Planners and real estate analysts look for trends and opportunities influencing their communities over time. Too few of them study their community in the context of the larger scheme of the region, nation, or world, let alone trends.
In this assignment, your consulting firm’s client is Sun Corridor, Inc., the private sector based economic development organization whose purpose is to advance the economic well-being of Cochise (Sierra Vista), Pima (Tucson), Pinal (Phoenix and Tucson exurbs), and Santa Cruz (Nogales) counties in Arizona as well as the Mexican state of Sonora. They are baffled by what appears to be metropolitan Tucson’s declining prominence with respect to Phoenix. They contract with your firm to understand more about the relationship. It pays your firm a handsome fee to help them understand the underlying dynamics of how that relationship arose, is changing and what can be done to reverse trends.
In 1970, Tucson’s metropolitan population of 357,000 was about 34% of metropolitan Phoenix’s 1.1 million. (Zipf’s law suggests that as the region’s second largest metropolitan area, Tucson’s population should have been about half that of Phoenix’s in 1970: 1.1 million/2 = 550,000.) In 2015, Tucson’s population of 1.0 million fell to 22% of Phoenix’s 4.6 million. By 2050, the Sun Corridor projects Tucson population of 1.5 million will be just 19% of Phoenix’s 8.0 million. According to Zipf’s Law, Tucson’s population relative to Phoenix’s should not fall at least much, yet it is falling further behind, quickly.
In the first part of your memo, which is not to exceed 500 words, suggest reasons for Tucson’s decline relative to Phoenix. You might also note that Phoenix is a much more compact metropolitan area than Tucson. For instance, whereas metropolitan Tucson’s urbanized land area density was about 2,400 persons per square mile in 2010, metropolitan Phoenix’s was about 3,200 persons per square mile making it more densely settled than metropolitan Baltimore, for comparison.
In the second part, suggest ways in which Tucson might be able to reverse trends. Focus on efforts the Sun Corridor might use to help reverse the trends—but not at the expense of Phoenix.
You are free to use outside resources to help with your answer.
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