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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Mexico: Architecture 2: Alamogordo: Desert Palms

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico


Whatever you call them - trailer parks, mobile home communities, tornado magnets - they have a legitimate niche in the housing food chain.

My biggest gripe with trailer parks is that most are designed for efficient packing and not human living. The trailers are lined up like horizontal dominoes, with narrow streets, and barely any (or scrubby) landscaping. By design, they are like storage units for people.  There's no ... dignity, no appreciation for beauty or how the residents might interact. 

The Desert Palms Mobile Estates is an exception to all of the above.

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico


The community - and it's clear right away that this is a community - is set back from First Street, with an attractive xeriscape park between the boulevard and the first mobile homes.

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico


There are three wide boulevards that take you through the community. These are real streets, not stingy, trailer-park alleys. They invite strolling.

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico


Not all, but most of the trailer homes are arranged around cul-de-sacs, creating mini-neighborhoods.

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico


Pony walls accentuate the feeling of micro-neighborhoods in many of the cul-de-sac arrangements.

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico



Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico


Pleasing common areas also support the community feel.

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico


Here's a drawing of the trailer arrangement in one part of the community:

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico


A couple of mobile homes are for sale. This isn't any high-falutin' place. For example, the two trailers for sale were built in the 1980s and 1970s.


Below is the trailer described in the above flyer:

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico

Here's the other mobile home for sale (on the left):

Desert Palms Mobile Estates, First Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico


Another thing I like about Desert Palms is that the people here get the idea about shade. Most of the trailers have covered side decks. It must be so pleasant to sit outside to catch the desert breezes.

While I was walking through the community with my camera (a suspicious activity, certainly), a woman asked if I needed any help. (A good sign for residents to take an active interest in who's hanging about.) Through her, I learned that residents aren't allowed to rent out their homes here, that the pad rent is currently $245 for a single-wide and $280 for a double-wide, and that the rates will go up about $10 per month soon. Water and trash pick-up included in the rates. The community is for seniors only; I don't know how seniors are defined.

Buying a home for $23k with a $250 monthly fee. Not bad, not bad at all. I'd think this would be a sound down-sizing option for many people. The woman also told me that the two bus systems in town - one for seniors and one for the general community is very low price (or she thought even free for one of them).

But I'm sidetracked for a moment. My main point with this post is that mobile home parks can be places of beauty, that promote a sense of well-being and community.


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