Author:: T. J. Ferguson. Adapted from: Ferguson, T.J., 1996. Historic Zuni Architecture and Society: An Archaeological Application of Space Syntax. Anthropological Papers, No. 60. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, p. 25-40.
The Contemporary Period
With the dramatic increase in population in the twentieth century, it is remarkable that today the Zuni remain in a single large town rather than reoccupy multiple villages. There is a slight but increasing trend for people to move to the farming village of Pescado, where electricity, running water, and paved roads provide the modern amenities desired by most Zuni. By and large, however, the occupation of the farming villages is now restricted to day-use, a pattern facilitated by the availability of pickup trucks and the improvement of the road network on the reservation. A few elderly people and sheepherders still reside at the farming villages on a seasonal basis, but virtually the entire tribe now resides in Zuni Pueblo and the adjacent settlement of Blackrock throughout the year.
Zuni Pueblo looks very different today than it did a century ago. In building new houses or rehabilitating old structures, the Zuni make use of modern construction materials and techniques to provide modern, weatherproof housing. In addition, since the 1960s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been replacing community architecture with commercial housing. HUD houses now constitute approximately 30 percent of the housing units of Zuni Pueblo, with much of it concentrated in subdivisions that are on the outskirts of Zuni Pueblo.
Today this housing is merging with recent HUD subdivisions located at Blackrock. The formerly separate settlements of Zuni Pueblo and Blackrock have coalesced into a single community with constant daily traffic between the two as people commute from home to work. With the construction of commercial buildings, jewelry stores, offices housing the tribal government, four schools, and other institutional buildings, Zuni Pueblo has grown into a large town encompassing an area of more than 260 ha (642 acres).
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