As owner of a research and content business based in Tucson Arizona I have watched Tucson weather the storm of economic and informational change for 25 years. When I walked in the Presidio Neighborhood of downtown Tucson in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were several empty crumbling adobe structures from the late 19th Century. Now empty and crumbling translates to on the market and ready for restoration. This change is far more than a change in marketing terminology, it is the rest of the world realizing and buying into what Tucson has offered her inhabitants for thousands of years.
- When First Peoples made camp in the Tucson Basin, the camps were temporary, seasonal residences that allowed gathering and hunting in the basin at the time of the year when resources were abundant. There has been continuous occupation of Tucson for 3000 years.
- Tucson is located along a geographic corridor that naturally promotes the exchange of information and goods between human populations. In other words, it is a trade route.
- Ideas are generated where distinct information streams mingle.
I was reminded of this remarkable aspect of Tucson yesterday as I walked past a realtor open house in the Presidio Neighborhood of downtown Tucson. The 1880 structure needs a lot of help for termites, cracked and falling plaster, the lack of a full bath, and innumerable other challenges. But this building is probably one of the last buildings in the old Presidio neighborhood from the 19th Century to have most of its original features such as adobe, 14 ft. ceilings, the zagun, or wide reception hall from which all other rooms directly open is common in Tucson in early pre-railroad types houses, while showing some of the post railroad (renovation?) such as the gabled metal roof with a capped parapet.
Tucson architecture reflects the unique blending of ideas that is Tucson. Within an hour of the house tour On the trip home after the open house I needed to stop at the Valdez Main Library and since I was in the neighborhood I zipped by the old Pioneer Hotel building to see if Gangplank was open. It was, so I availed myself of the cooperative workspace and created a social media presentation I will be giving next month on the basics Twitter used as a networking and marketing tool for business blogs. When I was working at Gangplank I remembered that Tucson StartUp will host an entrepreneurial focused conference in a few days. While doing these tasks I was listening to KXCI, an eclectic community radio station – not a public broadcasting affiliate station, and was reminded that a major Global Justice conference, Tear Down the Walls, is happening here in early November.
Tucson is rising rapidly in the estimates of national and global business leaders due to its novel output in several areas of technology and social innovation. This sort of stimulating economic environment is juxtaposed with an urban cool that is possible only in the Southwestern U.S. leads us toward a very promising future.
Multifaceted innovation springs from fresh perspectives of creative culture. 21st Century information streams now flow along the trails where explorers searched for the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola. Perhaps Coronado and Kino were just too early to find the treasure in the desert that is contemporary version of the Old Pueblo.