Galisteo Basin Preserve

Listen to the sounds of the Galisteo Basin Preserve recorded by David Dunn

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Through carefully articulated design standards and development practices, the Galisteo Basin Preserve is designed to promote the principles and practice of "regenerative development"—a conservation development approach that leverages the financial and technical capabilities of the real estate industry to reclaim and renew the ecological and hydrological health of sensitive landscapes such as the Galisteo Basin.

In combination with its community development goals, the Preserve aspires to conserve and restore more than 13,000 acres of open space. Drawing on the professional experience and values of its staff and partners, the Preserve is designed to nurture deep and sustaining connections between land and people.

While acknowledging architecture's capacity for artistry and transformation, the Preserve is a place where the land takes precedence. In this spirit, the design goals and development values of the Trenza village, Southern Crescent, New Moon Overlook, West Basin, the East Preserve, and the Conservation Ranches are informed by the following principles:

  • Love for the Galisteo Basin's precious scenic resources
  • Deference to the Galisteo Basin's rich cultural history
  • Stewardship of the region's animal, plant, soil, and water resources
  • Respect for the complexity and creativity of social organizations

Site Planning

To thoroughly understand the development opportunities and constraints associated with the Preserve’s conservation neighborhoods and the proposed Trenza village, Commonweal Conservancy analyzed the properties' topographic, scenic, viewshed, and cultural resources using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.

All home sites in the Galisteo Basin Preserve have been designed to:

  • Protect views to the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Jemez Mountains, Ortiz Mountains, and the Cerrillos Hills
  • Encourage highly productive solar orientation for warmth and power
  • Enhance the productivity and diversity of native plant and animal habitat
  • Facilitate alluvial water storage
  • Protect natural drainages from erosion
  • Minimize the visibility of new development from public right-of-ways and existing homes
  • Conserve the property's priceless archaeological and historic resources
  • Leverage natural windscreens (e.g. hilltops, ridges, and trees) as a source of protection from high winds
  • Foster connections between people and the land, and between residents and their neighbors

Design Principles

The design guidelines for development in the Galisteo Basin Preserve include the following:

  • Build structures that fit gracefully within the property's hills and valleys
  • Protect public viewsheds from light pollution and rooftop "sky-lining" effects
  • Restore the productivity and ecological diversity of grasslands and riparian corridors
  • Enhance the water-storage capacity of alluvial soils and minimize erosion
  • Utilize the sun, wind, land, and trees to facilitate heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation
  • Maximize the use of locally produced, benign building materials, waste reduction techniques, and green design practices
  • Utilize highly efficient water-conservation, rainwater-catchment, and wastewater-reuse design strategies and technologies

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