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Author: Rene

Locals Design the Border

What a Locally Designed Border Might Look Like

Local entrepreneurs, government officials, architects, artists and land use experts have floated many ideas over the past several decades that envision a very different border than the one we have – one that embraces the idea that the border is one community and one natural environment.

 I want to thank Maya Srikrishnan for this great piece on future visions of the border and for allowing me to contribute 3 ideas we are working on. One is the Solar River presented at UC San Diego’s Border Innovation Challenge that received the audience choice award.

Great intro with Larry Herzog
click here
Visits: 497

Border Innovation Challenge

The Border Innovation Challenge, now in its second year, is a business plan competition focused on the challenges presented by the international border. This competition focuses on bringing to the spotlight promising solutions and technologies to meet the region’s ports of entry, efficiency, and security challenges. Supported by the Smart Border Coalition, the program is presented through a partnership of the Rady School of Management and the Jacobs School of Engineering. It is open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni from universities along the US/Mexico border region.


In its 2nd year, the Border Innovation Challenge competition spotlights commercially promising technologies focused on the US/Mexico international border’s challenges.

Join us on December 1st, when our finalists compete for $12,500 in prizes.

Tijuana Solar River

Presenter Rene Peralta

The project focuses on revitalizing the Tijuana River Channel as a solar power farm and binational water remediation infrastructure. A project that brings back the river canal to Tijuana communities with pedestrians and public spaces along the 11-mile channel.

We want to encourage the general public to register ( There will be a prize for an audience choice, so every vote counts!

Each participant will have up to 7 minutes maximum to present. After 7 minutes, they will be muted to ensure we can keep things fair for everyone. Judges will have 5 minutes for Q&A.


Innovación en la frontera

El Programa de Innovación en la Frontera, ahora en su segundo año, es una competencia de planes de negocios centrada en los desafíos que presenta nuestra frontera internacional. Esta concurso se centra en poner en evidencia soluciones y tecnologías prometedoras para hacer frente a los desafíos de los puertos de entrada, la eficiencia y la seguridad de la región. Apoyado por la Coalición de Fronteras Inteligentes, el programa se presenta a través de una asociación de la Escuela de Administración Rady y la Escuela de Ingeniería Jacobs., de UCSD. Está abierto a estudiantes, profesores, personal y ex-alumnos de las universidades a lo largo de la región fronteriza entre EE.UU. y México.
En su segundo año, el concurso Border Innovation Challenge destaca tecnologías comercialmente prometedoras centradas en los desafíos de la frontera internacional entre EE.UU. y México.
Acompáñenos el 1 de diciembre, cuando nuestros finalistas compitan por 12.500 dólares en premios.
Río Solar de Tijuana
Presentador René Peralta
El proyecto se centra en la revitalización del Canal del Río Tijuana como una granja de energía solar y una infraestructura binacional de remediación del agua. Un proyecto que devuelve el canal del río a las comunidades de Tijuana con peatones y espacios públicos a lo largo del canal de 17 km.
Queremos animar al público en general a que se registre (
Habrá un premio para la elección del público, ¡así que cada voto cuenta!
Cada participante tendrá un máximo de 7 minutos para presentar. Después de 7 minutos, serán silenciados para asegurarnos de que podemos mantener las cosas justas para todos. Los jueces tendrán 5 minutos para preguntas y respuestas.
Visits: 1103

Why I am still a Modernist

Why I am still a Modernist

As a professor passing through the heartland of America, I want to point out a series of concepts that I find interesting.

The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard known for such great books as Simulation and Simulacra wrote a type of diary of his experience in the US, titled “America”.

He traveled through the horizontal of the prairies, and deserts. He found that America is (by design) a made-up nation, where there are two concepts: a utopia or a territorialization (British citizens making a nation) and de-territorialization, a dystopia (the erasure of the people who inhabited the land earlier.)

And it’s this process that permeates our (I say “our” because I also choose to be a US citizen) thinking of the world.

Therefore, we have this power to choose our reality, as a clean slate no matter what the world throws at us.

In his book or journal, he comments:

“Americans believe in facts, but not in facticity”

In regards to living in this moment of “Corona Virus” what is now being described as a cliché is affecting many people worldwide especially in the “developing” world. Different from our reality, they cannot wear masks all the time or work from home, they gamble with their life because its either poverty or virology that will defeat them.

I want to share this thought regarding how humanity transcended the past world crisis.

During WW2, the world thought collectively on how we could overcome a crisis, such as totalitarian governments, i.e. nazis, and fascism.

People around the world enlisted in the military without any objection; global governments united to battle together, and industrialist made products that would support the struggle for world peace.

Today, we face a similar crisis, yet it is not an ideology but a biological agent.

So far during this pandemic, we have not been able to come together as a society, government, and industry, to solve- as we once did – our global adversary.  

