We live and work at the USâ€“Mexico border in the largest
binational urban region in the world: the metropolis of San
Diego/Tijuana. Over the last decades this border zone has
been our laboratory to engage the central challenges of
urbanization today: deepening social and economic inequality, dramatic migratory shifts, urban informality, environmental degradation, climate change, the thickening of border
walls, and the decline of public thinking. Blurring conventional boundaries between theory and practice, and situated
at the intersection of architecture, art, and civic engagement,
our practice has been committed to exploring the invisible
transborder flows and circulations that define the territory
and have shaped the transgressive hybrid identities of everyday life in this part of the world. We think of the border less
as a militarized jurisdictional line, or as a political artifice,
and more as a region defined by interdependence. Our work
reimagines the border zone as a transnational environmental
commons, an eco-region that demands cross-border collaboration for the benefit of all. We are activating this vision
through a robust collaboration with agencies and universities on both sides of the border that are eager to pursue
a new era of partnership to protect shared environmental
assets and tackle climate change, the mother of all public
problems. A key dimension of this research is to rethink
citizenship itselfâ€”opposing conventional jurisdictional or
identitarian ideas that divide communities and nation-states
with a more practical idea focused on the shared social
norms, everyday practices, interests, and aspirations that
typically flow across boundaries.1
The fortress mentality that once characterized the political fringe has gone mainstream in the United States and
across the world, legitimizing bigotry and the urgency to
build walls that are higher and stronger and to protect
national resources from an endless flow of dangerous interlopers. In our zone of conflict and increasing militarization,
we seek to draw on regional flows, convergences, and
interdependencies to construct a more speculative imaginary of regional citizenship, one that provokes young people
to aspire beyond the political realities of border enclosure
to imagine possible futures. In the midst of calls for wallbuilding, we should call even more loudly for interdependence
and transgressive experiments in â€œunwallingâ€ that allow
people to see each other anew and cultivate cross-border
public commitment toward a more inclusive, democratic,
and environmentally progressive binational region.
The Political Equator
Over the last decade we have been linking border regions
around the globe to investigate their differences and similarities, and what those regions can learn from each other about
civic and environmental interdependence and tactics of
transgression. The Political Equator (2005â€“present) is a visualization project that traces an imaginary line along the
USâ€“Mexico continental border and extends it directly across
a world atlas, forming a corridor of global conflict between
thirty and thirty-eight degrees north latitude (fig. 302). Along
this imaginary boundary lie some of the worldâ€™s most
contested thresholds, including the USâ€“Mexico border at
San Diego/Tijuana, the most trafficked international border
checkpoint in the world and the primary migration route
from Latin America into the United States; the Strait of
Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, the main funnel of migration from North Africa into Europe through which waves
416 ecology and environmentalism
Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz
Citizenship Culture and
Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman
The Political Equator, 2005â€“present
of migrants and refugees from North Africa and Syria flow
across â€œFortress Europe,â€ recently thickened to contain the
flow of refugees from Lampedusa into Italy and from Lesbos
into Greece; the Israeliâ€“Palestinian border that divides the
Middle East, emblematized by Israelâ€™s fifty-year military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; India/Kashmir,
a site of intense and ongoing territorial conflict between
Pakistan and India since the British partition of India in 1947;
and the border between North and South Korea, which represents decades of intractable conflict, carrying Cold War
tensions forward to the present day. Of course, the real political equator extends beyond this flat line, since border conditions are distributed across the globe. Although we tend
to think of border walls as physical fortresses, borders are
reproduced in peripheral neighborhoods everywhere, where
public divestment, racism, and inequality divide communities and institutions.
