Recently unveiled at the London Design Biennale, the Border City concept by fr*ee re-imagines the concept of border between two countries as a free space where cultures “both clash and blend to create something altogether unique”. Conceived by Fernando Romero and his team, this innovative project puts forward the idea of a binational city situated right on the Mexico-United States border. Speaking about the plan, Romero said:
Border City is the first integrated masterplan for a binational city conducive to both sides of the border, employing tools of enterprise such as special economic zones to argue for its viability.
Extending over a distance of around 3,145 kilometers, the border between the two countries is currently home to more than 100 million people. The inspiration behind the Border City plan, according to the designers, lies in contemporary discussions on frontier control, immigration as well as free trade. As part of the project, the team at fr*ee looked at the long and rich history of places around the globe lying on borders between different nations, including Stanstead/Derby Line as well as Baarle Hertog/Baarle Nassau. The firm added:
Economic, social, cultural and environmental sustainability are urban assets and organizing principles for the proposal’s design. Challenging “border situations” are likely to multiply across the world as populations grow, migration increases, and economies continue to globalize. Romero introduces an urban prototype, with a hexagonal plan, that might offer a new model for a rapidly developing world.
Revealed at the ongoing London Design Biennale, the project proposes a 12-year plan for the construction of a Border City on privately-held land along the borders of New Mexico, Texas and Chihuahua. At present, Romero and his colleagues are adding finishing touches to the last stage of the concept, with the aim of building an actual binational city within the next decade or so. He was reported saying:
This is a long-term vision, a utopian vision that is not about building walls but about thinking more ambitiously about the mutual relationship [between Mexico and America] and about what borders really mean between countries… With technology, those borders are just becoming symbolic limits. The reality is that there exists a very strong mutual dependency of economies and trades.
As pointed out by the designers, the location of the Border City was chosen primarily because of the seven border crossings currently existing in the area, in addition to the I-10 highway between the east and west coasts as well as the Santa Teresa port, all of which would facilitate mobility of people and transportation of goods across the borders. The team went on to say:
What you’re seeing here is the first binational city to be designed from zero between the United States and Mexico. This is one of the most active borders in the world in terms of commerce and traffic of goods but also in terms of human activity and employment… The border is very primitive as a limit. It operates very efficiently from the north to the south, America to Mexico, because there’s nobody stopping the cars and the traffic, but the other way around it is very inefficient. It has tremendous trade possibilities – whatever goods you produce here you immediately have a train that connects to Los Angeles – so it is the dream situation in terms of having connectivity to the United States.
To know more about the Border City project, head over to the official website of fr*ee.