[Introduction – submitted version]


Post World-War II urbanism in the past twenty years has produced problems regarding the development of cities and societies worldwide. In some developing countries such as Vietnam, a fast industrializing process with the construction of many new manufacturing companies in urban areas has caused an alarming increase of heavy traffic flow, hence, accidents[1]. On the other hand, developed countries such as The United States of America are no exception. The first urban issue in America is its increasing dependence on vehicular travel, because sprawl has been demanding more frequent and longer distance commutes[2],[3]. Another concern is urban segregation which has led to highly stratified societies with cultural and economic separation. The disharmonious combination of the slum, commercial center and mixed district – three components to a typical American city – is an example. Finally, the appearance of big box retail being out of place in its surrounding environment causes additional concerns regarding traffic, pedestrians, and citizen comfort.

With that being said, many people are drawn to the American West for a better quality of life, more open space, less congestion and increased recreational opportunities[4]. Specifically, the population of the Southwestern United States has increased by approximately 1,500% over the last 90 years, while the population of the United States as a whole has grown by just 225%[5]. Along with the amazing growth has come an increasing dependence on vehicular travel. Industrialization, mining and the lure of jobs in cities transformed what was once a largely agrarian society in New Mexico into a society increasingly dependent upon the automobile to travel the great distances from the isolated villages to Albuquerque and the mines in central Colorado[6]. The rapid growth of the American southwest region has created several issues for urban societies including whether or not economies based on land development and housing construction can grow indefinitely, and how the benefits and costs of growth are distributed.  Additionally, rapid growth in the urban centers of the Southwest has created suburban sprawl in order to accommodate the increasing number of residents drawn to the area.

Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, is among the southwestern cities experiencing such difficulties with urban development and planning.  Initially a trading outpost, Santa Fe was only accessible by three separate trails that helped define the initial development of the city; namely the El Camino Real, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Old Pecos Trail. The railroad came to Santa Fe in 1880, bringing with it tourists and new residents eager to experience the West.  With the addition of the train, the treacherous journey by horseback, covered wagon or stage coach on the Santa Fe Trail came to an end, and an era of economic and social change began[7].  Today, the flow of the city depends too heavily on a few major corridors, including one named Cerrillos Road.  Lacking efficient public transportation with limited public infrastructure and space for pedestrians on these main roads, the city struggles with a decreased quality of life[8]. One of the most important factors to solving this problem is St. Michael’s Drive as the bridge connecting Cerrillos Road and the Old Pecos Trail mentioned above.

Originally designed in the late 1950s as a 2-lane “bypass highway” connecting Cerrillos Road and Old Pecos Trail, St. Michael’s Drive was widened in the mid-1970s to accommodate the city’s reliance on automobiles and has become one of the city’s most important routes of transportation[9]. St. Michael’s Drive could be the heart of a new, centrally-located district that would be lined with new office, retail and arts-related space accompanied by pedestrian walkways connecting new living areas of higher density, more affordable residential units for rent and ownership, and showcases for local art[10] .  Certain requirements of redevelopment are: preservation of historic character, improvement of the retail framework of the city, encouragement of local-serving housing downtown, and promotion of the unique artistic culture of the city[11]. Planners hope for mixed-use commercial buildings and medium to high density residential buildings alongside traffic calmed roads and aesthetically pleasing green public spaces[12].  Though the City of Santa Fe has defined the problem of urban redesign, there are many variables in implementing a plan that need quantifying. There is currently neither a catalyst nor a clear set of guidelines to encourage development in general and regarding St. Michael’s Drive in particular[13]. Whether it be the design and construction of mixed-use or residential buildings, alterations to parking and recreation space, or the development of a neighborhood access way, quantifying these issues is important to the redevelopment of Santa Fe.

To aid the city in the quantitative process mentioned above, we propose four objectives that will help identify and define solutions to the current redevelopment problems.  First, we will determine the most relevant issues involved in the revitalization of Saint Michaels Drive.  We will accomplish this by surveying locals and collecting the opinions of decision makers within the city.  Secondly, we shall collect all existing, available data concerned with the revitalization project and archive it so that it can be accessed quickly and efficiently. After compiling all existing data pertinent to redevelopment, we will begin to identify what non-existing or unavailable data will be relevant by performing field studies guided by our onsite liaison, Lee Depietro and our sponsor the Santa Fe Complex.  Once we have gathered all data, we will apply that information to determine a feasible design solution.  When we decide upon a particular design solution, it will be necessary to estimate the overall impact of the project, so cost figures as well as population and traffic migrations due to redevelopment must all be weighed against current proposals.

[1] http://www.easts.info/on-line/proceedings_05/1923.pdf

[2] Figures, NPG Facts &. Fast Facts about U.S. Population Growth.

http://www.npg.org/facts/uspopfax.htm (accessed March 18, 2010).

[3] Table 1060. State Motor Vehicle Registrations: 1990 to 2007.

[4] Martin Chourre and Stewart Wright. Population Growth of the Southwest United States, 1900-1990: U.S.

Geological Survey, 2003


[5] Martin Chourre and Stewart Wright. Population Growth of the Southwest United States, 1900-1990: U.S.

Geological Survey, 2003


[6]One Half of the World’s Population, Approximately 3 Billion People on Six Continents, Lives Or Works in

Buildings Constructed of Earth.” New Mexico – Earth Architecture -.

http://www.eartharchitecture.org/index.php?/categories/60-New-Mexico (accessed March 18, 2010).

[7] http://railyardsantafe.com/index.php?page=history

[8] All About Cities. Random thoughts from Santa Fe. 2007 [cited March 18 2010].


[9] The City of Santa Fe Government. St.Micheal’s Boulevards. Accessed 3/18/2010.


[10] The City of Santa Fe Government. Santa Fe Trends 2010. Accessed 3/18/2010


[11] The City of Santa Fe Government. Downtown Vision Plan. Accessed 3/18/2010


[12] The City of Santa Fe Government. Downtown Vision Plan. Accessed 3/18/2010


[13] The City of Santa Fe Government. Downtown Vision Plan. Accessed 3/18/2010



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WPI Urban Planning Team

Santa Fe Term D 2010

WPI Logo

WPI Logo

Team Info: Information about our team and the project

Individual Info Information about our team members and their individual entries archive

Mission Statement

The ultimate goal of this project is to assist the City of Santa Fe in establishing baselines of the current state of Saint Michael’s Drive and providing tools to visualize the future redevelopment of the area.

Project Objectives

To accomplish this goal, four objectives were developed that would lead to the most ideal redevelopment design that meets the set targets and goals. The objectives are:

1. Collect, organize, and integrate Saint Michael’s Drive data.

2. Identify relevant issues and local preferences.

3. Identify measurable indicators to assess current and future designs.

4. Visualize impacts of current and future designs.

Important Pages

1. HowTo: A Quick Guide to our Blog

2. Proposal (submitted to advisor, 3/22/2010)

3. Presentation (final, updated 05/05/2010)

4. Announcement

     • 03/21/2010:

     _ Moving from Blogspot to Wordpress

     • 03/24/2010:

     _ Proposal submitted, 03/22/2010. Online version posted.

     • 05/05/2010:

     _ Final Presentation Uploaded, 05/05/2010. Click here to view.

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