Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Borders are Funny Things. Tijuana, Mexico

Our class recently took a trip to Tijuana, Mexico.

There is a HUMONGOUS community of squatters in Tijuana. Most of the families are poor and create their homes from whatever materials they can get their hands on.

Some of the uses are somewhat innovative. The use of tires for a retaining wall keeps them out of landfills and is actually structurally sound. This in my opinion doesn't look too bad.
The people of the community are VERY kind, this man invited us into his home and showed us what he had created. He built the wall he is standing next to with stones found in the canyon where he lives. his entire home was built by him as are most of the other homes in this large community.

You can also see the portion of the billboard he used to build his home.
Kids here need to hike up canyon hills in order to get to school.

If you look closely you can see a mother and son walking up the hill. There are steps made out of tires to help make the trek easier.
As a student of Landscape Architecture we came here to see how we could help, but in a sustainable and inexpensive manner. Tires typically don't make the most comfortable steps because they are too fat but, they do make strong retaining walls if used properly. Graffiti is a major issue as well. The people in the community are worried about graffiti but a possible solution to it is to encourage it as an art form and a means of communicating within the community.

Here is an interesting mural done by a tagging group in Tijuana. The level of craftsmanship isn't bad and it isn't tagged over by other taggers. With the use of relevant words and images graffiti could become a useful tool even in traditional graffiti style.

The somewhat newly created community area is already in disarray. It was probably inevitable due to the fact that it was inaccessible by children to use. This community has not yet even had its first community meeting though they plan to do so soon and find out what the community really needs. This building was created by the government as a daycare but it was not what they wanted so they turned it into a community building and health center to provide healthcare to those that cannot afford it.

What bothers me most is that Tijuana is SO CLOSE yet to many people seems SO far away. Think of all the places that you could drive two or three hours to. As close as Santa Barbara, closer than Arizona and Las Vegas. Tijuana neighbors San Diego just like Orange County does. You could see San Diego's downtown from Tijuana. We even share the same climate. But once you cross the border the differences are like night and day. Imagine what it'd be like with no borders.

1 comment:

me said...

I agree that the tire igloo works asthetically. I especially like the shot of the partial billboard within the house structure. My husband spent his first 8 years in Tijuana. Upon touring the Center at Cal Poly, he wondered how much the Center has learned from the people in T.J. Since yeah, they sustain themselves with very limited resources. Thank you for posting these photos.

G of P