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Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque (Spanish alβuˈkeɾke; known as Bee'eldííldahsinil in Navajo) is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 518,271 as of July 1, 2007 U.S. census estimates and ranks as the 34th-largest city in the U.S. As of June 2007, the city was the 6th fastest growing in America. With a metropolitan population of 835,120 as of July 1, 2007, Albuquerque is the 60th-largest United States metropolitan area. The Albuquerque MSA population includes the city of Rio Rancho, one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, and a hub for many master-planned communities that are expected to draw future businesses and residents to the area.

Albuquerque is home to the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Kirtland Air Force Base as well as the Sandia National Laboratories and Petroglyph National Monument. The Sandia Mountains run along the eastern side of Albuquerque, and the Rio Grande flows through the city, north to south.

History

Early settlers

The city was founded in 1706 as the Spanish colonial outpost of Ranchos de Alburquerque; present-day Albuquerque retains much of the Spanish cultural and historical heritage.

Albuquerque was a farming community and strategically located military outpost along the Camino Real. The town of Alburquerque was built in the traditional Spanish village pattern: a central plaza surrounded by government buildings, homes, and a church. This central plaza area has been preserved and is open to the public as a museum, cultural area, and center of commerce. It is referred to as "Old Town Albuquerque" or simply "Old Town." "Old Town" was sometimes referred to as "La Placita" ("little plaza" in Spanish).

The village was named by the provincial governor Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes in honour of Don Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, Duke of Alburquerque, viceroy of New Spain from 1653 to 1660. The first "r" in "Alburquerque" was dropped at some point in the 19th century, supposedly by an Anglo-American railroad station-master unable to pronounce the city's name correctly. Some New Mexicans still prefer the spelling Alburquerque; see for example the book by that name by Rudolfo Anaya. In the 1990s, the Central Avenue Trolley Buses were emblazoned with the name Alburquerque (with two "r"s) in honor of the city's historic name.

The Alburquerque family name dates from pre-12th century Iberia (Spain and Portugal) and is habitational in nature (de Alburquerque = from Alburquerque). The Spanish village of Alburquerque is within the Badajoz province of Spain, and located just fifteen miles (24 km) from the Portuguese border. Cork trees dominate the landscape and Alburquerque is a center of the Spanish cork industry. Over the years, this region has been alternately under both Spanish and Portuguese rule. (It is interesting to note that the Portuguese spelling has only one 'r'). Historically, the land around Alburquerque was invaded and settled by the Moors (711 AD) and the Romans (218 BC) before them. Thus, the word Alburquerque may be rooted in the Arabic (Moorish) 'Abu al-Qurq', which means "father of the cork oak", or "land of the cork oak" (the land as father - fatherland). Alternately, it may be Latin (Roman) in origin and from 'albus quercus' or "white oak" (the wood of the cork oak is white after the bark has been removed). The seal of the Spanish village of Alburquerque is a white oak tree, framed by a shield, topped by a crown.

During the Civil War Albuquerque was occupied in February 1862 by Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley, who soon afterwards advanced with his main body into northern New Mexico. During his retreat from Union troops into Texas he made a stand on April 8, 1862 at Albuquerque. A day-long engagement at long range led to few casualties against a detachment of Union soldiers commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby.

When the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad arrived in 1880, it bypassed the Plaza, locating the passenger depot and railyards about 2 miles (3 km) east in what quickly became known as New Albuquerque or New Town. To quell its then rising violent crime rate, gunman Milt Yarberry was appointed the towns first Marshal that same year. New Albuquerque was incorporated as a town in 1885, with Henry N. Jaffa its first mayor, and incorporated as a city in 1891. Old Town remained a separate community until the 1920s when it was absorbed by the City of Albuquerque. Albuquerque High School, the city's first public high school, was established in 1879.

Early 20th century

New Albuquerque quickly became a tidy southwestern town which by 1900 boasted a population of 8,000 inhabitants and all the modern amenities including an electric street railway connecting Old Town, New Town, and the recently established UNM campus on the East Mesa. In 1902 the famous Alvarado Hotel was built adjacent to the new passenger depot and remained a symbol of the city until it was torn down in 1970 to make room for a parking lot. In 2002, the Alvarado Transportation Center was built on the site in a manner resembling the old landmark. The large metro station functions as the downtown headquarters for the city's transit department, and serves as an intermodal hub for local buses, Greyhound buses, Amtrak passenger trains, and the Rail Runner commuter rail line.