Today, every faction of society has a reason for how the crisis is affecting them. All have individual objectives; the young generations can’t cope with the psychological tension, the economy of nations struggle due to the preventive state public health measures and science wrestles to integrate into the world psyche the importance of medical facts and objectives.

Today our global society is not a unified cause against this crisis. Therefore, unless we pause our differentiation and postmodernism for a moment, we might return to a future of a diverse and safe world.

Visits: 1138

                            Notes for my latest participation in the ACSA 108 Conference



Special Focus Session, 1.5 LU

Moderator: Pablo Meninato, Temple U. & Gregory Marinic, U. of Cincinnati

Confronted with transnational concerns surrounding migration, globalization, economic instability, political turmoil, ecology, and social justice, this panel will discuss modes of engagement via critical spatial practices. The panel includes theorists and practitioners in architecture, urbanism, planning, and the social sciences that examine emerging conditions across Latin America, the US-Mexico Borderlands, and the broader Global South. Themes include informal settlements, tactical urbanism, migrant geographies, participatory practices, sustainability, and related topics. Which issues are reshaping cities across these regions? How do emerging urbanisms shift our expectations for design practice? Who are the stakeholders and how do they collaborate? Can critical spatial practices shape more inclusive metropolitan futures?



Presentation notes _Esperanza de Mexico 

June 18, 2020


Since the 1960s The city of Tijuana and the major border cities on the Mexican northern border in general have experienced high levels of migration from all corners of Mexico as well from central and south America.

The national economic programs of  Programa Nacional Fronterizo (1960-1965) and Programa de Industrialización Fronteriza (1965) drew many migrants to find work in the construction and manufacturing industry.

These programs set the stage for an open and binational economy at the border creating a different economic scenario from the rest of the country.

Photo Rene Peralta

The rate of demographic growth until the 1970s was parallel with neighboring San Diego then they merged.

Soon Tijuana’s demographic growth increased due to the economic realities of a more globalized economy promoted by manufacturing the industry also known as the Maquiladora Industry.

As the city grew new communities were created along the periphery of the city.

Tijuana in terms of urban planning is a typical Latin American city organized with central zones and radial sectors as described in the Griffin and Ford model.

In Mexico, it is estimated that 70% of the population, self builds its own home with traditional materials such as concrete blocks or brick, and in some instances with second-hand timber from other construction sites or even other countries as is the case of cities along the US/Mex border.

Photo: Rene Peralta

Yet many of these houses lack construction supervision by a professional or government agency, they are fragile constructions that do not hold up well in harsh climates and lack well maintained electrical and plumbing systems.

Also, the only options provided to the working-class population had been the developer micro-sized units that did not abide by the size of a common Mexican family, creating segregated and overcrowded horizontal ghettos around the major cities in the country.

Maquila and centrality

Photos: COLEF

 Maquiladoras are manufacturing plants that take advantage of cheap labor and relaxed environmental regulations that find the dumping of hazardous materials overlooked by the Mexican authorities. 

 The Maquiladoras promoted jobs and security to an incoming population that settled rapidly in the eastern part of the city, an informal process that began through property invasion.


Photo: Ingrid Hernandez

 In comparison to these communities, the informal developments tend to improve with limited infrastructure as years pass and some have morphed into consolidated communities.

 As the slow process of legalization and regularization, though public agencies made it possible for families to have property tenure, today their ability to build a dignified, permanent and structural sound home is still out of reach.

“…having a property title appears not to change the financial patterns of families very much. In Mexico among families whose income total less than six monthly minimum wages, only 10% made use of loans to invest in their homes”

(Alegria & Ordoñez, 2016).


 From Informal to Formal and back. 

Diagrams: Rene Peralta












Visits: 1167

Metropolis in Motion

Metropolis in Motion

I am very happy that after many months the 90-page report I edited last year has been published for consultation on the Internet. Metropolis in Motion is a report on the challenges and alternatives for better public transportation in 4 Latin American cities, including Tijuana.
Thanks to Daniel Rivera for his confidence and Michelle Rubio for her great effort and knowledge, and to the great Fritz Torres Carrillo for his excellent graphics!
Metropolis is a network of global cities and metropolitan areas.

You can download the document in English and Spanish.

Metropolis en Movimiento

Estoy muy contento de que después de muchos meses el informe de 90 páginas que edite el año pasado haya sido publicado para su consulta en Internet. Metropolis in Motion es un informe sobre los desafíos y alternativas para un mejor transporte público en 4 ciudades de América Latina, incluyendo Tijuana.
Gracias a Daniel Rivera por la confianza y a Michelle Rubio por su gran esfuerzo y conocimiento, y al gran Fritz Torres Carrillo por su excelente mano grafica!

Metropolis es una red de ciudades y áreas metropolitanas globales.

Puede descargar el documento en inglés y español.

Visits: 870

La nueva rola de mi amigo Pepe Mogt: la nostalgia de un pasado muy reciente _ la memoria de pary y la city como dijera nuestro amigo Rafa Saavedra. 
Visits: 672