One of the most amazing things about living in a small town in the Southwest is the amount of land still undeveloped. Coming from the densely populated New York suburbs, where towns bump right against one another, having land still in its natural state in between stores like Kohl’s and Lowe’s in unfathomable.

There are many of these plots of land in Las Cruces. Creosote bushes between banks. Sand between sandwich shops. Tumbleweeds between townhouses. (Ok, just kidding, there aren’t sandwich shopS.)

At first, this imagery as I drove through town was like misfiring neurons in my brain. Why were these lonely pieces of land left out of the development pie? What does this town need that should be built here. When would they be built?

And one that gives me the most pause: What would this town look like in 20 years from now?

The excitement of what is to come is also tempered by a sadness of the deterioration of the natural beauty of the desert. Today, roads are paved to the desert’s edge and abruptly stop, as if to say, “That’s enough for now, folks.” But one day they will continue and the desert will be consumed by people.


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