How to be a Good Neighbor in Phoenix

Learning the ins-and-outs of a new city can be frustrating, especially because cities can have vast differences in everyday etiquette and what’s socially considered “the norm.” But the sooner you embrace your new surroundings, the better you’ll adapt to your new neighborhood. According to a new study reported by CNN, where you live will end up effecting your personality and while many places have preconceived stereotypes—i.e. Northeasterners and Southeasterners tend to be more neurotic than Westerners—it turns out many of these tend to be confirmed, per the study’s lead author William Chopik, a psychologist at Michigan State University.

Phoenix, with its surging economy and growing population, is no different. The city is thriving with young families, a passionate college crowd, professionals, and retirees spread throughout various neighborhoods. Here are some tips on how to be a good neighbor in Phoenix.

Shade as a Commodity

Most locals know that shade is a valuable commodity in Phoenix

Residents of Phoenix know the city is progressively leading the way for minimizing the effects of rising climates and the heat island effect. The city’s Tree and Shade Master Plan maintains inventory of over 90,000 trees while looking at regulatory hurdles that prevent the construction of shade structures over public sidewalks. It also has the “We’re Cool” Campaign, which provides cooling stations where residents can get free bottles of water and locations of indoor places to cool down. What better way to assist in the shade revolution than to not unnecessarily monopolize shady spots in parking lots. You will know how important a shady spot is when you witness others willing to wait an additional 10 to 15 minutes until a shady spot opens up. So if you plan on making a quick trip somewhere, leave the shady spot for someone else.  


Snowbirds are people who live in Phoenix during the winter months

Snowbirds are people who temporarily live in the Valley from fall through spring to escape the harsh winters from cold weather states. These ‘snowbirds’ do everything from crowd up the local restaurants to make driving to work seem painful. It’s not that these winter visitors are doing anything out of the ordinary, but the population explosion during these months make it a noticeable difference. According to Trip Savvy while it may frustrating at times seeing the population balloon before your eyes, filling up the movie theaters and making the lines at local grocery stores longer, they significantly add to the region’s economy, both commercially and residentially. Being a good neighbor in this instance could be as simple as adjusting your schedule to reflect the increase in commute times, in dining out, or shopping. Leaving 10 to 20 minutes ahead of schedule during the “snowbird months” will lessen your chances of becoming frustrated with these temporary residents. And can you really blame them for not wanting to shovel their driveways all winter?

Creatures of Habit

lola Coffee in Phoenix / Photo by Nick Bastian / CC BY-ND

The coffee scene is large in the city with suburbs like Tempe close behind. And it happens to be one of the many ways that reflect the daily habits of Phoenix residents. Pop into any coffee shop on a regular basis and you’ll see the familiar crowd; the students nose down in their laptops, the retired gentleman taking two hours to read the paper, and the lunch crowd looking for a caffeine pick-me-up and quick bite because they’re already running late to meeting. Being a good neighbor means being aware of all the varieties of patrons taking advantage of these popular coffee spots and being respectful of their symbiotic dance. If you recognize a certain table is usually used by a mom and her two kids sharing a croissant before school, and it’s possible to chose another booth, maybe do so. If it’s lunch hour and you are having a hard time deciding on whether to order a venti or macchiato, move aside for those hustling with only a few minutes to spare. Though being courteous and aware is just good practice, coffee houses are a way of life in the city and you can be sure people will start paying attention to your habits and preferences.

Dust Storms

Some places experience tornadoes or floods, but Phoenix has Haboobs

Though deadly ones are rare, you will encounter dust storms during your residency in Phoenix. Occurring between May and September, with the highest likelihood occurring during monsoon season, Tucson News Now reports they can create even deadly driving conditions and sometimes reduce visibility to zero. Practicing safe driving habits are crucial to avoid accidents. If you happen to be caught in a dust storm, reduce your speed and turn on your driving lights before exiting the freeway or pulling off the roadway. Turn off your lights to ensure other vehicles do not follow you off the road, assuming you are still moving, and hit your vehicle. Finally, wait until visibility is at least 300 feet before re-entering the roadway.


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