Communities most affected by political marginalization
likewise often bear the brunt of the accelerating impact of
climate change. The collision of geopolitical borders, environmental crisis, and human displacement is the great crisis of
our age.2 This convergence of environmental and social injustice is evident in the experience of African American residents of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina;
more generally in the conditions of the poorest and most
vulnerable across the globe, who tend to settle along lagoons
and low-lying coastal zones at the front lines of sea-level rise;
and with particular urgency in the Syrian refugee crisis, which
arguably began decades ago with a thirty-year drought that
drove rural Syrians to cities politically unprepared to integrate
them and evolved into one of the most horrific political and
human catastrophes of the last century.3
Unfortunately, the political rhetoric of hatred and border
closures across the world today further marginalizes the
most vulnerable among us, criminalizing their movement
and dehumanizing their condition. But anti-immigrant sentiment has been met with irruptions of civic and political
resistance, frequently in border regions where the collision
is most immediately experienced, demanding new and more
inclusive imaginaries of coexistence and sanctuary. How can
we, as cultural producers, disrupt the mythologies that have
been perpetuated by xenophobic, often racially motivated
fears about the other and produce a new conversation? Can
we advance new ideas of citizenship that transcend borders,
ones based on practical urgencies rather than identitarian
categories? Can environmental urgency and climate change
become tools for new cross-border thinking?
Perhaps no one has posed the issue of climate justice
more eloquently and powerfully than Pope Francis in his
2015 encyclical, Laudato Siâ€™. Pope Francis has become
a great ally in the simultaneous fight against poverty, the
fight for tolerance and human dignity, and the fight against
climate change. He wrote: â€œToday . . . we have to realize
that a true ecological approach always becomes a social
approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates
on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth
and the cry of the poor.â€4
Effective strategies to promote social inclusion and environmental justice together require widespread and pervasive
cultural shifts in attitude and behavior.5 Policy and planning
are essential but not enough without genuine buy-in from
the bottom up, at all scalesâ€”from the vast canvas of public
opinion to collective and individual attitudes and behavior
at neighborhood or village scales, where the rubber hits the
road, so to speak.
This is particularly true of disadvantaged neighborhoods
plagued by poverty, violence, failing schools, and failing
infrastructure, where environmental concerns can seem
remote from the acute challenges of everyday life. Proximity
matters. Research shows that disadvantaged urban populations, for example, are more likely to become engaged in
climate action when they understand the linkages between
quality of life for the poor. His use of street mimes, games,
and theatrical street disruptions has inspired civic actors,
urbanists, and artists across Latin America and the world to
think more creatively about upsetting civic dysfunction and
transforming urban norms and behavior.
Shifting social norms and renewing public trust paved
the way in BogotÃ¡ for succeeding mayor Enrique PeÃ±alosaâ€™s
renowned multinodal and egalitarian transportation
agenda, consisting of a network of bus rapid transit, bicycle
hubs, cyclovias, and dedicated walking paths that literally
stitched that troubled city together and revolutionized
public transportation in Latin America.8 In other words,
shifting social norms came first; the environmental
interventions followed. As PeÃ±alosa stated in 2013, â€œAn
advanced city is not one where even the poor use cars,
but rather one where even the rich use public transport.â€9
Mockus and PeÃ±alosa emerged from a long tradition of
participatory urbanization across Latin America, stewarded
by environmentally forward mayors who were inspired by
the Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire and his
â€œcritical pedagogyâ€ for reclaiming the humanity of the
colonized.10 These mayors committed to robust agendas of
civic engagement, from the Workersâ€™ Party mayors in Porto
Alegre, Brazil, who experimented with participatory budgeting in the 1970s, to the mayor of Curitiba in Brazil, Jaime
Lerner, who pioneered bus rapid transit and dozens of green
interventions in the 1980s, to the â€œsocial urbanismâ€ of
Sergio Fajardo when he was mayor of MedellÃn, Colombia,
in the early 2000s that transformed public spaces and
green infrastructure into sites of education and citizenshipbuilding, elevating MedellÃn into a global model of urban
social justice (fig. 304).11 This tradition still thrives in cities
across the continent, from La Paz in Bolivia to Quito in
Ecuador to Mexico City, and carries important lessons for
equitable green urbanization in cities across the world today.
