• This Could Be pHX


Our Mission

The Intention Behind This Could Be PHX

Have you ever walked down a Phoenix street and seen an empty lot and thought to yourself: “That could be a ________.” We have too, and This Could Be PHX aims to spark a conversation to fill in the blanks and imagine our city’s future, specifically life in the Downtown core.

How Does It Work?

This Could Be PHX provides a creative outlet to envision the city we want and start a community discussion in order to plant the seeds of our future. Our goals are simple: envision, educate, and inspire. Join us to help raise awareness about urban living and sustainability in Phoenix through monthly envisioning projects, educational blogs, and inspirational showcases.


This Could Be PHX will create “Envision Projects” to show the potential that our city has lying underneath the surface just waiting to be tapped into. Each month we will feature a This Could Be ______, where we’ll fill in the blank with something that could be, be it a vacant lot turned into a field of sunflowers or a forgotten building transformed into a local clothing shop. The potential for change is endless and we hope to ignite the Creative Class (designers, architects, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and entertainers) that is becoming the driving force in revitalizing Downtown.


We believe being informed and educated is the first step towards change and growth. By examining different topics surrounding urban living and sustainability (bike lanes, coffee culture, walkability, public spaces, etc), we hope to raise awareness of the health, economic and environmental benefits that arise from an urban lifestyle. Millennials are increasingly ditching the old ‘American Dream’ of a house in the suburbs for the new American Dream – urban living. We are in full support of this trend and want people to understand why it is occurring and why it should be promoted and encouraged for not only Millennials but across all generations.


Phoenix isn’t alone in our efforts to revitalize the urban core. Many other cities around the nation such as Denver, Austin, and Portland are doing just the same, and we can take what they’ve done, learn from them and be inspired by their work. Plus, Phoenix has many people working to do the same and spotlighting their ideas can help fuel the creative momentum within Phoenix. From Roosevelt Row to Co+HootsLocal First to Urban Choices, creative people are stepping up and helping Phoenix rise from the shadows. We have the talent and potential to one day become a world class city and we hope to inspire the change needed for this vision to become a reality.






Envision Projects

Envision Projects consist of proposed improvements to an empty lot, abandoned building, street, block, or neighborhood. They are creative ideas representing the potential for change envisioned by the This Could be PHX team and other creative members of the Phoenix community.

Most Recent Project

  • cover

    Warehouse District

    This envision project’s goal is to show that the Warehouse District, in spite of its many challenges, can still become a vibrant, 24/7 urban neighborhood and

Past Projects

  • Arizona Center Redesign: Two Visions

    This envision project focuses on the Arizona Center, bound by Van Buren, Fillmore, 3rd and 5thStreets. Since its opening in 1990, the Center has experienced ups and

  • Grand Avenue Lofts

    Van Norman Development LLC (VND) is an up-and-coming construction-development company based in Downtown Phoenix. Design Philosophy VND strives to bring vitality to the

  • Better Block PHX

    On Saturday, September 27th 2014, Downtown Phoenix experienced the very first Better Block project. A collaboration between Downtown advocates and advocacy groups like

  • PHX 1ST

    When a tourist visiting Phoenix, Arizona asks where they should go for shopping, bars and restaurants, the answer is usually; “check out Old Town Scottsdale” or

  • Residences @ Central Adams

    The Residences @ Central Adams is an urban infill development proposal at a key intersection in downtown Phoenix. With this development we intend to provide an urban

  • White Stone Studios

    As a nomadic designer who’s worked in Denmark, Seattle and San Francisco, I’ve now finally found a place I call home: downtown Phoenix. The Neighborhood A couple







Phoenix Coffee Culture

Read the Stories

Phoenix coffee shop stories

The independent coffee culture in Phoenix is made up of people who create community, 1 cup & conversation at a time. Read the stories of how the culture has influenced people’s lives, work, and relationships-ranging from owners, baristas, entrepreneurs, and everyday latté lovers.

Read on…

See the

Coffee culture poster phoenix

We designed a one-of-a-kind poster just for you, caffeine addict. The art highlights 13 independent coffee shops in the Midtown and Downtown areas of Phoenix and is available for sale in 2 different sizes. This is your chance to snag a unique piece of local Downtown Phoenix art!

Go to poster…

Find a
Coffee Shop

Find a PHX coffee shop

This interactive map will show you some of the best coffee and tea shops around town – all a hop, skip and a jump away via bicycle, foot, or light rail. Print out the map, share it, download it and go on your very own tour of the tasty independent coffee shops in the area.

See the map…

Produced by This Could Be PHX in collaboration with Songbird Coffee & Tea House.






Our blog consists of educational posts on different topics related to urban living in Downtown Phoenix. We'll also highlight local businesses, inspirational stories from other cities' urban success stories, and creative posts that help further our mission.

Browse All Posts





Who We Are

We're simply people who feel passionately about Downtown Phoenix and the potential it has. Read on to find out a little more about us or, even better, get involved by contributing your talents to This Could Be PHX.

