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21 March 2017 Comments (0) Architecture

“Border City”, a Mexican-American city project

And if, instead of building a wall, the United States were to build a common city with Mexico? Proposed by the architect Fernando Romero from the FR-EE agency at the London Biennale, a visionary project is undertaking the development of a new 29,000 ha city at the intersection of the states of Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua. One of the most populated borders in the world, since it now accommodates more than 100 million people.

Although it was originally only a show project, “Border City” could become the first binational city in America. Or a special economic zone (SEZ) which, like Hong Kong or Andorra, would enjoy more liberal economic laws and semi-independent governance. “This concept is rooted in the long history of places where borders meet, where cities and cultures collide and blend,” explains the architect as a preamble to his master plan. “Better than a ‘primitive frontier’, this common city is propitious to both countries: it not only reflects the centuries of economic ties but takes advantage of all the industrial and commercial opportunities to come.”

Interconnected clusters

In this beehive-like megacity, each “district” has the shape of a hexagonal grid, with its own centre, but connected to common transport corridors. “More than a metropolis, it’s an alloy of interconnected clusters,” says Romero. “Already, many of the world’s centres of economic activity are not concentrated around cities, but rather in metropolitan areas, often along national borders,” explains the architect.

A committed urban planning, a thousand miles from the protectionist temptations of Uncle Sam … But not so utopian … since, if 28 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world is incredulously watching the construction of new walls, the urban prototype Of Romero could offer a new development model for cross-border cities. Son of telecom magnate Carlos Slim, this is not the architect’s first attempt. He already has the ovnic curves of the Historical Museum of the port city of Mazatlan (Musma) to his credit. More recently, Romero co-designed with Norman Foster (United Kingdom) the largest terminal in Latin America: the new Mexico City airport. Right now, he is already negotiating with local landowners, as well as developers and private investors. His objective: to make this imaginary city a reality in ten years.

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