High Desert

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Selected Projects

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Summary
Results

High Desert community in Albuquerque, New Mexico honors low-impact design practices of water conservation, wildlife habitat restoration, material recycling and cultural endowment. This project changed water-conservation and landscape planting ordinances at city and state levels. Through this master plan, Design Workshop pioneered the firm’s philosophy and comprehensive approach, DW Legacy Design®, which strives to balance environmental sensitivity, community connections, artistic beauty and economic viability with metrics that gauge the success of outcomes. High Desert’s demonstrated success is a model for sustainable master planned communities.

  • Maintains 50% of the site’s original juniper prairie ecotype by minimizing construction disturbance, cutting roads into the hillside instead of mass grading, and using a native plant palette for all public areas, right-of-ways and private areas outside of building envelopes.
  • Uses only 20% of the city’s annual water allowance in landscape areas, saving as much as 28.7 million gallons or $300,000 each year.
  • Increased critical bird-breeding habitat for two endangered species, the Peregrine Falcon and the Gray Vireo, by approximately 7 acres.
  • Increased carbon sequestration on the site by 170,160 tons by restoring twice the volume of vegetation that was displaced by all areas of disturbance.
  • Preserves the equivalent of 15,230 trees a year, by using decomposed-granite mulch instead of a traditional yearly wood chip mulch application. At a ten-year lifespan, the granite mulch can save 100,000 gallons of fuel, and reduce carbon release by an estimated 617,600 tons.

Performance information here.

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