Amerind Museum- This museum, located about an hour east of Tucson, Arizona, celebrates the history of American Indians. Through exhibits of artifacts and artwork, the museum, which is situated amongst boulders and native plants, educates visitors on Native American culture.
Desert Botanical Garden- Boasting the world’s largest collection of desert plants, this Phoenix garden offers scenic trails in addition to special exhibits. The trails wind visitors past a variety of gardens containing wildflowers, cactus and succulents, herbs, and other desert plants.
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Prosperous Communities: Jobs, Housing, and Transport
In the metropolitan US, the top six ranked walkable areas have 38 percent higher GDP (Benjamin, 2014) than the lower-ranked walkable metros. This indicates that communities that are economically vibrant and productive are those where people can access services and jobs by walking. To achieve this level of walkability, it is important that these places have the right mix of services, jobs, and housing.
Areas with more jobs than homes can result in high rents. This is evident in metropolitan areas of Austin, Houston, San Francisco, and San Jose, among others. Job gains of 2.4 percent in 2012 saw simultaneous rent increases exceeding 3.5 percent. By contrast, job growth in metros in the US with the smallest rent increases or actual declines averaged just 1.4 percent in 2012. The increases in the costs of land and rent, accompanied by inadequate affordable housing, preclude low-income families from living in these areas. They are pushed out to peripheral areas and forced to spend a large portion of their budgets on transport (Litman, 2016). Owing to the costs of transport and longer commutes, few of these households have sufficient money for healthy food and healthcare, and their ability to accumulate wealth by shifting from rental properties to their own homes is limited (Sanchez et al., 2015). Increased stress levels in these households result in fragile well-being and, in some cases, reduced academic achievement (Litman, 2016). Such households are also vulnerable to the risks of increased costs associated with mortgages, petrol, and inflation (Dodson & Sipe, 2008).
Developing policy guidelines and regulations to incorporate affordable accessible housing into transit-oriented developments, as in the US, is crucial (Center for Transit-Oriented Development, 2009; Chapple, 2009). The focus of many reforms in the US has been to: