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  • Report of the Sixty-Eighth Annual Meeting Phoenix, Arizona October 19–22, 2005
  • Daniel Arreola and Christopher Lukinbeal

The 68th annual meeting of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, hosted by Arizona State University (ASU) and Mesa Community College, was convened at the ASU Downtown Center in Phoenix, October 19–22. Members gathered for what was the first Phoenix APCG meeting, and perhaps the very first APCG meeting co-hosted by a Ph.D. program department and a community college. The classrooms and outdoor patio spaces of the ASU Downtown Center campus proved a delightful venue.

Some 275 attendees participated in the Phoenix meetings. Beyond the large number of Arizona State, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University registrants, California State University, Northridge, sent 20 geographers, and University of Nevada, Reno, brought 15 faculty and students. Other notable departments represented by more than 5 registrants included San Diego State University, California State University, Fullerton, University of Southern California, California State University, Sacramento, University of Washington, Portland State University, and San Francisco State University. Happily, 14 registrants from community colleges across the region were in attendance, including at least 2 registrants each from Mesa Community College, Los Angeles Valley College, and Santa Monica College. In addition, 14 registrants came from states outside of the APCG region, and 3 participants came from international locations—2 from Italy and 1 from South Africa.

The Wednesday night Welcome and Opening Session featured speakers Patricia Gober (ASU) ("Metropolitan Phoenix: Place Making and Community Building in the Desert") and Grady Gammage, Jr. (ASU) ("Phoenix in Perspective, Revisited") These presentations weighed and assessed historic and contemporary growth in Phoenix, examining both environmental challenges and explosive demographic expansion. The illustrated talks proved informative, lively, and engaging.

Five guided field trips and one self-guided excursion enlisted some 70 participants on Thursday. Yolonda Youngs (ASU) and John Keane (Salt River Project) led an exploration of the multiple personalities [End Page 142] of the Salt River via a river float; Niccole Cerveny (Mesa Community College) and Ken Madsen (ASU-Tohono O'odham Nation) charted Native American landscapes in metro Phoenix; Timothy Collins (ASU) and Stephen Pyne (ASU) examined the fire ecology of nearby mountain habitats; Susan Sargent (City of Phoenix) examined water landscapes in desert cities; and Steven Bass (Mesa Community College) and John Duncan Shaeffer (ASU) led a hike to the top of Camelback Mountain, one of the premier landmarks in the area. A self-guided tour of downtown Phoenix enabled visitors to explore the many changes evolving in the principal city center of the metropolitan area. Some 60 additional guests joined the field-trip participants at Papago Park in Phoenix to hail an Arizona sunset surrounded by red-rock outcrops. Barbecue and beverages capped a wonderful day of explorations.

Friday and Saturday featured 33 paper sessions and 1 poster session. In total, 120 papers, 13 posters, and 17 panelists presented to the meeting. In addition to many special paper sessions, separate panels were organized on the challenges of qualitative inquiry and analysis, a brown-bag session on geographic issues and opportunities of hurricane Katrina, and a session of distinguished geographical journal editors who discussed issues related to submission and publication. APCG President James Allen (California State University, Northridge) convened a plenary session that filled a large room with attendees to hear featured authors Bill Clark (UCLA), Larry Ford (San Diego State), and Susan Hardwick (University of Oregon) reflect on the theme "Bringing Geography to the Public Through Books."

Following the presidential plenary on Friday, guests were invited to a second-floor patio connected to an open room that featured posters, to enjoy a catered reception and complimentary bar. Some 150 attendees crowded onto the outdoor space and enjoyed the pleasant night air and lighted skyscrapers of downtown Phoenix. Following the poster session and reception, APCG members were encouraged to shuttle to downtown Tempe, one of metro Phoenix's most lively nightspots, where eateries, entertainment, and street culture compete for attention in the pedestrian-oriented townscape adjacent to Arizona State University.

The Saturday banquet seated 110 conferees and was emceed by APCG Vice-President Jenny Zorn (California State University, San Bernardino). [End Page 143] Attendees reveled in an awards...


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