Cross-Border Community Stations: Cultural
Platforms for Participatory Climate Action
Inspired by our research in BogotÃ¡ and MedellÃn, where citizenship was mobilized through cultural action in public space,
we founded the UCSD Cross-Border Community Stations
at the University of California, San Diego. They are field-based
hubs in underserved neighborhoods on both sides of the
San Diegoâ€“Tijuana border, where experiential learning,
climate and poverty in their own neighborhoods, and
when local opportunities for participatory action with
neighborhood-scale impact are made available to them.6
When the negative effects of climate change are made
tangible and present for people, rather than something faroff like melting icecaps and polar bearsâ€”when they understand, for instance, precisely how sea-level rise will affect
oneâ€™s city or neighborhoodâ€”individuals are more likely
to be receptive to the concept of global climate change
generally and supportive of climate-friendly public policy.
All this research is confirmed by powerful examples
across the world. In our practice we have been inspired by
Latin American cities that have been particularly successful
in recent decades at transforming local attitudes and
behavior around environment and climate while producing
more equitable outcomes in the city. A long lineage of
climate-forward mayors across the region committed
their administrations to bold environmental agendas that
were combined with participatory strategies designed
to promote dignity and agency among the poor, and
ultimately to produce greener, more equitable cities.7
When the philosopher Antanas Mockus (fig. 303) became
mayor of BogotÃ¡, Colombia, in 1995, the city was in a free
fall of violence, poverty, infrastructural failure, and choking
air quality, the worst anywhere on the continent. At that time
it was often referred to as â€œthe most dangerous city on the
planet.â€ Rejecting the conventional law-and-order response
to urban violence, Mockus came up with a very different
idea, one based on transforming societal normsâ€”changing
the hearts and minds of citizensâ€”to repair patterns of public trust and social cooperation. Provoking architects and
urbanists, Mockus asserted that before improving the city
physically, it was first necessary to intervene into the belief
systems that perpetuate an acceptance of poverty and
dramatic inequality. He focused not only on those with
resources and |power but also, more essentially, on the marginalized and the poor, with the goal of restoring urban
dignity, reclaiming neighborhoods, and fostering collective
agency. He became legendary for the distinctive ways he
intervened into the behavioral dysfunction of urban BogotÃ¡,
using arts and culture and sometimes outrageous performative interventions to dramatically reduce violence and
lawlessness, reconnect citizens with their government and
with each other, increase tax collection, reduce water consumption, reduce vehicle emissions, and ultimately improve
418 ecology and environmentalism citizenship culture and the transnational environmental commonsâ€ƒforman and cruz
Centro de Desarrollo Cultural
de Moravia, MedellÃn, Colombia
Courtesy of Teddy Cruz and
Antanas Mockus in Tijuana, 2015
Courtesy of Teddy Cruz and
research, and teaching are conducted with community-based
nonprofits, advancing a new model of community-university
partnership and reciprocal knowledge production.12 Social and
environmental justice today not only is about redistributing
resources and technologies but also depends on redistributing knowledges and capabilities. The UCSD Cross-Border
Community Stations employ innovative models of environmental education at community scale to transform hearts and
minds about climate change and environmental health and to
foster participatory, bottom-up responses.
We do this by converting vacant and neglected sites and
spaces into active civic classroomsâ€”spaces of knowledge,
cultural production, small-scale participatory design and construction projects, environmental research, and display that
are curated collaboratively between community and university, and where environmental literacy can stimulate climate
action and political agency in marginalized neighborhoods.
Access to arts education and cultural production has been
compromised everywhere in recent years, particularly in marginalized contexts, by significant reduction in public spending and the budget cuts faced by local community-based
nonprofits. Retraction in cultural activity can produce apathy
among residents and a lack of neighborhood participation
in the planning of the communityâ€™s future. In the UCSD
Cross-Border Community Stations, arts and culture programs
become summoners, instruments for civic participation,
as well as engines to incentivize new neighborhood-based
economies to improve the quality of life across these underserved, demographically diverse immigrant neighborhoods.
In recent years we have built strong relationships with two
communities adjacent to the border wall and cultivated longterm partnerships with the most rooted and active nonprofit
organizations based there. The UCSD/Divina Community
Station (fig. 305)â€”one of two stations in operation13â€”is
located in the informal settlement of Los Laureles Canyon
on the western periphery of Tijuana, in partnership with the
nonprofit Los Colonos de Divina Providencia. Los Laureles is
geographically the last slum of Latin America, literally crashing against the border wall and home to eighty-five thousand
people. The Laureles station is focused on environmental
education (fig. 306), participatory climate action, cross-border
environmental and urban policy, and informal urbanization,
with an emphasis on the intersection of water management,
dust management, and cross-border citizenship.