  • Chloe Brooks

    Chloe Brooks


    Chloe works to create a dialogue about Phoenix issues through blog and social media content, event coordination, and community outreach.

  • Ryan Tempest

    Ryan Tempest


    Ryan initially had the idea for a Phoenix urban awareness group & is the driving force & visionary behind many of the Envision Projects, visuals, & renderings you’ll find here.

  • Quinn Whissen

    Quinn Whissen


    Quinn leads up our marketing & design initiatives, inspiring community engagement through great content, inspired conversations, & varied creative projects.

  • You


    Community Contributor

    We are a community organization so we couldn’t survive without your ideas, projects, articles, and engagement. Let us know how you want to get involved.

Learn More About Us





This Could Be PHX has been given opportunities to spread our message far and wide within the Phoenix community. Here are a few articles, speaking engagements, and other opportunities that have come our way. If you’d like to talk to us more about our mission, projects, and events – feel free to shoot us an email at info@thiscouldbephx.com


Skyline lofts PhoenoxOnce-bleak downtown Phoenix poised to add even more apartments

Article by Stephen Hamway on December 11th, 2014 via Cronkite News
“For years and years and even decades, downtown wasn’t as safe, there wasn’t as much to do and people left after dark,” Whissen said. “Obviously, that’s not true at all anymore, but a lot of people still don’t know that, so we’re trying to change the beliefs about downtown.”

Lab downtown PhoenixNew coworking space, Lab, invites creative individuals to come get down to business

Article by Alyssa Tufts on December 8th, 2014 via Downtown Devil
“I think it will be great because [The Lab] is going to be that hub for entrepreneurs in downtown,” Whissen said. “Especially (for) creative people to come together to think and strategize how to make the community better — opportunities to connect and having places like this is only going to help.”

latteIndependent shops create Coffee Culture in Phoenix

Article by Whitney Woodworth on October 13th, 2014 via AZ Big Media
“Downtown Phoenix has had a bad reputation for such a longtime, Whissen said. People think it’s dangerous or there’s no local business or nightlife. Coffee Culture seeks to change that, latte by latte.”

Lab downtown PhoenixBlock party transforms downtown Phoenix dead zone into lively community hub

Article by Whitney Woodworth on September 29th, 2014 via Downtown Devil
“Better Block falls in line with our mission of activating downtown Phoenix one block at time,” Tempest said. “You can’t draw somebody to a street if there’s nothing there. All you need is something to do to bring people here.”

Songbird coffeeAdvocates promote Phoenix’s growing coffee culture

Article by Kyle Mittan on August 1st, 2014 via Arizona Republic
“One of the great things about Phoenix is the coffee culture,” Tempest said. “So we thought it’d be a great opportunity to spotlight why Phoenix has such a great coffee culture and highlight all these great independent coffee shops.”

Quinn Whissen Valley Metro blogBicycling Reality Trip: Reasons to Ride & How to Ride Right

Article by Melissa Quillard on April 18th, 2014 via Valley Metro Blog
“Start out slow and keep trying until you feel comfortable,” Quinn suggests. “Make yourself known on the road. Wave or make eye contact and slow down near driveways and around corners. You need to share the road with cars and find a way to communicate.”

Quinn Whissen My PHX StoryMy PHX Story: Quinn Whissen

Article by Quinn Whissen in the April edition of Local Revibe (print & digital)
“I read in a book once that every city has its own word. A word thats describes the spirit of the city and the people living in it. What is Phoenix’s word?”

Downtown Devil Detropia Recap‘Detropia’ documentary sparks discussion among Phoenix developers to find city’s niche

Article by Mariah Hurst, on Wednesday April 9th, 2014 via Downtown Devil
“Phoenix Urban Design Week, Reinvent Phoenix, This Could Be Phoenix and the many other initiatives currently in action are testament to Upton’s final remark: ‘Great cities have to be fought for, they don’t just happen.'”

Arizona Republic Bike Month April 2014April is Valley Bike Month in metro Phoenix

Article by Kaila White on April 2, 2014 via the Arizona Republic
“[On a bike], I cannot get out of my house without seeing one or two people I know,” [Quinn] said. “You’re part of the fabric of the city rather than sitting behind a windshield.”

This Could Be Phoenix Uptown MagazineThe Future of Phoenix

Article by Katie Snyder, Photo by Carl Schultz in the March edition of Uptown Magazine
“We hope to continue engaging the public and receiving creative ideas, allowing people to explore their reams for the city and hopefully one day make them a reality.”

Downtown Devil articleCommunity members launch project to promote historic preservation

Article by Samantha Incorvaia, On Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 via Downtown Devil

“We might not be experts, but we’re community members,” Tempest said. “People that live, eat and breathe Phoenix. They’re the experts.”

