Sprawling Mesa, Ariz., Aims to Become a College Town

Ashley Lowery for The Chronicle

Mayor Scott Smith, of Mesa, Ariz., plans to attract small colleges to the downtown area, to give the city's young people a reason to stick around.
March 18, 2012

Viewed from far above, this city is an irregular splotch sprawling east from Tempe—133 square miles, roughly in the form of a hook. At ground level, it seems even less defined—strip malls and developments of one- and two-story buildings flow as…

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