to match.

Its the reason LA has a downtown, as discussed before, that is relatively small given the region it anchors and why LA has many separate city cores, town centers and downtown's spread out over the metro region.

This is true in all regions to a degree but older (mostly east coast cities) have a much more dominant central core with very minor secondaries, newer cities have weaker central cores and several moderate and small secondaries.

Its simply a matter of the time these places developed and the technology/trends available at the time they did.

Mesa had almost 15,000 people in 1950, and Anaheim California had a bit over 15,000 at the same time, and I think that Mesa has no more chance of being a twin of Phoenix than Anaheim has of being a twin of Los Angeles.

It was a small town that got swallowed up in the growing blob of Phoenix. Mesa just happens to have the largest population of sprawlburbs like Anaheim, Arlington Texas, Aurora Colorado, etc.

SunDevil Oct 23, 2019 2:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bossabreezes (Post 8724565)
Isn't Scottsdale more of a contender to be a ''twin city'' then Mesa? I mean, yes, Mesa has double the population of Scottsdale, but Scottsdale is far more famous countrywide. It's nothing to write home about either with a pitiful downtown, but it's got more of a pulse and is definitely seeing more ''urban'' development than Mesa and probably Phoenix as well.

Eh, not more than Phoenix, maybe as much as Tempe but if so it's not as visible. Outside of Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale though there is a gap but Chandler and Gilbert are trying to close that gap. It's just that almost all the arts and culture are already concentrated in Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale. So, it's an uphill battle for every other city. It doesn't help Scottsdale that it barely tolerates buses let alone higher density mass transit.

Sorry for going off topic.

muertecaza Oct 23, 2019 2:58 AM

Everyone has pretty much said it. Very very little chance of Mesa becoming a dominant city in the region. It's too bad, because it's not for lack of trying. They brought in the light rail. They have approved several proposals downtown to start bringing residents and density. But it says something that a recent development of just like 20 apartments I believe we're the first market rate apartments to be built in downtown Mesa in like 20+ years. The latest plan is to bring ASU downtown. We'll see. Nothing Mesa does seems to overcome the fact that it's just not much of a destination.

I will say the downtown is nice for what it is. Unlike Gilbert or Tempe, downtown Mesa still has a decent collection of non-bar or restaurant retail. And there is a nice little collection of watering holes growing that have a vibe that I enjoy--not as college-y as Tempe, or as club-y as Scottsdale, or as family-y as Gilbert. But I can't imagine it ever really developing into anything that could be called a second city.

Obadno Oct 23, 2019 1:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by toddguy (Post 8726257)
Mesa had almost 15,000 people in 1950, and Anaheim California had a bit over 15,000 at the same time, and I think that Mesa has no more chance of being a twin of Phoenix than Anaheim has of being a twin of Los Angeles.

It was a small town that got swallowed up in the growing blob of Phoenix. Mesa just happens to have the largest population of sprawlburbs like Anaheim, Arlington Texas, Aurora Colorado, etc.

We are in total agreement.

toddguy Oct 23, 2019 8:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8726552)
We are in total agreement.

I am in total agreement with someone on the internet? *has a collapse* :haha:


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