New Mexico's dry climate brought many tuberculosis patients to the city in search of a cure during the early 1900s, and several sanitaria sprang up on the West Mesa to serve them. Presbyterian Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital, two of the largest hospitals in the Southwest, had their beginnings during this period. Influential New Deal-era governor Clyde Tingley and famed southwestern architect John Gaw Meem were among those brought to New Mexico by tuberculosis.

Decades of growth

On June of 2007 Albuquerque was listed as the 6th fastest growing city in America by CNN and the US Census Bureau.

The first travelers on Route 66 appeared in Albuquerque in 1926, and before long dozens of motels, restaurants, and gift shops had sprung up along the roadside to serve them. Route 66 originally ran through the city on a north-south alignment along Fourth Street, but in 1937 it was realigned along Central Avenue, a more direct east-west route. The intersection of Fourth and Central downtown was the principal crossroads of the city for decades. The majority of the surviving structures from the Route 66 era are on Central, though there are also some on Fourth. Signs between Bernalillo and Los Lunas along the old route now have brown, historical highway markers denoting it as Pre-1937 Route 66.

The establishment of Kirtland Air Force Base in 1939, Sandia Base in the early 1940s, and Sandia National Laboratories in 1949, would make Albuquerque a key player of the Atomic Age. Meanwhile, the city continued to expand outward onto the West Mesa, reaching a population of 201,189 by 1960. In 1990 it was 384,736 and in 2007 it was 523,590.

Albuquerque's downtown entered the same phase and development (decline, "urban renewal" with continued decline, and gentrification) as nearly every city across the United States. As Albuquerque spread outward, the downtown area fell into a decline. Many historic buildings were razed in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for new plazas, high-rises, and parking lots as part of the city's urban renewal phase. Only recently has downtown come to regain much of its urban character, mainly through the construction of many new loft apartment buildings and the renovation of historic structures like the KiMo Theater, in the gentrification phase.

New millennium

During the 21st century, the Albuquerque population has continued to grow rapidly. The population of the city proper is estimated at 518,271 in 2007, up from 448,607 in the 2000 census. The metropolitan area population is estimated at 835,120 in 2007, up from 729,649 in the 2000 census.

During 2005 and 2006, the city celebrated its tricentennial with a diverse program of cultural events.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, Albuquerque has a total area of 181.3 square miles (469.6 km²). 180.6 square miles (467.8 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²) of it (0.35%) is water. The metro area has over developed.

Albuquerque lies within the northern, upper edges of the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion, based on long-term patterns of climate, associations of plants and wildlife, and landforms, including drainage patterns. Located in central New Mexico, the city also has noticeable influences from the adjacent Colorado Plateau Semi-Desert, Arizona-New Mexico Mountains, and Southwest Plateaus and Plains Steppe ecoregions, depending on where one is located. Its main geographic connection lies with southern New Mexico, while culturally, Albuquerque is a crossroads of most of New Mexico.

Albuquerque has one of the highest elevations of any major city in the United States, though the effects of this are greatly tempered by its southwesterly continental position. The elevation of the city ranges from 4,900 feet (1,490 m) above sea level near the Rio Grande (in the Valley) to over 6,700 feet (1,950 m) in the foothill areas of Sandia Heights and Glenwood Hills. At the airport, the elevation is 5,352 feet (1,631 m) above sea level.

The Rio Grande is classified, like the Nile, as an 'exotic' river because it flows through a desert. The New Mexico portion of the Rio Grande lies within the Rio Grande Rift Valley, bordered by a system of faults, including those that lifted up the adjacent Sandia and Manzano Mountains, while lowering the area where the life-sustaining Rio Grande now flows.

Albuquerque is located at (35.110703, -106.609991).

Climate

Albuquerque's climate is usually sunny and dry, with low relative humidity. Brilliant sunshine defines the region, averaging more than 300 days a year; periods of variably mid and high-level cloudiness temper the sun at other times. Extended cloudiness is rare. The city has four distinct seasons, but the heat and cold are mild compared to the extremes that occur more commonly in other parts of the country.