Our Cross-Border Community Station in Los Laureles
Canyon is unique because it is directly adjacent to the
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve on the
US side, the tip end of our binational watershed system,
which has been impacted by the flow of wastewater and
trash from the slum, exacerbated by the truncation of the
canyon systems as the border wall has been fortified in
the last decade. Preventing the further degradation of this
essential binational environmental asset has been among
the chief priorities of our work in the canyon. We are cultivating cross-border, cross-sector relationships to mobilize
shared water management capabilities between the canyon
and the estuary (fig. 307). Simultaneously we have developed a â€œdistributed systemâ€ of small public spaces that radiate from the UCSD/Divina Community Station and function
as water management infrastructures as well as contexts
for pedagogical-cultural experiments. In other words, this
unique network of microbasins operates not only as functional waste management infrastructure, to prevent pollution from reaching the estuary, but also as pedagogic and
cultural spaces that teach children about food harvesting,
nutrition, waste, soil, and water.
Here, classrooms become nomadic cultural stages and
conduits for itinerant community planning workshops.
We have long argued that public spaces cannot remain as
mono-use physical amenities, but must be curated with
support systems for community engagement, promoting
social participation for cultural action. In collaboration with
our nonprofit partners, we develop visualization tools that
enable comprehension of complex cross-border issues
and the policies necessary to protect binational social and
environmental assets. Our community workshops involve
speculative cartography and mapping, in the form of videography experiments conducted by community residents
and students to interpret everyday practices and aspirations
and to advance fictional scenarios of spatial and urban transformation. In this way, art becomes a cognitive tool to
enable the visualization and recognition of regional ecologies beyond walls. These exercises help to expose the
missing information that often disrupts the organic relationship a community has to its immediate environment.
We believe that raising awareness about unrecognized environmental and social assets helps to recuperate a communityâ€™s agency for political action, and in our region ultimately
helps to construct a more grounded, cross-border sense of
belonging. Sometimes these nomadic actions are â€œagonistic
interventionsâ€ through which we summon institutions and
agencies that are at odds with one anotherâ€”whether border
patrol and activists or maquiladoras (NAFTA factories) and
NGOsâ€”to enter into dialogue and debate about the implications of their actions and agendas, as well as the potential
for mutual recognition and collaboration. One example,
discussed below, is a border-drain crossing organized with
US Homeland Security and our community partners.
420 ecology and environmentalism citizenship culture and the transnational environmental commonsâ€ƒforman and cruz
Figure 305 (top left)
Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman
Rendering of the UCSD/Divina
Community Station, Tijuana, Baja
California, Mexico, 2016
Figure 306 (top right)
Children in the garden at Los Colonos
de Divina Providencia, 2017
Courtesy Estudio Teddy Cruz +
Figure 307 (left)
Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman
Diagram of the coalition of binational
We also cocurate participatory design workshops and
hands-on small-scale environmental and agricultural interventions to stimulate both community awareness of urban challenges that can seem remote or secondary to communities
living in conditions of scarcity and a sense of completion and
community capacity. One ongoing participatory design project
is our Mecalux Retrofit begun in 2013. For many years we have
been documenting how informal environments such as Los
Laureles Canyon grow incrementally as people build their own
housing by recycling the urban waste of Southern California.
We have been studying the relation of these informal processes to the dynamics of cheap labor, as multinational maquiladoras typically settle at the edges of these slums.
In the first period of research we began to engage these
issues, proposing a model of â€œreciprocal urban developmentâ€ whereby factory-made systems could help stabilize
422 ecology and environmentalism citizenship culture and the transnational environmental commonsâ€ƒforman and cruz
Figures 308 a, b
Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman
Mecalux Retrofit, multiple uses, 2014
Figure 309 (opposite)
Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman
Map and panorama of the borderdrain crossing, 2011
the temporal evolution of precarious housing in the slums.
