Our work at Ohkay Owingeh has been recognized by a number of wonderful organizations. It is particularly gratifying to have the planning process recognized by HUD and the American Planning Association. We are delighted that our journey with the entire tribal community has resulted in a beautiful place that connects with their deep past and also provides for contemporary life; however, it is the planning process that helped Ohkay Owingeh to establish the Pueblo’s internal vision and philosophy of preservation.

We congratulate the other award winners and look forward to the conference in Chicago!

You can read the full APA press release below.

North Side of Plaza, Looking East, San Juan Pueblo circa 1912, The Carlos Vierra Collection of New Mexican Architecture, Vol. 3, John Gaw Meem Collection of Non-Job Specific Photos, PICT 000-675 NJS, Center for Sothwestern Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Interior Ohkay-Owingeh, Kate Russell Photography, 2012

For Immediate Release:
January 09, 2013
Contact: Roberta Rewers, APA, 312.786.6395; rrewers@planning.org

Owe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Plan Receives National Planning Award

WASHINGTON DC – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the American Planning Association (APA) have recognized the Owe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Plan in Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico – previously known as San Juan Pueblo – as one of two recipients of the 2013 HUD Secretary’s Opportunity and Empowerment Award. Ohkay Owingeh is the first Pueblo tribe to develop a comprehensive preservation plan that guides practical housing improvements according to cultural values.

The HUD Secretary’s Award, presented jointly by HUD and APA, recognizes a plan, program, or project that has been in effect for at least three years and improves the quality of life for low- and moderate-income community residents. Emphasis is placed on how creative housing, economic development, and private investments have been used in or with a comprehensive community development plan to empower a community.

“From an outsider’s point of view, this project was brilliantly conceived, and illustrates an uncommon level of sensitivity and intelligence,” said Robert Gauthier of the National American Indian Housing Council.

Ann C. Bagley, FAICP, the 2013 APA Awards Jury chair said that the project reclaims and reintroduces time-tested living in a manner that supports and integrates housing as a part of the culture.

The Owe’neh Bupingeh Rehabilitation Project is a multi-year, affordable housing, rehabilitation project within the historic core at Ohkay Owingeh, a Pueblo established on the east bank of the Rio Grande centuries ago. Owe’neh Bupingeh, the traditional name of the tribe’s village center, is believed to have been occupied for more than 700 years. It is comprised of four plazas and was once surrounded by several hundred homes but only 60 remain, most of which had been abandoned by 2005 due to deterioration.

The Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority (OOHA), the Ohkay Owingeh Cultural Advisory Team, and Atkin Olshin Schade Architects (AOS) worked in partnership to develop a comprehensive plan for the preservation and restoration of the historic village. The Owe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Project’s planning was funded through traditional preservation sources while its implementation was funded through various HUD programs.

Project goals, priorities, and preservation philosophies were developed through extensive discussions with the Tribal Council, cultural leaders, and residents of the plaza area. Elders contributed oral histories of their lives on the plaza and more than 400 historic photos were located and reviewed by the tribe to identify an authentic architectural vocabulary.

The first two phases of the plan, completed in March 2012, involved the rehabilitation of 20 homes and infrastructure for the full plaza area. The contractor, a native and women-owned enterprise, hired and trained half of her crew from Ohkay Owingeh which reintroduced earthen construction skills to the tribe and served tribal employment and economic development goals. In the third phase, which began in April 2012, the tribe has been especially committed in increasing the sustainability of the project by adopting the Enterprise Green Communities guidelines.

The project has been successful with providing families quality affordable housing that is culturally appropriate and has energized tribal discussions of larger cultural preservation issues. The plan has also been heralded as a model planning effort for Native American communities in historic settings.

The replicable process includes:

  • Careful documentation of physical conditions;
  • Examination of historical development; and
  • Community-driven discussions about what aspects of the physical past are to be retained and returned, and how contemporary housing needs should be met with respect to the ceremonial centers.

The 2013 HUD Secretary’s Opportunity and Empowerment Award will be presented at a special awards luncheon held during APA’s National Planning Conference in Chicago on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. In a rare move, this year’s awards jury selected two HUD Secretary’s Award recipients. In addition to the Owe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Plan, the Laney Walker/Bethlehem Revitalization Initiative in Augusta, Georgia, is also being recognized.

To view all of the APA 2013 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit http://www.planning.org/awards/2013. APA’s national awards program, the profession’s highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people’s lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill. For more information, visit http://www.planning.org.

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