Winters are rather brief but definite; daytime highs range from the mid 40s to upper 50s Fahrenheit, while the overnight lows drop into the low 20s to near 30 by sunrise; nights are often colder in the valley and uppermost foothills by several degrees, or during cold frontal passages from the Great Basin or Rocky Mountains. The occasional snowfall, associated with low pressure areas, fronts and troughs, often melts by the mid-afternoon; over half of the scant winter moisture occurs in the form of light rain showers, usually brief in duration. In the much higher and colder Sandia Mountains, moisture falls as snow; many years have enough snow to create decent skiing conditions at the local ski area.

Spring time starts off windy and cool, sometimes unsettled with some rain and even light snow, though spring is usually the driest part of the year in Albuquerque. March and April tend to see many days with the wind blowing at , and afternoon gusts can produce periods of blowing sand and dust. In May, the winds tend to subside, as temperatures start to feel like summer.

Summer daytime highs range from the upper 80s to the upper 90's, while dropping into the low 60s to low 70s overnight; the valley and uppermost foothills are often several degrees cooler than that. The heat is quite tolerable because of low humidity, except during the late summer during increased humidity from surges in the monsoonal pattern; at that time, daytime highs drop slightly but the extra moisture in the air can cause nighttime temperatures to increase.

Fall sees mild days and cool nights with less rain, though the weather can be more unsettled closer to winter.

The city was one of several in the region experiencing a severe winter storm leaving between of snow in just over 24 hours on December 30, 2006.

Albuquerque's climate is classified as arid (BWk or BWh, depending on the particular scheme of the Köppen climate classification system one uses), meaning average annual precipitation is less than half of evaporation, and the mean temperature of the coldest month is above freezing (32F). Only the wettest areas of the Sandia foothills are barely semi-arid, where precipitation is more than half of, but still less than, evaporation; such areas are localized and usually lie above in elevation and often in arroyo drainages, signified by a slightly denser, taller growth of evergreen oak - juniper - pinon chaparral and rarely, woodland, often mixed with taller desert grasses. These elevated foothill areas still border arid areas, best described as desert grassland or desert shrub, on their west sides.

Traveling to the west, north and east of Albuquerque, one quickly rises in elevation and leaves the sheltering effect of the valley to enter a noticeably cooler and slightly wetter environment. One such area is still considered part of metro Albuquerque, commonly called the "East Mountain" area; it is covered in savannas or woodlands of low juniper and pinon trees, reminiscent of the lower parts of the southern Rocky Mountains, which do not actually contact Albuquerque proper.

Those mountains and highlands beyond the city create a "rain shadow" effect, due to the drying of descending air movements; the city usually receives very little rain or snow, averaging 8-9 inches (216 mm) of precipitation per year. Valley and west mesa areas, farther from the mountains are drier, averaging 6-8 inches of annual precipitation; the Sandia foothills tend to lift any available moisture, enhancing precipitation to about 10-17 inches annually. Most precipitation occurs during the summer monsoon season (also called a chubasco in Mexico), typically starting in early July and ending in mid-September.

Geology

The Sandia Mountains are the predominant geographic feature visible in Albuquerque. "Sandía" is Spanish for "watermelon", and is popularly believed to be a reference to the brilliant coloration of the mountains at sunset: bright pink (melon meat) and green (melon rind). The pink is due to large exposures of granodiorite cliffs, and the green is due to large swaths of conifer forests. However, Robert Julyan notes in The Place Names of New Mexico, "the most likely explanation is the one believed by the Sandia Pueblo Indians: the Spaniards, when they encountered the Pueblo in 1540, called it Sandia, because they thought the squash growing there were watermelons, and the name Sandia soon was transferred to the mountains east of the pueblo." He also notes that the Sandia Pueblo Indians call the mountain Bien Mur, "big mountain."

The Sandia foothills, on the west side of the mountains, have soils derived from that same rock material with varying sizes of decomposed granite, mixed with areas of clay and caliche (a calcereous clay common in the arid southwestern USA), along with some exposed granite bedrock.