The project evolved into the Mecalux Retrofit, a social housing
research collaboration with Mecalux, a Spanish maquiladora
in Tijuana that produces lightweight metal pallet rack systems for global export and employs many of its workers
from adjacent informal neighborhoods. We began negotiating with this factory to adapt and retrofit its prefab shelving
systems into new microinfrastructures to support informal
housing and waste recycling practices in the slums of
Tijuana, suggesting an act of reciprocity between factories
and marginalized communities surrounding them.14
These maquiladora â€œpartsâ€ become the material of
our community design workshops in the UCSD/Divina
Community Station, where we and our students work closely
with community members to stitch these pieces together
with existing structures to design and construct small and
large infrastructures alike (figs. 308 a,b). For example, we
worked with community members to design and build a bus
stop from Mecalux parts, to shelter maquiladora workers
from the sun as they await erratic shuttles to factory sites.
At a larger scale, we are also designing a mixed-use housing
project that will surround an economic incubator, as well
as a new UCSD/Divina Community Station that will integrate
spaces for environmental research and education, sport,
arts and culture production and display (including a blackbox theater), and the first â€œprepaâ€ (middle and high school)
in Los Laureles Canyon.
A Transnational Environmental Commons
In recent years the activities of US Homeland Security and
the installation of more invasive infrastructures of surveillance and control have had a devastating impact on the
sensitive environmental systems that flank the border wall
as it descends into the Pacific Ocean. New border wall
infrastructure postâ€“9/11 has truncated the many canyons
that travel north and south as part of the binational watershed between Tijuana and San Diego. Los Laureles sits
in one of these canyons, at an elevation higher than the
estuary. The carving of concrete dams and drains into the
new border wall has accelerated the northbound flow
of waste from the slum into the estuary, siphoning tons
of trash and sediment with each rainy season and contaminating one of the most important environmental zones,
the â€œlungsâ€ of the bioregion.
A major project of the UCSD Cross-Border Community
Stations is the development of an environmental commons,
a transnational land conservancy to encompass the San
Diego estuary and the Tijuana informal settlement in a continuous cross-border political, social, and environmental
system. The project began in 2011, when we curated a crossborder public action through a sewage drain underneath
a section of the border wall recently built by Homeland
Security, located at the precise point where the informal
settlement in Mexico collides with the estuary on the US
side (fig. 309). We negotiated a permit with US Homeland
Security to transform a drain under the wall into an official
port of entry for twenty-four hours. They agreed, as long
as Mexican immigration officials were waiting on the other
side to stamp our passports. As participants moved southbound under the wall against the natural northbound
flow of slum wastewater headed toward the estuary, we
reached Mexican immigration officers who had pitched an
improvisational tent on the south side of the drain, inside
Mexican territory (fig. 310). The strange juxtaposition of
pollution seeping into the environmental zone, the stamping of passports inside this liminal space, and the passage
from pristine estuary to slum under a militarized culvert
amplified the regionâ€™s most profound contradictions
Although the border wall is regularly presented to the
American public as a structure of national security, it is a
self-inflicted environmental wound, violently bisecting and
damaging regional resources. The wall undermines vital
regional ecosystems that are essential to the survival of the
communities on both sides. Can a more just cross-border
public be mobilized to steward the shared environmental
interests between two divided cities? As the development
economist Amartya Sen argues, global justice requires a
â€œcross-border public frameworkâ€ that includes not only
voices within our own jurisdictional and territorial boundar
ies but also the voices of those beyond our borders whom
we impact through our decisions and actions.15 Can border
regions with shared environmental assets become laboratories to reimagine citizenship beyond the nation-state?
Anticipating the vaster social and environmental dam
ages that will be inflicted by the new proposed border wallâ€”
whose prototypes have already been constructed a few
miles east of San Diego16â€”we embarked in 2017 on a new
phase of our cross-border citizenship agenda with a project
called MEXUS: A Geography of Interdependence
the Mexicoâ€“US border has been publicly maligned, again,
as a site of violence and crime, division and fear, MEXUS
424 ecology and environmentalism citizenship culture and the transnational environmental commonsâ€ƒforman and cruz Figure 310 (opposite)
Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman
Border-drain crossing public action,
June 3â€“4, 2011
Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman
MEXUS: A Geography of
presents the national threshold as a site of urban and politi
cal creativity and experimentation, characterized by grassroots dynamics and the invisible cross-border flows that our
practice has been documenting.
