There is one neighborhood that we locals call "the barrio" it's one of the cheapest areas, so a lot of students live there, but there's also some sketchy folks there too. Some streets are better than others, but you wouldn't know unless you were here in person and could drive around. The main street names in that area are Lincoln, Madison, Campbell, Hillside, Fair...
Considering moving to Arizona... Advice? - Page 2
I would say Flagstaff would be ideal. There is a super crunchy vibe, a great community to raise a family we have won ING's 100 top cities to raise a family in 2 years in a row. And we are close to the Grand Canyon and Sedona- major tourist spots. It is super bike friendly- bike lanes everywhere and the buses are great. Great schools and the people are amazing. International tourists come here daily so there is a lot of culture as well. It is also a very "local friendly" town- lots of locally owned businesses.
Tempe, AZ is actually pretty good for a lot of what you describe, but it does get hot. It's a college "town" but lots of family friendly parks, libraries, stores. A lot of students rely on bikes in that area. We live in Chandler which is lovely. Phoenix is very spread out. I think the key is to scope out a place that fits your needs, or ask a relator or apt. hunter to do that. I live in an area that is difficult to bike to most things but just a couple miles away is a nice apt. complex around a lake, that is close to a natural grocery store. I see people all the time biking/walking with groceries. Most apartment complexes have pools. If your budget allows there are some nice places all around the phoenix area. Here in CHandler we have great schools. My daughter's future high school has a huge water park as part of the campus with very cheap admission prices. We live there for a good part of the summer, at the pool. :-) Great libraries, big lovely parks all around, and very low cost of living. We are really happy here raising our family. I only wish we had more natural greenery. It's green thanks to watering and irrigation but would love to live in the forest.