Below the foothills, the area usually called the "Heights" consists of a mix of clay and caliche soils, overlain by a layer of decomposed granite, resulting from long-term outwash of that material from the adjacent mountains. This bajada is quite noticeable when driving into the Albuquerque from the north or south, due to its fairly uniform slope from the mountains' edge downhill to the valley. Sand hills are scattered along the I-25 corridor and directly above the Rio Grande valley, forming the lower end of the Heights.

The Rio Grande valley, due to long-term shifting of the actual river channel, contains layers and areas of soils varying between caliche, clay, loam, and even some sand. It is the only part of Albuquerque where the water table often lies close to the surface, sometimes less than .

The last significant area of Albuquerque geologically is the West Mesa: this is the elevated land west of the Rio Grande, including the sandy terrace immediately west and above the river, and the rather sharply defined volcanic escarpment above and west of most of the developed city. The west mesa commonly has soils often referred to as "blow sand", along with occasional clay and caliche and even basalt, nearing the escarpment.

Cityscape

Albuquerque has expanded greatly in area since the mid 1940s. During those years of expansion, the planning of the newer areas has considered that people drive rather than walk. The pre-1940s parts of Albuquerque are quite different in style and scale from the post 1940s areas. These older areas include the North Valley, the South Valley, various neighborhoods near downtown, and Corrales. The newer areas generally feature 4 to 6 lane roads in a 1 mile (1.61 km) grid. Each 1 square mile (2.59 km²) is divided into four neighborhoods by smaller roads set 0.5 miles (0.8 km) between major roads. When driving along major roads in the newer sections of Albuquerque, one sees strip malls, signs, and cinderblock walls. The upside of this planning style is that neighborhoods are shielded from the worst of the noise and lights on the major roads. The downside is that it is virtually impossible to go anywhere from home without driving.

Albuquerque is geographically divided into four quadrants which are officially part of the mailing address. They are NE (northeast), NW (northwest), SE (southeast), and SW (southwest). The north-south dividing line is Central Avenue (the path that Route 66 took through the city) and the east-west dividing line is the BNSF Railway tracks.

Northeast Quadrant

This quadrant has been experiencing a housing expansion since the late 1950s. It abuts the base of the Sandia Mountains and contains portions of the Sandia Heights neighborhoods, which are situated in or near the foothills and are significantly higher, in elevation and price range, than the rest of the city. Running from Central Ave. and the railroad tracks to the Sandia Peak Aerial Tram, this is the largest quadrant both geographically and by population. The University of New Mexico, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the Uptown area which includes both Coronado and Winrock malls, Journal Center (with over 2 million square feet (180,000 m²) of office space), Balloon Fiesta Park, and Albuquerque Academy are all located in this quadrant. Some of the most affluent regions of the city are located here, including Las Lomas-Roma, Netherwood Park, Academy Hills, Tanoan West & East, High Desert, Glenwood Hills, Sandia Heights, North Albuquerque Acres, and Tierra Monte. (Sandia Heights, Tierra Monte, and some of North Albuquerque Acres are outside the city limits proper.) A few houses in the farthest reach of this quadrant lie in the Cibola National Forest, just over the line into Sandoval County.

Northwest Quadrant

This quadrant contains historic Old Town Albuquerque, which dates back to the 1700s, as well as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The area has a mixture of commercial, low-income, middle-income, and some of the most expensive homes in the city. Northwest Albuquerque includes the largest section of downtown, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park and the Bosque ("woodlands" Cottonwood forest), the Petroglyph National Monument, Double Eagle II Airport, the historic Martineztown neighborhood, the Paradise Hills Area, and the Cottonwood Mall. Additionally, the "North Valley" area, which includes some small ranches and expensive residential homes along the Rio Grande, is located in this quadrant. The City of Albuquerque engulfs the village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque and borders Corrales in the northwest valley. The rapidly-developing area on the west side of the river is known as the "west side" and consists primarily of traditional residential subdivisions. Here the city proper is bordered on the north by the City of Rio Rancho.

Southeast Quadrant

Eclipse Aviation, Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, the Central New Mexico Community College main campus, the Albuquerque International Sunport, University Stadium, Isotopes Park, and University Arena ("The Pit") are located in the Southeast (SE) quadrant.

