This Binational City Would Make Borders A Thing of the Past

Posted on November 14, 2016 by

Architect Fernando Romero has a plan for a binational city stretching over the U.S. and Mexican border. The project was on display last month at the London Design Biennale 2016. The designers call it “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.”

While some critiqued the design‘s futuristic hexagonal street plan, others have praised the city’s emphasis on walkability and livability. According to CityLab:

“It’s multipolar, with many business districts and specialized economic sectors. It’s super-connected, allowing for a steady circulation of people, goods, and services within it and outside it. At its heart lies the inland port of Santa Teresa, a recently opened freight hub at New Mexico-Mexico border.”

The project isn’t just meant to be thought-provoking, though. The architectural firm fr-ee is in talks with landowners on both sides of the border to begin building the city on private land in New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua:

“Romero is developing the final stages of the concept with the three land owners and plans to make the city a reality within the next decade…. The city would be built around an existing border crossing, giving residents the opportunity to work in both Mexico and America.”

In theory, the city could function as a microstate like the principality of Andorra, which is bordered by both France and Spain. Unlike the de-facto binational city of Juarez/El Paso, Romero wants this city to be designated as a “special economic zone,” making it easy for citizens to live and work on either side of the border.

Romero believes expanded trade would improve the economies of both countries, and that existing train routes between El Paso and LA could help connect the expanding region with major West Coast cities.

What do you think of Romero’s plan? Would you live in or visit a binational city like this one? Check out the video of the exhibit at the London Design Biennale below:


Photo by Fernando Romero Enterprises.

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