MEXUS is a visualization of the continental border region
without the line, presented instead as a transnational envi
ronmental zone composed of eight watershed systems
shared by Mexico and the United States (fig. 311). By unwall
ing this thickened system of interdependencies, MEXUS
provokes a more inclusive idea of citizenship based on
coexistence, shared assets, and cooperative opportunities
between divided communities. MEXUS visualizes those
things that a physical barrier wall along the political border
cannot contain: watersheds, Indigenous lands, ecological
corridors, and migratory patterns. The drama of this unrec
ognized geography of interdependence is that it invites the
viewer to imagine the disruption that a jurisdictional border
inflicts on the continental environmental commons.
MEXUS gets particular at the Tijuana River Watershed,
our regionâ€”the westernmost tip of MEXUS, at the precise
juncture between the informal settlement of Los Laureles
Canyon and the Tijuana River estuary, bisected by the wall.
There, the project has inspired an ambitious coalition of
state and municipal governments, communities, and universities to steward a cross-border environmental commons
(fig. 312), a land conservancy that identifies slivers of land in
the Mexican slum, bundles them, and connects them with
the American estuary to form a continuous political, social,
and ecological zone that transgresses the line. MEXUS visualizes â€œNatureâ€™s Nationâ€ in the USâ€“Mexico border region
and challenges the legitimacy of a jurisdictional wall that
truncates the social and environmental systems that bridge
In the 1970s the renowned urbanists Donald Appleyard
and Kevin Lynch drafted a vision plan for San Diego called
Temporary Paradise?18 The title is punctuated by a question
mark, as if to prefigure a warning: that the future of San
Diego depends on the future of Tijuana, that the destinies of
these two border cities are intertwined. Appleyard and Lynch
proposed that the binational system of canyons should be
the armature for regional planning in the future, and urged
Our great thanks to Alan Braddock and Karl Kusserow for including our work
in Natureâ€™s Nation. We would like to thank our partners on the transnational
environmental commons: Delia Castellanos Armendariz, Ana Eguiarte,
Rebeca Ramirez, Kyle Haines, and Kristen Goodrich. Our gratitude to Mimi
Zeiger, Ann Lok Lui, and Niall Atkinson, the curatorial team for Dimensions
of Citizenship in the United States pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture
Biennale, for inviting our work, and to Cliff Curry and Delight Stone for
generously supporting this stage of our research. Endless thanks to our
MEXUS project team: Jonathan Maier, Marcello Maltagliati, and Benjamin
Notkin, and to Juan Pablo Ponce de Leon. Finally, the UCSD Cross-Border
Community Stations presented here would have been impossible without
the support of Richard C. Blum and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
1 We explore this subject in our forthcoming monograph The Political
Equator: Unwalling Citizenship (London: Verso).
2 See Fonna Forman and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, â€œClimate Change,
Mass Migration, and Sustainability: A Probabilistic Case for Urgent Action,â€
in Humanitarianism and Mass Migration: Confronting the World Crisis,
ed. Marcelo M. SuÃ¡rez-Orozco (Berkeley: University of California Press,
3 Colin P. Kelley, Shahrzad Mohtadi, Mark A. Cane, Richard Seager, and
Yochanan Kushnir, â€œClimate Change in the Fertile Crescent and Implications
of the Recent Syrian Drought,â€ Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences 112, no. 11 (March 17, 2015): 3241â€“46, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi
4 Pope Francis, Laudato Siâ€™, encyclical letter, Vatican website, May 24, 2015,
/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html, chap.1, sec. V
(emphasis in the original).
