"Crossing Campo Street from downtown Las Cruces into the Mesquite Historic District is like crossing between two urban worlds that are often misunderstood."
"To the west is one of the country’s textbook examples of everything that could go wrong with federally subsidized Urban Renewal, including the obligatory seas of parking, corporate CBD architecture, vacant properties, and a one-way loop that locals derisively refer to as “the race track.” The stunning aerial view from 1974 shows the city after its failed open-heart surgery. Even today, after a heroic struggle to dismantle the virtually abandoned pedestrian mall and reinstitute automobile-access on Main Street, the pain of this flattening experience lingers on. The place is deserted on a beautiful September evening."
"To the east, Mesquite escaped most of the bulldozers and still faces Campo Street with modest but charming one-story adobes. It is the original town site along the Camino Real and was platted in 1849 by New Mexicans from nearby Doña Ana — a truly traditional neighborhood lived in by more than twenty of the original settler families. In contrast to downtown, the streets here are narrow with few parking lots, lined by modest one-room-wide adobe boxes with portales, small shop fronts, and garden walls. Age has given it character — at times picturesque, at times desperate for care. But unlike the city center, Mesquite is alive."
Von Maur goes on to share key insights to resilient urbanism, along with an inspiring photo journal of Mesquite.
Mesquite Neighborhood in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Image credit: Andrew von Maur, Creative Commons ShareAlike Licensing