Trinity University Press

The Plazas of New Mexico

Stefanos Polyzoides (editor), Chris Wilson (editor), Miguel Gandert (photographs)

The definitive, richly illustrated, investigation of New Mexico’s Hispanic plazas, Native American center places, and Anglo courthouse squares

Published in partnership with Foundation for Landscape Studies

The Plazas of New Mexico documents the rich heritage of New Mexico’s public plazas and the everyday life and community celebrations that help sustain them. It traces three distinct design traditions—the Native American center place with kiva and terraced residential blocks, the Hispanic plaza with church and courtyard houses, and the Anglo square with courthouse and business areas.

New Mexico’s plazas, like urban spaces everywhere, are gaining renewed attention at a time when the challenges of sustainability have sparked the New Urbanism and Smart Growth movements, urban revitalization, and intensified interest in historic preservation. This book brings to life three valuable urban design traditions while profiling recent plaza renovation projects and newly designed community plazas.

The Plazas of New Mexico is about the past but for the future. Plaza site plans, elevation drawings, bird’s-eye views, concise community histories, vivid historic photos, and compelling documentary photographs bring to life the history, physical setting, and social life of twenty-two communities. Contributors include a distinguished array of historians, architects, and preservationists, an anthropologist, a geographer, and a planner.

The book is valuable for community leaders, politicians, designers, planners, and developers facing similar issues elsewhere in the country and the world. But even where the climate or mixture of cultures is significantly different, The Plazas of New Mexico provides a model for other studies of urban design tradition and practice. The result is a landmark study of these historic plazas and their 1,000-year history.


  • Meghan Bayer
  • Chris Calott
  • Mark Childs
  • Stefanos Polyzoides
  • Sylvia Rodríguez
  • Rina Swentzell
  • Don J. Usner
  • Chris Wilson


  • Winner of Border Regional Library Association 2012 Southwest Book Award
  • Winner of the Historical Society of New Mexico Gaspar Perez de Villagra Prize


“Meant as a both record of how New Mexican cities developed and as a resource for city planners and architects, The Plazas of New Mexico describes plazas as holders of sacred spaces in the collective memory.”

Santa Fe Reporter

“Digs deep into that past to unearth a proud tradition for the future.”

Albuquerque Journal North

The Plazas of New Mexico cover
  • Price: $45.00 buy »
  • Pages: 352
  • Size: 11 x 10
  • Published: Sep 2011
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595340832
  • Illustrations: 58
  • Color photos: 25
  • B&W photos: 200
  • Maps: 216


Architecture, Urban Studies, History, U.S. Southwest, Regional