I'm a native. Be aware housing in the Scottsdale area is more expensive than most of the surrounding area.. I lived there until we bought our home a few years ago. The last apartment we lived in was about 1/4 of the size of my house. The rent was 800 less per month than my mortgage-and I live in a much nicer area now. It is close to nightlife/restaurants/shopping, and is fairly convenient to most of the rest of the valley. Other than that-I get tired of the heat-I really don't want to go outdoors for several months of the year. Also, you have to have a car for the most part. I can't drive due to a medical condition, and it's really difficult to get around. Public transit is pretty limited and unless you live and work in the right places, it's impossible to use it every day. The COL is generally lower here, when the weather's nice, hiking, biking etc. is awesome. The schools are hit or miss, lots of them are not great, and you have to hunt for good ones.
Definitely staying North there aren't many bad area, PV (Paradise Valley) area is great as well as Desert Ridge area. The only really ghetto areas are central Phoenix, Southern Phoenix. Where are you coming from? The A/C bills are ridiculously high but also Scottsdale has higher taxes than surrounding towns.
What I liked about Phoenix- No snow. Wearing a light sweater all winter. Cheap housing (compared to New England).
What I hated about Phoenix- Everything else. The heat, the Mexican food, the lack of any landscape and greenery, the illegals and crime rates (not a stereotype, they have terrible crime), the lack of history and culture, the poorly constructed homes, the bad school systems.
I grew up in Boston and moved to AZ by myself at 22 years old for a change. I lasted 3 years and hated every bit of it except for not shoveling but that was not enough to keep me there and now I'm back in Boston. lol Good Luck