July 2014

Privilege, Power and Position in the International District


Enrique Cardiel


Very few people think about privilege, power and position in their daily lives. Doing so can be difficult and painful, requiring self-reflection, at the least, and a change of behavior for the most sincere. The dynamics of power play out in all aspects of our lives, including our neighborhoods. I think a lot about how the International District is “represented.” Because of its deep diversity, how do we ensure that its “voice,” or range of voices, gets heard?


We know that one’s social position often determines access to information, decision-makers and resources. An easy approach is for those with privilege More >

Stories of Route 66: The International District – A Creative Placemaking and Community Revitalization Project


ID LIVE! Festival: July 26-27


Valerie Martínez


An exciting new project has been taking an unusual approach to community revitalization. The Stories of Route 66 project has brought Albuquerque residents together in a collaborative process of storytelling, art and design. The project is transforming outdoor spaces along the Route 66/Central Avenue corridor in the International District.


This project was developed as a result of several organizations that were working or wanted to work toward transformational change in New Mexico’s most diverse legislative district, which locals refer to as the “ID.” The organizations—Littleglobe, Story of Place Institute (SoPI), UNM School of Architecture and Planning, More >

Art & Community Change


Valerie Martínez


Sometimes, maybe often, when we think of a “community artist,” we think of someone who inspires our individual creativity—a visual artist, for example, who helps teens express their feelings in a collage, or a writer who helps elders gather their thoughts into a story or memoir. This is important work, often with lasting effects.


We may not, however, always make the connection between art and large social movements; the idea of a collage or story changing the world might seem far-fetched. My work with the New Mexico-based nonprofit Littleglobe is devoted to transformational social change through creative collaboration.


Right More >

Stories of Route 66: The International District

Artist Team and Community Participants



Artist Team Member Reflections


Judith Shaw: “As a painter, it warms my heart to be present when some of our group experience amazement and empowerment as the shapes, forms and colors flow from their hands. Little by little, our group has gone from a room full of strangers to a room full of family. Like any family, sometimes we have disagreements and problems, but with love and compassion for each other we are able to resolve them. As much as our participants have learned from the artist team about making art, we have also learned from them More >

History of Albuquerque’s International District


Tim Keller


Nestled between the Foothills and Nob Hill on Albuquerque’s historic Route 66 is one of New Mexico’s most dynamic and diverse neighborhoods, a two-mile-square section now known as the “International District.” This remarkably diverse community is entering its 21st-century reinvigoration.

I first learned about the people and the history of the International District (ID) by walking—literally—door to door in 2008, when I ran to represent the area in the New Mexico State Senate. This small district in the heart of the Duke City has, perhaps, been more profoundly shaped by global events and U.S. foreign policy in the last More >

The International District: A Portrait


Valerie Martínez


Albuquerque’s present-day International District (a four-square-mile area in the Southeast Heights, bounded by Lomas and Gibson and San Mateo and Wyoming boulevards) is within a larger area once known as the East Mesa (or Grand Mesa). Before it was urbanized, the East Mesa was a grassland, stretching for about eight miles from the edge of the Río Grande to the foothills of the Sandía Mountains. The East Mesa wasn’t best suited for agriculture (as was the river valley), but it was fruitful for grazing sheep and cattle.


After the railroad was established in the 1880s, the city of Albuquerque (also More >

Establishing the “International District”


Nancy Bearce


I moved back to my home state of New Mexico in 1999 after attending college, establishing a career and marriage. My husband and I chose a location close to downtown because it was diverse in all ways—culturally, economically, historically, and, don’t forget, food-wise.


My personal involvement began at a 2002 town hall meeting led by (then) Mayor Martin Chávez. I was active in my neighborhood association. I listened to small business owners complain that it was hard to get customers to come to the area that was maligned by the media and realtors and marginalized by the city. The More >

Refugee and Immigrant Women in the International District: Making Their Way


Nkasi Sinandile


Since the 1970s, Albuquerque’s International District has been a destination for refugees, immigrants and their families, first from Asia and then from Africa, Latin America and other countries around the world. Women and children constitute a significant percentage of these immigrants.


Refugees and immigrants face a wide range of challenges, both upon arrival and in the months and years after they settle in New Mexico. Many arrive with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. The majority do not speak English, and many are illiterate in their native languages. They must work hard to learn a new language quickly, More >

When Did Buildings Become “Green”?


Katherine Mortimer


Northern New Mexico is a green building leader and has actually been so for thousands of years. Ancient Anasazi Indian homes were shaded from the summer sun by building within an overhang of a cliff, under which the low winter sun would then reach, heating up the stone and mud exteriors, thereby storing energy in thermal mass to be released during the cold nights. The temperature of the rear of the dwellings would be kept fairly even due to the thermal properties of the earth of the cliff the homes were built into.

Pueblo Indian descendants of the Anasazi developed More >

Training the Next Generation of Green Builders


Jeff Hood and Devon Ludlow


Picture for a moment a young man, 17 or 18, with a few tattoos, baggy pants and a ball cap to the side. To his left sits a smartly dressed, middle-aged man. The older man checks his watch. Then, the young man’s parents walk in, and they’ve brought appetizers. This is a potluck in honor of the young man and his peers, students at Santa Fe Community College’s YouthBuild program. As they eat, the young man and his peers talk excitedly with parents and teachers about what they’re learning—the latest building techniques, R-values for walls, and More >

50 Shades of Green: Leadership by Example


Two New Mexico Homes with Vision and Commitment to Sustainability


Chris Webster


The world as we know it today has dramatically benefited from advancements and discoveries in the realms of energy, technology and sustainable supplies. The necessity to effectively apply this knowledge and resulting products to the practical world of designing and developing new homes and communities is of paramount importance as these changes become standard operating procedure.


