Thursday, January 28, 2010


Looks like we'll be getting a few extra bucks (it's a pdf) to further the study.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

UNM and City: Take Note

photo courtesy of Jill Torrance, Arizona Daily Star

The University of Arizona is moving their architecture and urban design studio to downtown, according to this article. Imagine the possibilities if UNM got its s*%t together and worked with the city instead of continuing to build new car-centric facilities in the north campus area (hello Law School!). I know it isn't a done deal for the UofA as of yet, but this is a nationwide trend. Cities and universities are quickly understanding the power they have over redevelopment trends in urban areas. It's one thing to build secondary schools but it's another to have professional schools that contribute significant populations of adults enlivening an area over large parts of the day. Do you think Mayor Barry and Schmidly will ever have these discussions? I won't hold my breath.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Density Can Be Beautiful

This was a presentation from a planner in Redwood City, CA providing examples of a range of residential development densities. These are important lessons to keep in mind as urban Albuquerque morphs into a denser existence. Hopefully a leader will arise to create a plan for our neighborhoods to determine which models best compliment the existing urban environment while progressively and carefully densifying areas in an effort to create the vitality that is desired in such settings.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2009 Review

I apologize for the long pause between postings. Spring quarter has begun and life is a blur once again. The break did, however, grant me the opportunity to swing through the wonderful Duke City for a week of rest, rehab, green chile, farolitos, familia, and old friends.
Although 2010 has begun in the midst of an economic recession, there are some bright spots to provide hope. I was pleased to see significant progress with the various residential projects throughout downtown. Here's a few photos that I captured along the way:

700 2nd @ Lomas - A real model for future urban development and affordable housing in Albuquerque.
Silver Gardens - Continued downtown residential at good densities (albeit generic in design). Site work also appears to be starting across the street in the foreground. I wonder when phase two of Silver Gardens will be begin to enclose the block.
The downtown core with the renovated Hotel Andaluz. This project is not residential but puts another 100+ sets of feet on the street in the area on a regular basis.
Urban residential and quality, inclusive street design in Nob Hill
I left out a photo of Elements Townhomes as they were in the process of being stuccoed but they're a fantastic addition to an increasing selection of options enriching our urban fabric. I question the pricing set by the developer, Sean Gilligan, seeing as he's yet to sell 720 Roma's 9 units at much more reasonable prices.
I still question Jonathon Rose's decision to eliminate retail space from the ground level of Silver Gardens. The residents near the 1st and Silver intersection will feel the impacts of the Rapid Ride and Greyhound busses driving right by their window. I still believe this was a significant lost opportunity that was made more as a result of current economic conditions and a lack of long-term consideration.
Additionally, the start of construction on the Hotel Parq Central building in Edo will be another fantastic addition to the area. Hopefully the project will anchor the east end of Edo and create more energy for the area.
But still, 2010 will see the infusion of hundreds of new residents to the downtown core. As residential drives retail, prospects are favorable for a rapid turnaround once the economy begins to recover. In the meantime, it is exciting to see progress made toward the revitalization of our core. Be sure to check out the Downtown Action Team's redesigned website as well.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Inspiration in Trying Times

Despite California's economic issues, the city of San Francisco is pushing forward with what will be America's best multimodal transit center. EVAR. article