The Nob Hill and East Downtown (EDo) neighborhoods lie along Central Avenue, the border between the Southeast and Northeast quadrants. The expensive residential developments of Four Hills, Willow Wood, and Ridgecrest are also located in this quadrant. In sharp contrast to these upscale developments, however, some of the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods in the city are also located in Southeast Albuquerque. During the past twenty years, the SE area, mainly around Gibson Blvd. and Central Ave., has become the highest crime area in the city. However, recent developments in the neighborhood such as the Cesar Chavez Community Center, Veterans Memorial, and the renovated Talin Market have shown that this area is in the beginning stages of reestablishing itself as one of many cultural centers in the city.

Southwest Quadrant

Traditionally consisting of agricultural and rural areas, the Southwest quadrant is often referred to as the "South Valley". Although the city limits of Albuquerque do not include all of the area, the South Valley is considered to extend all the way to the Isleta Indian Reservation. This includes the old communities of Atrisco, Los Padillas, Kinney, Mountainview, and Pajarito. The south end of downtown Albuquerque and the Bosque ("woodlands" cottonwood forest), the historic Barelas neighborhood, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Rio Grande Zoo (which is part of the City's Albuquerque Biological Park system), and Tingley Beach are also located here.

The southwest area is currently undergoing rapid and controversial development, including large retail stores and quickly-built subdivisions.

City Government and Politics

Albuquerque City Council:
Mayor Martin J. Chávez
District 1 Kenith Sánchez (D)
District 2 Debbie O' Malley (D)
District 3 Isaac Benton (D)
District 4 Bradley Winter (R)
District 5 Michael J. Cadigan (D)
District 6 Rey Garduño (D)
District 7 Sally Mayer (R)
District 8 Trudy Jones (R)
District 9 Don Harris (R)

The city of Albuquerque is served by an elected four-year term mayor and a nine-member city council. The Albuquerque City Council is the legislative authority of the city, and has the power to adopt all ordinances, resolutions, or other legislation. The council members are elected from the nine council districts on four-year terms, with four or five districted Councilors elected every two years. One of the council members is elected by the members of the council to be the Council President, another is elected by the council to be the Vice-President.

The mayor can approve or veto any decision made by the council. However, the council can override the mayor's veto with a six out of nine member vote. Each year, the mayor submits his or her city budget proposal for the year to the council on April 1, and the council spends the next 60 days discussing the budget before voting on the final budget in late May.

Economy

Albuquerque lies at the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, a concentration of high-tech private companies and government institutions along the Rio Grande. Larger institutions whose employees contribute to the population are numerous and include Sandia National Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base, and the attendant contracting companies which bring highly educated workers to a somewhat isolated region. Intel operates a large semiconductor factory or "fab" just outside the city boundaries of suburban Rio Rancho, in neighboring Sandoval County, with its attendant large capital investment. Northrop Grumman is located along I-25 in northeast Albuquerque, and TempurPedic is located on the West Mesa next to I-40.

The solar energy and architectural-design innovator Steve Baer located his company, Zomeworks, to the region in the late 1960s; and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory cooperate here in an enterprise that began with the Manhattan Project. In January 2007, Tempur-Pedic opened an mattress factory in northwest Albuquerque. SCHOTT Solar, Inc., announced in January 2008 they will open a facility manufacturing receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants (CSP) and 64MW of photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Forbes Magazine rated Albuquerque the best city in America for business and careers in 2006, and the 13th best for jobs in 2008.

Urban trends and issues

Government leaders and many citizens in the city have actively pursued urban projects taken on by cities many times larger. This has resulted in the somewhat successful revitalization of downtown, creating restaurants, offices, and residential lofts. The strip of Central Avenue between First and Eighth streets has become a hub of urban life. Alvarado provides convenient access to other parts of the city via ABQ RIDE the city bus system. The city wants to provide better public transportation opportunities to ease the city's growing traffic woes. A street car is being considered and would initially extend up the Central Avenue corridor from the westside, through downtown, past UNM and the Nob Hill district, and into the Uptown Area.

Many citizens fear Albuquerque may be growing beyond its means. A majority of residents want to avoid increasing crime and traffic, worsening air quality, stressing water supplies, and encroaching on the natural environment. Many feel these are the negative consequenses of persistent sprawl development patterns.

On March 23, 2007, the city's mayor Martin Chavez announced his plan to brand the city "the Q". Despite various opinions as to what the city's nickname should be, Mayor Chavez is continuing to push his initiative.

