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ABQ+UNM CityLab Collaboration

March 7, 2013

Albuquerque Mayor Berry at CityLab openingGeraldine Forbes Isais came to UNM in 2005 to serve as director of the architecture program in the School of Architecture and Planning. In July of 2010, she was selected to serve as the school's first female dean. Despite the fact that the school, like the rest of the university and beyond, was suffering financial hardships from the economic downturn, Forbes Isais was proactive in moving the school ahead. The recent creation of the CityLab in downtown Albuquerque addresses a concern that she, and many others have had, regarding the relationship between the university and the city. "How desperately we need to break down the walls of the university. UNM is an integral part of the community and we need to make those edges more permeable," she said.

Students currently taking a studio course at CityLab are looking at Rt. 66 using a study on walkable blocks – an assessment of what is a comfortable walking distance, and adapting that to Albuquerque.

Student work on display at CityLab downtown Albuquerque

Associate Dean Michaele Pride said that the school, the city and other community partners have applied for a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. "It's an Our Town grant, and should we get it, it would used to promote art and community engagement to develop and enhance public spaces along Rt. 66," she said, adding that Bernalillo County is also interested in developing a partnership like CityLab.

Forbes Isais added, "CityLab is not to function in isolation. It is to be a catalyst for activity in the city that will further both urban and economic development." Read the full articel at UNM Today.