Ten Planning Lessons from Albuquerque

We have been enjoying an awesome trip to New Mexico. This post about Albuquerque is the first of several that will be written about the state, is residents, and its communities. Paz!

Fountain in Old Town

  • The preservation and protection of the original 1706 city core (Old Town) was a stroke of genius, luck, or both, as Old Town an amazing introduction to the rich cultural landscape, cuisine, and diversity of New Mexico.
  • Being proactive by providing commuter rail (Rail-Runner), bus rapid transit (ART), and a vast bicycle/non-motorized network in a metro of approximately 1 million people is inspiring and exciting to see, especially when a lot of cities don’t have anything close to these transportation options.
  • A major city doesn’t need to have a beltway surrounding it to thrive  – see also Tucson.
  • A major university (University of New Mexico) is a valuable resource that helps maintain the vibrancy of inner cities neighborhoods in its vicinity – Nob Hill in Albuquerque for example.

Historic KIMO Theatre

  • There are many beautiful examples of preserved buildings and historic signs throughout Albuquerque, but there are also too many parking craters and vacant spaces dotting the city.

  • The restoration and conversation of the historic 1936 El Vado Motel into a vibrant development containing boutique lodging, restaurant pods, a taproom, offices, and two new apartment buildings may be the single best example of adaptive reuse and mixed use I have ever seen, particularly in this time of cookie-cutter new urbanism projects across the country.

Pool/courtyard area of the El Vado Motel

  • Like most major cities of the American west, sprawl is an issue that needs to be addressed more fully with increased densities, reinvestment in older parts of the city, and new urbanism techniques.

Homes abutting Petroglyph National Monument

  • It is sad to see acres and acres of new homes constructed literally right up to the edge of portions of Petroglyphs National Monument, in some case where you hike right past backyard walls/fences.
  • Downtown Albuquerque has great bones, but its needs more vibrant third places (outside of just Old Town and West Downtown), increased housing options, and greater private sector investment, particularly along its backbone – Central Avenue (Historic Route 66).
  • Any airport professional who wants to see how to properly design an airport that is welcoming and successfully reflects the historical and cultural roots of its service region must visit Albuquerque International Sunport.
This entry was posted in Active transportation, adaptive reuse, Advocacy, air travel, airport planning, airports, Alternative transportation, architecture, aviation, bicycling, bike sharing, Biking, Bus transportation, cities, civics, colleges, commerce, Cuisine, culture, density, diversity, downtown, economic development, entertainment, fun, geography, hiking, historic preservation, history, Housing, inclusiveness, infrastructure, land use, new urbanism, Passenger rail, placemaking, planning, rail, Railroads, spatial design, sprawl, third places, tourism, transit, transportation, Travel, urban planning, walking, zoning and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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