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An Evolving Main Street: The Impact of Urban Renewal on Downtown Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1966-1974

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12826

An Evolving Main Street: The Impact of Urban Renewal on Downtown Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1966-1974

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Title: An Evolving Main Street: The Impact of Urban Renewal on Downtown Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1966-1974
Author: Wolberg, Hannah R.
Advisor(s): Ball, Durwood
Committee Member(s): Wilson, Chris
Sandoval-Strausz, Andrew K.
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of History
Subject: Urban Renewal
Las Cruces, New Mexico
LC Subject(s): Urban renewal--New Mexico--Las Cruces--History--20th century
Central business districts--New Mexico--Las Cruces--History--20th century
City planning--New Mexico--Las Cruces--History--20th century
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: This thesis explores how the process of urban renewal affected the City of Las Cruces, its population, and its urban landscape between 1966 and 1974. It tells the story of municipal planning in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a small southwestern city, following the Second World War. This thesis tries to answer the question of why officials favored the application of suburban planning solutions to the downtown. What reasoning lead to the adoption and construction of the ill-fated pedestrian mall in Las Cruces? Finally, this analysis assesses urban renewal’s results and its true costs in Las Cruces, some of which can be measured in public opinion and in loss of regional culture and history to rational planning and its all-too frequent partners, the wrecking ball and bulldozer. City leaders encouraged low-density development through annexations and approval of subdivision and commercial strip construction, to the detriment of an ailing downtown. Las Cruces officials embraced suburban trends and transformed downtown into an outdoor-covered shopping center. With the demolition of hundreds of structures, municipal leaders replaced Main Street’s rich, regional history with expansive parking lots and an unsuccessful pedestrian mall that mimicked enclosed shopping centers.
Graduation Date: May 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12826


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