The town of Ãlamos in the state of Sonora, Mexico, a one-day drive from the Arizona border, is one of the most intact colonial-era cities in northern Mexico. Ãlamos has been declared a National
Historic Monument by the Mexican government and is one of only fourteen towns to be designated as Pueblos Mágicos. Founded by Spaniards who discovered silver deposits nearby, Ãlamos was a
prosperous city from its inception. It is situated in a "dry tropical" valley where both desert flora and tropical plants intermingle. The propitious combination of wealth, climate, and New World
Hispanic town planning principles led to the development of a remarkable architecture and city plan.
Geographers will find much to savor in John Messina's crisp, concise, and skillfully presented townscape portrait of Álamos, Mexico. A polished volume that scholars and those concerned with historic preservation, design, and sustainability will want to have on their shelves.
—Journal of Latin American Geography
Until now, there has never been a book about the architecture and urban form of
Ãlamos. In this much-needed work, John Messina, who teaches architecture and is a practicing architect, provides a well-informed history and interpretive description of the town. He also examines
building materials and construction techniques, as well as issues of building preservation and restoration. At the same time, the author considers what other cities might learn from Ãlamos.
Particularly for cities in the American Southwest that are struggling to reduce sprawl and increase density without compromising their quality of life, Ãlamos offers a range of possible solutions.
Thoroughly illustrated and designed for lay readers and professionals alike, this engaging book captures the essence and the uniqueness of Ãlamos while asking what lessons can be drawn
by architects and planners who are attempting to reshape our own cities and towns into more livable, viable, and peoplefriendly environments.