April 6, 2015

Photos: Urban sprawl and Santolina

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Editor’s Note:

These photos were taken during the reporting of the story on Santolina that ran in New Mexico Political Report on Monday.

Look for a video talking about the Santolina Master Plan from those in support of the plan and those in opposition of the plan on Tuesday.

Rio Rancho’s sprawling Loma Colorado master planned community by Pulte Homes is one of several referred by Santolina representatives as a recent success development story.   Photo by Margaret Wright

Rio Rancho’s sprawling Loma Colorado master planned community by Pulte Homes is one of several referred by Santolina representatives as a recent success development story.
Photo by Margaret Wright

However, infrastructure needs in rapid growth areas like Rio Rancho remain intense, particularly when it comes to flood control. The Rio Rancho Observer’s editorial board wrote in 2013 that the city’s “problems after severe stormy weather aren’t going to go away soon, being that we sit atop a sandy, easily eroded mesa with miles of natural, unimproved arroyos that carry enormous amounts of rushing water bound for the river through populated areas.” Photo by Margaret Wright

However, infrastructure needs in rapid growth areas like Rio Rancho remain intense, particularly when it comes to flood control. The Rio Rancho Observer’s editorial board wrote in 2013 that the city’s “problems after severe stormy weather aren’t going to go away soon, being that we sit atop a sandy, easily eroded mesa with miles of natural, unimproved arroyos that carry enormous amounts of rushing water bound for the river through populated areas.”
Photo by Margaret Wright

Loose sand and construction debris fill empty lots along the westernmost edge of the Loma Colorado development in Rio Rancho. Photo by Margaret Wright

Loose sand and construction debris fill empty lots along the westernmost edge of the Loma Colorado development in Rio Rancho.
Photo by Margaret Wright

The Alegria gated community in Bernalillo for adults ages 55 and older opened three years and is nearly sold out. It’s also ringed by a slew of new commercial activity, mostly national fast food chains, banks, drug stores and a Walmart. Aging baby boomers are an increasingly coveted demographic for residential real estate developers.  Photo by Margaret Wright

The Alegria gated community in Bernalillo for adults ages 55 and older opened three years and is nearly sold out. It’s also ringed by a slew of new commercial activity, mostly national fast food chains, banks, drug stores and a Walmart. Aging baby boomers are an increasingly coveted demographic for residential real estate developers.
Photo by Margaret Wright

The Rio Grande Bosque habitat at Rio Bravo upstream of where the Westland Development Land Holdings meet the river valley is both resilient and highly vulnerable to human interference. On Thursday, April 2, an arson suspect was arrested near here. Photo by Margaret Wright

The Rio Grande Bosque habitat at Rio Bravo upstream of where the Westland Development Land Holdings meet the river valley is both resilient and highly vulnerable to human interference. On Thursday, April 2, an arson suspect was arrested near here.
Photo by Margaret Wright

“Lowland riparian bosques are adapted to disturbance,” writes Lisa Ellis, a biology professor at UNM, in an essay for the New Mexico Natural History Museum’s “Bosque Education Guide.” Photo by Margaret Wright

“Lowland riparian bosques are adapted to disturbance,” writes Lisa Ellis, a biology professor at UNM, in an essay for the New Mexico Natural History Museum’s “Bosque Education Guide.”
Photo by Margaret Wright

Early spring runoff courses through an acequia just north of the planned Santolina development.  Photo by Margaret Wright

Early spring runoff courses through an acequia just north of the planned Santolina development.
Photo by Margaret Wright

Dense new construction has sprung up in a neighborhood immediately adjacent to the northern edge of Western Albuquerque Land Holdings. Albuquerque’s southwest quadrant also has the highest number of homes at risk of being foreclosed upon. Photo by Margaret Wright

Dense new construction has sprung up in a neighborhood immediately adjacent to the northern edge of Western Albuquerque Land Holdings. Albuquerque’s southwest quadrant also has the highest number of homes at risk of being foreclosed upon.
Photo by Margaret Wright

Acres of earth tones characterize a cookie-cutter development in Albuquerque’s Westgate neighborhood. Photo by Margaret Wright

Acres of earth tones characterize a cookie-cutter development in Albuquerque’s Westgate neighborhood.
Photo by Margaret Wright

Row upon row of indistinguishable “townhomes” have gone up in the middle of a ring of still-vacant lots near Westgate Community Park. Photo by Margaret Wright

Row upon row of indistinguishable “townhomes” have gone up in the middle of a ring of still-vacant lots near Westgate Community Park.
Photo by Margaret Wright

Albuquerque’s iconic downtown skyline looks drastic different from certain Westside vantage points marked by new development. Photo by Margaret Wright

Albuquerque’s iconic downtown skyline looks drastic different from certain Westside vantage points marked by new development.
Photo by Margaret Wright