Downtown Devil This Could Be PhxCommunity group gives Phoenicians a space to share ideas for empty lots, vacant buildings

Article By Sophia Kunthara, On Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 via Downtown Devil

“This Could be PHX, a new community awareness group, is working to educate and inspire Phoenicians to make positive changes to their city by providing a platform for community members to pitch ideas to revitalize downtown’s empty lots and vacant buildings.”

Local Revibe This Could Be PHX

City of Dreams: Community Awareness Group Key to Urban Renaissance in the Valley

Article by Katie Snyder in the November issue of Local Revibe

“Since 2006, over $4 billion private and public capital has been invested in the 1.5 square mile downtown Phoenix area. Tempest and Whissen are hopeful their movement will inspire more change, making downtown a viable urban center.”

Speaking Engagements

Quinn at Digital Summit Phoenix

Digital Summit Phoenix – 2.5.15

“Hacking Human: A New Paradigm for Marketing” is a presentation Quinn Whissen developed to describe the changes that many businesses are facing when it comes to digital marketing. Using examples from This Could Be PHX, she shows how the changing paradigm of marketing works not only for businesses, but to enact social change within a city.

Quinn at Pressnomics

Pressnomics – 1.22.15

Quinn Whissen presented about marketing and This Could Be PHX at digital marketing conference, Pressnomics, to a crowd of entrepreneurs and top WordPress businesses. She spoke on the convergence of marketing, design, and community engagement to a crowd of 250 in Tempe, AZ.See her slides here.

Pecha Kucha Arizona

AIGA PechaKucha Design-Driven Social Change – 7.27.14

Quinn Whissen was invited to do a lightning fast presentation in the 20×20 PechaKucha format, showing 20 slides for 20 sections. She spoke on the topic “Awareness + Experience + Action = Change” to tell the story of how her personal story has effected her work with This Could Be PHX and how we can all learn to take meaningful action in our lives. See her slides here.

Wine & Design

AIGA Wine & Design at Wordcamp Phoenix Conference – 1.17.14

Our website was submitted to AIGA’s WordPress website design contest. Quinn Whissen was one of two web designers invited to speak on the topic of her design, content marketing, and development work on the website to the larger WordPress community in Arizona.

Phoenix Phabulous Ryan Tempest

Phoenix Phabulous Experience – 12.11.13

Phoenix Phabulous Experience is an exciting civic engagement initiative, sharing the unique story of Phoenix through arts and culture, innovative storytelling, and captivating 3D projection. Ryan Tempest was invited to share his story about moving to Phoenix and also what he foresaw for the future of our city. He was in the company of other storytellers Bob Boze Bell, Jana Bommersbach, Pat McMahon, Ivan Makil, Barry Wong, Frank Barrios and Marshall Shore.

Go Green Quinn Whissen

GoGreen Phoenix Sustainability Conference – 12.3.13

Quinn Whissen was invited to speak at the GoGreen conference as part of a panel on the topic: Intersections of Health + Sustainability: How We Live and Work. She spoke about This Could Be PHX’s efforts to move the city forward into sustainable practices and how to address the shifting work & lifestyle paradigm happening within the Millennial generation. She was voted in the top 5 favorite speakers from an attendee poll.


KJZZ interview yuppie indexYuppie Price Index: Phoenix Is The Fourth Most Expensive City

Interview on KJZZ 91.5 with Mark Brodie

“People want to live in an area that they love. That’s their main motivation for picking where they want to live. For myself, I know I want to live in Downtown Phoenix. And I accept that there may be higher living expenses and other things that I may not have to pay for living in Tempe, Mesa, or Chandler. But, I’m okay paying those expenses because it is all about where I want to live… and that’s in an urban environment.” – Ryan Tempest

KJZZ Quinn WhissenCan Be Phoenix Be Attractive to Millennials?

Interview on KJZZ 91.5 with Mark Brodie
“The more and more I do all this city promotion work to help Phoenix become some place awesome, I’m learning that it is a creative process. And with every creative process, you need source material. You need to find what works and what doesn’t work.” -Quinn Whissen



Valley group wants more people to spend more time in downtown Phoenix via ABC15

“We really wanted to change the narrative of Phoenix because for so long it got a bad wrap.” – Ryan Tempest

This Could Be Phoenix: Finding ways to better downtown via Fox 10 News

FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

“I think that’s our dream one day – to actually have one of these Envision Projects come to life and say, ‘Look what the community process can do when we engage people, we get them excited about the city they live in.” – Quinn Whissen

Get Involved

This Could Be PHX is all about getting the community engaged and involved in our discussion. If you want to jump in and help contribute to a monthly Envision Project, or have a great idea for a blog post, we'd love to hear from you! All ideas are welcome.

Topics we cover (but aren’t limited to) are listed below:

  • Urban Lifestyle
  • Adaptive Reuse
  • Empty Lot Activation
  • Historical Preservation
  • Walkability
  • Arts & Culture

  • Bike Culture & Infrastructure
  • Public Transportation
  • Community & Connection
  • Small Business Highlight
  • Coffee Culture
  • Sustainability


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