Soy de Burque, "I am from Burque", is one response to the mayor's vision of a "hip" reincarnation". This group of Albuquerque’s residents feels it is unnecessary to spend taxpayer money to hire marketing companies to brand their city with a more palatable nickname, recognizing the city already has a brand and nickname. This selling of a city’s cultural identity to marketing and advertising firms to brand and sell has been dubbed by Soy de Burque as culture branding. One central issue to their response is the branding campaign was never voted on, but rather declared by Mayor Chavez, and outsourced to marketing and advertising firms. The passage of the Planned Growth Strategy in 2002-2004 marked the community's strongest effort to create a framework for a more balanced and sustainable approach to urban growth.

"A critical finding of the study is that many of the 'disconnects' between the public's preferences and what actually is taking place are caused by weak or non-existent implementation tools - rather than by inadequate policies, as contained in the City/County Comprehensive Plan and other already adopted legislation."

Urban sprawl is limited on three sides by the Pueblo of Sandia to the north, the Pueblo of Isleta and Kirtland Air Force Base to the south, and the Sandia Mountains to the east. Suburban growth continues at a strong pace to the west beyond the Petroglyph National Monument, once thought to be a natural boundary to sprawl development.

Because of cheaper land and lower taxes, much of the growth in the metropolitan area is taking place outside of the City of Albuquerque itself. In Rio Rancho to the northwest, the communities east of the mountains, and the incorporated parts of Valencia County, population growth rates approach twice that of the city. The primary cities in Valencia County are Los Lunas and Belen, both of which are home to growing industrial complexes and new residential subdivisions. The Mid Region Council of Governments (MRCOG), which includes constituents from throughout the Albuquerque area, was formed to insure that these governments along the middle Rio Grande would be able to meet the needs of their rapidly rising populations. MRCOG's cornerstone project is the New Mexico Rail Runner Express.

Architecture

10 Tallest Buildings in Albuquerque
Name Height Floors
Bank of Albuquerque Tower 22
Hyatt Regency Albuquerque 21
Compass Bank Building 18
Albuquerque Petroleum Building 15
Bank of the West Tower 17
Gold Building 14
Dennis Chavez Federal Building 13
PNM Building 12
Simms Building 13
Pete V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse 7

John Gaw Meem, credited with developing and popularizing the Pueblo Revival style, was based in Santa Fe but received an important Albuquerque commission in 1933 as the architect of the University of New Mexico. He retained this commission for the next quarter-century and developed the University's distinctive Southwest style.

Due to the nature of the soil in the Rio Grande Valley, the skyline is lower than might be expected in a city of commensurate size elsewhere.

Albuquerque boasts a unique nighttime cityscape. Many building exteriors are illuminated in vibrant colors. The Wells Fargo Building is illuminated green. The DoubleTree Hotel and the Compass Bank building are illuminated blue. The rotunda of the county courthouse is illuminated yellow, while the tops of the Bank of Albuquerque and the Bank of the West are illuminated reddish-yellow.

Culture

Tourism and recreation

Albuquerque contains a variety of museums, shops and other points of interest. Some of these include the Albuquerque Biological Park and Old Town Albuquerque.

The city hosts the annual New Mexico State Fair for 17 days in September at Expo New Mexico, formerly the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.

Albuquerque also has the largest hot air balloon gathering in the world. It is called the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and it is held during early October. It was started in 1972 with 13 balloons. It progressed and in 2000 there were a record 1000 balloons that attended and lifted off in a mass ascension. Since 2000 the officials keep it to no more than 700 registered balloons for safety, and it is the most photographed event in the world.

Old town contains numerous shops and restaurants as well as a ghost tour performed by the Southwest Ghosthunters Association.

The city is also home to the annual Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow, an international event featuring over 3,000 indigenous Native American dancers and singers representing more than 500 tribes from Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Dancers and singers participate socially and competitively at the event, held in April.

The Sandia Mountains to the East offer interesting and varied rock climbing. Climbs from one to 10 pitches can be found at all ability levels.

The Sandia Peak Tramway, located adjacent to Albuquerque is the world's longest passenger aerial tramway. It also has the world's third longest single span. It stretches from the Northeast edge of the city to the crestline of the Sandia Mountains.

