Christy Ten Eyck

Photo by: Steve Gunther

Some communities push back the wilderness and impose a homogenized identity on the landscape, but not so in Paradise Valley, a small town in the Phoenix area. While in other parts of the region the desert is losing ground to development at an alarming rate (one source estimates 1 acre per hour), Paradise Valley residents are proud of their Sonoran surroundings — home of the famed saguaro cactus — and fight to maintain its integrity. As one of the wealthier communities in the area, the lots are large, which enables the town to give nature plenty of elbowroom.