Gila Bend, Arizona, is a locale abounding with dichotomies: lying on a well-defined transportation corridor, it has rarely been a destination; it is a complex place as it continually redefines itself through time due to large economic swings, but its residents extol a grounded vision of quick fixes; the town is located in Maricopa County, which is rapidly growing in both population and economic output, but the town has been plagued by population stagnation and economic decline; it is situated in the midst of the arid Sonoran Desert, yet by regional standards, it has plenty of water. While this town may seem to be bypassed on many different levels within a region of intense growth, this is a place that uses its derelict landscape and poor economy in a strategic way. Gila Bend accepts the unwanted economic activities that bolster the growth in the region. Whether it is power generation, hazardous waste recycling, or a large prison population, Gila Bend's backyard is open for business.
Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jul 5, 2006