New Mexico has long been recognized for its focused concentration on innovative design, utilization and implementation of energy efficiencies, sustainable materials and environmentally friendly systems utilizing existing resources, all combined in finished products that lead More >

Rainwater: Good Water with Good Uses


Doug Pushard


For millennia, humans used rainwater for a variety of purposes, including drinking, washing and irrigation. Yet these days, rainwater can be highly polluted and not suitable for use. Still, it is one of our purest sources for water, and with the right treatment it has many uses.


When rain falls onto a polluted roadway or roof it becomes contaminated with everything it touches. But before it hits the ground, rainwater is relatively pure. Compared to well water (i.e., groundwater), which is typically very high in minerals, rainwater is cleaner and easier to purify. And unlike the water in lakes and More >

Save Energy, Save Water – What to Do?


Doug Pushard


Life is complex today; there is no doubt. Gone are the days of simple decisions if you are going to live in today’s world in an active way. Even simple-sounding decisions can be daunting—what phone to buy, what foods are good for me, or how much exercise do I really need? Then there are more complex decisions such as, what I should do to live more sustainably? Too many choices, too many conflicting views and too many alternatives can cloud our ability to decide. Many put off making a decision, even though our intentions are very good.

So how do More >

Build Tight and Ventilate Right


Amanda Hatherly


Did you know that the Environmental Protection Agency lists poor indoor air quality as the fourth-largest environmental threat to the United States? And that this poor indoor air often leads to allergies and asthma problems? Asthma is the leading serious chronic illness for children, and there are about 40 million people in the United States who are affected by allergies. In addition, the air we breathe in our houses can cause other health problems.


What’s this got to do with green building? One of the key requirements of any “green” home these days is that it needs to be energy More >

Leaky Ducts: How Much Energy ($) Do They Waste?


Rodney Fox


One of the biggest wastes of energy I encounter when performing energy audits is from leaky ducting. From the data I’ve collected over the years, I find the average is about 10 percent. So, if your building has ductwork that runs either in your attic or crawlspace and it’s leaky, you can use this simple formula to determine how much those leaky ducts cost you during the heating season:


Annual total of 12 utility bills Example

Gas or electric, depending on how you heat your building $2,000

– Average of the three lowest monthly bills x 12 ($50 + $45 + More >

Green-Built Homes Are Affordable Homes


Kim Shanahan


The persistent myth that green-built homes are more expensive than “regular” homes is dispelled every day by builders producing some of the most affordable homes in our state. This article will look at four of the best: two in Santa Fe, one in Albuquerque and one being built all over New Mexico.

The obvious place to start when discussing affordability is Habitat for Humanity. As an organization, it is one of the top five builders in America by volume. But it is a bottom-up organization, with each local chapter determining its own building style and methods of construction. Not surprisingly, More >

Times Are Changing for Sustainably Built Homes


Steve Hale


About two months ago, funding for the New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit ran out. Although the program was to be in effect through 2016, the funding had an annual cap to be shared by single-family, multi-family, manufactured housing and commercial construction interests across the state. The incentives worked great, better at helping the building sector than likely any other credit has helped its targeted area—such as the film industry—at an amazing 10 times the annual amount.

Since 2007, this incentive has transformed the home-building industry to make New Mexico a national leader in sustainably built homes. What is meant More >

OP Ed: It’s Time for New Mexico to Adopt Modern Building Energy Codes


Tammy Fiebelkorn


What year is it? For New Mexico’s building industry, it’s still 2009. That’s the outdated version of the International Energy Conservation Code that New Mexico still follows.

New Mexico skipped right over the 2012 codes without any discussion about updating them.

When consumers buy a new house, they enjoy more comfort and affordability if the house is built to the most current building energy codes,” said Jim Meyers of Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “Homebuyers in New Mexico are missing that opportunity.”

Building code templates are updated every three years, and those templates are made available for jurisdictions to tailor and More >

Sustainable Santa Fe – Monthly Update


The Sustainable Santa Fe Commission’s current efforts are focused on projects that integrate sustainability practices into all city operations and increase awareness and understanding of these practices among city employees. The targeted projects involve improvements in public accountability, updates to the city’s sustainability and climate adaptation plan and the creation of training resources for facility managers. When sustainable practices are integrated throughout all municipal operations, and each department is held accountable for progress, larger-scale improvements can follow, and the city can serve as a model for the private sector.


The following projects are high priorities for the SSF Commission from More >

City and County Launch “Solarize Santa Fe!”


Craig O’Hare


It’s time to “Solarize Santa Fe!” The city and county of Santa Fe have embarked on a cooperative public outreach campaign to promote the benefits of solar power to homeowners and businesses. The “Solarize Santa Fe” initiative has two components: 1) a marketing and advertising campaign to increase public awareness on the cost-effectiveness of solar systems are these days, and 2) public education and free advice to those interested in solar but who have additional questions or concerns before they move forward with installing a system for their property. The Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce and the Santa More >