Albuquerque also annually hosts Bubonicon which is among the largest Science Fiction conventions in the South West.

Sports

Club Sport League Venue Capacity
Albuquerque Isotopes Baseball AAA PCL Isotopes Park 12,050
Albuquerque Thunderbirds Basketball NBA D-League Tingley Coliseum 11,200
New Mexico Scorpions AA Minor League Ice Hockey CHL Santa Ana Star Center 8,000
New Mexico Wildcats Indoor football AIFA Santa Ana Star Center 7,500
University of New Mexico Lobos NCAA Division I Football Mountain West Conference University Stadium 41,000
University of New Mexico Lobos NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Mountain West Conference University Arena(also known as The Pit) 18,018

Media

Albuquerque is a media hub for much of New Mexico. The city is served by one major newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque is also home to several radio and television stations that serve the metropolitan area.

Notable natives and residents

For a list of notable people see: List of famous people from Albuquerque

Demographics

Census 2000 data

As of the census of 2000, there were 448,607 people, 183,236 households, and 112,690 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,483.4 people per square mile (958.9/km²). There were 198,465 housing units at an average density of 1,098.7/sq mi (424.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.59% White, 3.09% Black or African American, 3.89% Native American, 2.24% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 14.78% from other races, and 4.31% Multiracial (from two or more races). 39.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 183,236 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,272, and the median income for a family was $46,979. Males had a median income of $34,208 versus $26,397 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,884. About 10.0% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.

2007 estimates

Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area's July 1, 2007 populations were estimated at 518,271 and 835,120 respectively by the United States Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program.

Educational institutions

The city is home to University of New Mexico, one of the two large state universities in New Mexico. UNM includes a School of Medicine which was ranked in the top 50 primary care-oriented medical schools in the country . Albuquerque is also home to the National American University, Trinity Southwest University, and the University of St. Francis College of Nursing and Allied Health Department of Physician Assistant Studies. The Central New Mexico Community College serves most of the area, as do several technical schools including ITT Technical Institute and the University of Phoenix. Furthermore, The Art Center Design College offers bachelor's degrees in Graphic and Interior Design, animation, illustration, Photography as well as several other disciplines. Albuquerque Public Schools, one of the largest school districts in the nation, provides educational services to over 87,000 children across the city.

Transportation

Highways

Roads

Many of the roads have undergone recent rehabilitation projects. Numerous intersections of the city have been outfitted with red-light cameras to issue fines for running red-lights as well as speeding.

Mass transit

ABQ RIDE is the local transit agency in Albuquerque. ABQ RIDE operates a variety of city bus routes, including the Rapid Ride BRT service.

Rail

Amtrak's Southwest Chief, which travels between Chicago and Los Angeles, serves the Albuquerque area with a stop at the Alvarado Transportation Center in downtown.

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter rail line began serving the Albuquerque region in July 2006 using an existing BNSF Railway. Currently, stops are open serving Sandoval, Bernalillo, and Valencia Counties, with the line running south to Belen and north to Bernalillo. A major expansion to Santa Fe is currently under construction, and is estimated to be complete and in service by the end of 2008.

Airports

Albuquerque is served by two airports, the larger of which is Albuquerque International Sunport. It is located 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the central business district (CBD) of Albuquerque.

Double Eagle II Airport is the other airport. It is primarily used as an Air ambulance, corporate flight, military flight, training flight, charter flight, and private flight facility.

Sister cities

Albuquerque has nine sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):

Cultural influence

Albuquerque was also mentioned in That's So Raven where she has a vision that Eddy is running away to Albuquerque.

Albuquerque was also name dropped on an episode of Hannah Montana

Parts of the TV Series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles are filmed in Albuquerque.

The 1976 movie Track Of The Moonbeast was filmed in Albuquerque(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075343/). Early in the movie you can see the old (west) entrance into the St. Joseph Healthcare hospital. St. Joe's is now called Lovelace Medical Center

In Lost episode "Every Man For Himself", Sawyer learns in flashbacks that he has a daughter living in Albuquerque. In the 4th episode of the 4th season of Lost ("Eggtown"), Jin suggests Albuquerque to Sun as a place to live after they get off the island. He points to a map of Albuquerque and she responds that it is "Too hot".

References

External links

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