March 18, 2012
Sprawling Mesa, Ariz., Aims to Become a College Town
Ashley Lowery for The Chronicle
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 if they had been accidentally spilled out of a bottle. The downtown does have a gleaming arts center, but many of the businesses and restaurants around it are closed by early evening, even on weekends.
Mesa, in fact, has a larger
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