5 See Fonna Forman, Gina Solomon, Rachel Morello-Frosch, and Keith
Pezzoli, â€œBending the Curve and Closing the Gap: Climate Justice and Public
Health,â€ Collabra 2, no.1:22 (December 12, 2016), http://doi.org/10.1525
6 Forman et al., â€œBending the Curve.â€
7 For a summary, see Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, â€œLatin America and
a New Political Leadership: Experimental Acts of Co-Existence,â€ in Public
Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good, ed. Johanna Burton,
Shannon Jackson, and Dominic Willsdon (Boston: MIT Press, 2016), 71â€“90.
See also Justin McGuirk, Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of
a New Architecture (London: Verso, 2014).
8 Fonna Forman, â€œSocial Norms and the Cross-Border Citizen: From Adam
Smith to Antanas Mockus,â€ in Cultural Agents Reloaded: The Legacy of
Antanas Mockus, ed. Carlo Tognato (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 2017), 335â€“58.
9 Enrique PeÃ±alosa, â€œWhy Buses Represent Democracy in Action,â€ TED talk,
September 2013, https://www.ted.com/talks/enrique_penalosa_why
10 See, notably, Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York:
11 On MedellÃn, see Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz, â€œGlobal Justice at
the Municipal Scale: The Case of MedellÃn, Colombia,â€ in Institutional
Cosmopolitanism, ed. Luis Cabrera (New York: Oxford University Press,
forthcoming). See also The MedellÃn Diagram, a project by Teddy Cruz,
Fonna Forman, Alejandro Echeverri, and Matthias GÃ¶rlich, commissioned by
the MedellÃn Museum of Modern Art for the 2014 World Urban Forum and
additionally presented at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in September
2014, the 2016 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, and the Yerba
Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, March 2017.
12 Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, â€œThe Cross-Border Community Stations:
Eight Notes on Redistributing Knowledge Beyond Walls,â€ in Back to the
Sandbox: Art and Radical Pedagogy, ed. Jaroslav AndÄ•l (Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press, forthcoming).
13 The second, the UCSD/Casa Community Station, is located in the border
neighborhood of San Ysidro, California, in partnership with the nonprofit
Casa Familiar. San Ysidro is the first immigrant neighborhood into the
United States, after the checkpoint. This station focuses on immigration,
public space, affordable housing, and equitable urban development.
14 We built the first prototypes as part of Wohnungsfrage, a major international exhibition on the global housing crisis presented at the Haus der
Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin in 2015. The project highlights the role
of architects in engaging institutions, and negotiating the redistribution
of resources and knowledges to reorient surplus value toward social and
15 Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
16 For further discussion, see Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, â€œThe Wall:
The San Diegoâ€“Tijuana Border,â€ Artforum 54, no. 10 (Summer 2016):
370â€“75; and Cruz and Forman, â€œUn-walling Citizenship,â€ Avery Review:
Critical Essays on Architecture, no. 21 (Winter 2017): 98â€“109, http://www
17 MEXUS, by Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, was presented for
the first time at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, commissioned by
the United States pavilion for the exhibition Dimensions of Citizenship.
18 Donald Appleyard and Kevin Lynch, Temporary Paradise? A Look at
the Special Landscape of the San Diego Region: A Report to the City of
San Diego (Cambridge, MA: Department of Urban Studies and Planning,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1974).
426 ecology and environmentalism citizenship culture and the transnational environmental commonsâ€ƒforman and cruz
Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman
Diagram of the transnational
environmental commons, 2018
collaboration to reimagine the border wall as a shared infrastructure with civic projects along its trajectory.
Fifty years later we remain inspired by this ecological
vision for our binational region. US policy toward the border has always prioritized physical security over environmental security, and is presently regurgitating uniquely ugly
rhetorics of fear, division, and national identity to justify
its mandates. This moment has triggered a great uptick of
artistic and cultural interventions by local artists to mobilize public protest at the wall. While we are inspired by
these important and often hugely creative gestures of cultural resistance right now, they tend to be ephemeral in
their impact. Drawing on the very practical impulses of
Appleyard and Lynch, we have been focusing our efforts
instead on cultivating cross-border partnerships to mobilize
longer-term spatial, environmental, and cultural interventions that can deepen public knowledge and sustain
meaningful cross-border citizenship culture over time.
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