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Thread: Santa Fe, NM

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Santa Fe, NM

    I was up in Santa Fe last weekend for my sister's graduation. Here are some pictures I took.

    First, the area outside the city (near Eldorado) where I stayed with some family friends:





















    I also spent some time downtown, near the cathedral:













































    For Dan :










































































    And finally, a few pictures of the campus of my sister's alma mater, St. John's College, and the surrounding area:













  2. #2
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    Nice pics!

    You know weirdly the architecture, colours, and even foliage really reminded me of Spain or southern France. The yellows and oranges and low trees...

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    A lot more pedestrian activity and greenery than I expected. Must try to plan a trip out west.

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by b3nr View post
    Nice pics!

    You know weirdly the architecture, colours, and even foliage really reminded me of Spain or southern France. The yellows and oranges and low trees...
    There's a reason for the architectural similarity, of course. The foliage is more coincidental.

    Quote Originally posted by jmello View post
    A lot more pedestrian activity and greenery than I expected. Must try to plan a trip out west.
    Santa Fe's very pedestrian-friendly. Bike-friendly too, even though many of the streets downtown are too narrow for separate bike lanes. Note the "Share the Road" sign in one of the pictures.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    More than any other New Mexican town I can think of, Santa Fe has really embraced and continues to build on the original plaza-centered street pattern laid down when the Spanish first arrived. This is partly what makes it so pedestrian-friendly - a Medieval street pattern, essentially, which was dictated in the Laws of the Indies as the standard plan for all settlements in the New World.

    Other places, like Albuquerque and Las Vegas (New Mexico, that is) have plazas, but in these examples, other factors created growth and development that essentially reinvented the place without building on this central feature (which used to be the marketplace, public space, center of government and of religion - all in one convenient, rectangular package...). In Albuquerque, we have a plaza, but it is not really the heart of the city any longer - more a vestige of the past kept alive primarily by tourists. In other towns, the plazas have completely disappeared. In the South Valley (south of Albuquerque) many were erased during the brief Mexican Period as land grabbers built informal/unsanctioned settlements on top of old plaza sites. In the confusion the followed, many became lost. Santa Fe's plaza, though certainly a tourist center, I think serves more as a cultural hub for locals than elsewhere. Of course the "locals" are becoming a new breed these days, with many of the older Hispanic families, whose efforts shaped the "quaint" qualities the rich and famous so value, pushed out of town by rising property values. Gen-tri-fi-ca-tion.

    As usual, a fine collection of pics, Teofilo...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    More than any other New Mexican town I can think of, Santa Fe has really embraced and continues to build on the original plaza-centered street pattern laid down when the Spanish first arrived. This is partly what makes it so pedestrian-friendly - a Medieval street pattern, essentially, which was dictated in the Laws of the Indies as the standard plan for all settlements in the New World.

    Other places, like Albuquerque and Las Vegas (New Mexico, that is) have plazas, but in these examples, other factors created growth and development that essentially reinvented the place without building on this central feature (which used to be the marketplace, public space, center of government and of religion - all in one convenient, rectangular package...). In Albuquerque, we have a plaza, but it is not really the heart of the city any longer - more a vestige of the past kept alive primarily by tourists. In other towns, the plazas have completely disappeared. In the South Valley (south of Albuquerque) many were erased during the brief Mexican Period as land grabbers built informal/unsanctioned settlements on top of old plaza sites. In the confusion the followed, many became lost. Santa Fe's plaza, though certainly a tourist center, I think serves more as a cultural hub for locals than elsewhere. Of course the "locals" are becoming a new breed these days, with many of the older Hispanic families, whose efforts shaped the "quaint" qualities the rich and famous so value, pushed out of town by rising property values. Gen-tri-fi-ca-tion.

    As usual, a fine collection of pics, Teofilo...
    Thanks.

    I'd say one of the main factors in the development difference you mention was the railroad. Both Albuquerque and Las Vegas are divided into older, primarily Hispanic areas based around the plaza and newer, primarily Anglo areas based around the railroad, and in both cases the newer areas have basically overwhelmed the older ones. Santa Fe, however, wasn't on the railroad (even though the railroad in question bore its name), because it was too high up in the mountains, so development even after the influx of Anglos in the wake of the US conquest continued to center on the plaza and basically conform to the Spanish plan. (Later, when technology improved, a spur was built to Santa Fe, but the railroad was never a major feature of the urban landscape there the way it was in other places.)

    It would be interesting to compare the outcomes in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Vegas with what happened in other New Mexico towns originally laid out in the Spanish style, like Socorro and Las Cruces, which were on the railroad, or Taos and Espanola, which weren't. I don't know enough about any of those places to say much, however.

    I do know that there were yet other outcomes for the old plazas, especially in smaller communities like the ones in Valencia County (Los Lunas, Peralta, etc.) where the state, wanting to connect the towns in the easiest way possible, ran Highway 47 right through all the plazas.

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