Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quality of Life = Jobs, v2.0

An article that uses an example in Troy, Michigan to equate quality urban environments with educational/talent attainment. With a world class institution and several strong universities nearby, this is quite telling for this Michigan city. The author and CEO try too hard to associate poor development with sprawl but the point about young talent requiring a variety of quality urban environments is spot on. It's nice to see our city slowly paying attention to those details with projects like Lead/Coal, Central Ave. in Nob Hill, and MLK between UNM and I-25. But still, these reports and comments are important for the City (and University!) to pay attention to so that we can address the gaps that make our city and region less competitive for investment. Asking educated 20 and 30 somethings, as well as CEO's, what this city needs would reveal a few surprising things and lots that we probably already know but are slow to address.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mesa Del Sol is Back Online

A new era of smart growth for the Albuquerque metro area is about to begin with the construction of new homes at Mesa del Sol set for groundbreaking on March 28th. This is great news on so many levels. First, it's a strong indication of Forest City's confidence in our market. Second, it bodes well for future employee retention for all the companies that have chosen to locate in an area that looks like a big 'ol gamble at this point. I'm personally excited that it will help to push the geographic center further south from the current center, which is near Journal Center. Theoretically, this will help push an increase in redevelopment pressures at the core.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Samitaur Selected as Developer of the Barelas Railyards

My first response was, "WHO?!" Then, I did what anyone not in the know would do: I did a google search. This revealed a heap of information and press regarding their Culver City project that includes their headquarter building, which resembles a modern version of Bart Prince's home along Monte Vista. Further research
yielded a partnership with Eric Owen Moss Architects, also out of Los Angeles. I was, im-mediately, angry that we are again contracting a non-local firm to do work in Albuquerque but then drew a blank when attempting to conjure up a superior, local solution. I'm now happy to see that even though we went beyond our borders, we didn't settle for some "starchitect" like Gehry, Liebskind, or Foster, whose works can be found in nearly every major, damn city from Trenton to Timbuktu. Their works are growing a bit too commonplace and it's nice to see fresh ideas rather than the same three designs twisted and contorted in unoriginal ways.

Enough about that, these are exciting times seeing that this process is proceeding. Imagine what a redeveloped railyard and (this is optimistic, I know) arena/hotel project would do for downtown Albuquerque. Below are some images of projects from Eric Owen Moss Architects. Oh the things we may see in our very own ciudad...
I think what I appreciate most about this team's work is their heavy, industrial, yet modern designs. The railyards are large, hulking, industrial masses lurking in their corner of downtown. I would hate to see new development not complement the precedent they've set. Nearly every attempt at post modernism that's been attempted in our city has a stripped-down feeling to it that makes it feel like it'd be more at home in Omaha. I am comfortable and confident that this team will push our boundaries as a community and I'm giddy at the mere thought.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

UrbanABQ on Flickr!

I've added a slideshow to the page and a link to the new flickr group for those that use the site. It would be great to see people sign up for the group and post their favorite pics of urban Albuquerque. Cheers!