Slow Growth of Albuquerque's Answer to Sprawl Raises Questions

Stan Alcorn checks up on the status of Mesa del Sol, a 12,900-acre public-private project that broke ground outside of Albuquerque in 2006, and was planned to be the largest New Urbanist development in the Southwest.

The university campus, movie studio, and beginnings of Mesa del Sol’s first neighborhood are positive first steps in the ambitious project that was intended to eventually house 100,000 people and "keep [Albuquerque] residents from spilling out into the surrounding desert."

But with empty desert still occupying much of the parcel that is approximately the size of Manhattan, "[t]here are reasons to be skeptical of these small positive steps," says Alcorn. "The housing recovery remains weak, with housing starts in 2012 still lagging those of 2008. News of Mesa del Sol’s new houses has been clouded by the larger finding that the developer, Forest City, has spent much of the last year trying to sell its 3,000 acres."

Full Story: Trying To Solve Albuquerque’s Sprawl By Building A Development The Size Of Manhattan

Comments

Comments

An interesting article!

An interesting article! However it is unfortunately, misleading.

No matter how much Mesa del Sol touts itself as a "New Urbanism" development, it is essentially no different then the other massive housing subdivisions they have been building out in the "desert" for 30 years.

Mesa del Sol is a greenfield development on pretty much untouched mesa, and is located along a narrow, heavily used freeway. little to no effort was made to connect this isolated megaproject to the rest of the city, and a quick website search will reveal how it is, only on the surface, designed well.

It is more likely that the slow growth of Mesa del Sol is a result of successful infill development and inner-city regeneration that Albuquerque is pushing for. Smart growth policies in the inner city, and impact fees have helped turn central ABQ into a happening place, and redirected development away from sprawl, and Mesa del Sol as well.

I think it is just as well, I would rather see Mesa del Sol preserved (what little prestine mesa is left) and see housing growth direct up in the inner city instead.

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