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High Desert

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High Desert Home Photo © Aileen O'Catherine

Where It Is:

The High Desert community of Albuquerque is east of Tramway Boulevard, nestled against the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque's far northeast heights. It is bordered roughly by the Arroyo del Oso to its south and the Elena Gallegos open space to its north.

Getting There:

There are two entryways into the High Desert community. Take Tramway to Spain and go east on Spain toward the mountains. The other entry off Tramway is at Academy. The Academy Commuter, Route 93 on the city's bus system, begins at Spain and Tramway. The southbound line travels through Albuquerque's northeast heights and ends at the Alvarado Transportation Center at First and Central, downtown. It connects to other bus lines along the route.

Real Estate:

High Desert features custom homes on large lots, gated communities and apartment homes. Each village in High Desert has a unique architectural style. The custom homes range in price from the mid 200s to more than a million dollars. Villages and compounds feature unique elements, such as The Legends, which has stacked stone both inside and outside its home, or the Chaco Compound, which features sidewalks in the front and garage entry from the back of the home.

Overview:

High Desert is a planned community built around a vision of preservation and sustainability. The natural land around each home is preserved and left undisturbed. At 6,160 feet above sea level, the area is 1000 feet above the Rio Grande. Natural vegetation includes sagebrush and native flowers, with water conservation as a key component to the community's philosophy. Buildings are structured to fit into the environment.

Essentials:

With the Sandias as backdrop, the High Desert community fits into the natural landscape because it was carefully planned to do so. It features xeriscaping, or low water use, by using native plants. Its numerous hiking and biking trails promote an active lifestyle. There are more than a dozen villages in High Desert, each with an individual architectural style.

Organizations:

High Desert has its own residential owners association. There are 24 villages that make up the community, with each village having a voting member and alternate making decisions that effect the community.

Schools:

High Desert homes feed into Albuquerque Public Schools' Georgia O'Keefe Elementary School, Eisenhower Middle School and Eldorado High School.

Parks and Gardens:

High Desert Park is a 10-acre park maintained by the city of Albuquerque and is just east of Tramway off Academy. The park contains playground equipment and walking trails.
There are also several parks maintained by High Desert. Lauda Miles Medara Memorial Park is a nine acre park centered around a storm water collection pond along the Pino Arroyo.
A water kiva and water harvesting garden is located at the corner of Spain and Imperata. The kiva provides the community with a space to view the process of water harvesting.
There are also smaller parks located throughout the community in individual communities.

High Desert:

High Desert is a planned community. Like Mesa del Sol to the south, it was envisioned with a particular plan in mind. High Desert was built with the idea that development should take place within its natural context. It has restrictive covenants that prescribe design and building standards to ensure it remains a sustainable community. The community's commitment to maintaining a natural balance is evidenced at both entries, which feature gamma grass sculptures. Gamma grass can be found in the natural landscape, along with desert sage, pinon and other native plants.

With water dwindling in the southwest, the developers of High Desert implemented water harvesting techniques that help maintain a lasting supply of water. Conservation can also be found in the way buildings are oriented, and in creating structures with proper thermal mass.

The High Desert community has also committed to preserving its open space. The arroyos are maintained in near-natural conditions. Building lots are left undisturbed beyond the buildings themselves. And lighting standards keep light pollution at a minimum, allowing for views of the stars as well as night views of the city below.

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