/ Research/ Urban Culture di: Andrea Nepori

Border City


Mexican architect Fernando Romero wants to build a binational town at the border between United States and Mexico, where both American and Mexican citizens could move and work freely. The project, aptly named Border City, has debuted in September at the 2016 London Design Biennale.

“With technology, those borders are just becoming symbolic limits,” said Romero in an interview with DeZeen. “The reality is that there exists a very strong mutual dependency of economies and trades.”

The project offers a sharp counter argument to Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build wall on the same border. The proposal, whose aim would be to stop illegal immigration from Mexico, sparked a heated debate and is still one of the most actively discussed topics of Trump’s political platform.


“What you’re seeing here is the first binational city to be designed from zero between the United States and Mexico,” said Romero. “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 project may have a utopian flair, but Romero is actually working on its final stages with land owners from Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua, the three States where the city will hypothetically stretch its jurisdiction.
The administrative nature of the Border City would be similar to that of Andorra, the independent microstate located in the Pyrenees mountains, at the border between France and Spain.

“Border City is the first integrated masterplan for a binational city conducive to both sides of the border,” reads the project’s description at the London Biennale, “employing tools of enterprise such as special economic zones to argue for its viability.”

In Romero’s vision the city plan encompasses many business districts and economic sectors, hexagon-shaped areas with cultural, medical and industrial services at each one of their centers. If the plans will go through, Romero expects to complete the project over a twelve years period.