22.10.05

como me decidí escribir sobre otro tema para una revista gringa que me pidió un texto sobre Tijuana - y en Tijuana todo se recicla -este queda para el blog.


















Drag and Drop Urbanism

In the last twenty years the east side of Tijuana has grown beyond its critical mass, housing conditions have moved from being self built favelas to a phenomena of overnight density – drag and drop suburbs are becoming the normative housing strategy for the working class. If a certain hybridism represented the informal self-built shacks, these mono-logical constructions include seriality, production-line planning and non-place iconography, as part of their pedigree.
Stockholm, Lisbon, Madrid, London in addition to literary masters such as Velarde, Cervantes, Dante, Sartre, Victor Hugo, title most streets of gated sectors, names that are supposed to stimulate a sense of cultural awakening. The community must then imagine that their planners, these avatars of sprawl, perceive culture as a bourgeois European vacation or a mere psychological fairy-tale voyage, becoming a non-attainable construction element that is valued engineered and with a short spreadsheet life.

A vast accumulation of housing units left behind to develop into a city by their own willpower. What is fascinating is the determination of the population to appropriate urbanism and model it through their own idiosyncrasies.
As in other previous histories of the city, illicit acts of urbanism are still the fundamental modus operandi to transgress enforced homogeneity of design guidelines, which pretend to establish a general image of a simulated townscape. It is here where the majority of Tijuana’s maestros are employed to assist the transformational process. Waiting in public spaces for drive-by employers that solicit their services according to their skills and expertise, posted in the maestro’s cars, which not only function as transportation, but also as storage, workshop, and advertising billboard. In Tijuana, the box has endured all rhetorical debates and owing to the ability of operational performance the Tijuananense achieves with this ecology, it has empowered residents of Villa Fontana to reconfigure it and multiply it, with imagination and craft.
A constant condition of the unit housing box is its transformative capacity, inside and out, from a strict residential code to an assortment of “illegal” programs. The base is not only a physical datum, but also a hardware that acts as a platform allowing programmatic architectures to operate. They are plugged in with necessary installations to re configure their use; water store, mini market, internet café, tarot reader, and countless other uses that cater to basic needs as well as to sustainability, hopes and desires. The new spaces and functions of the generic box allows primarily, to maintain a family structure allowing members to share their home (initially most of the houses built have two small bedrooms) and secondly to incorporate an alternative source of income by the way of a commercial venture.
It is here where technology performs as second infrastructure, a personal urbanism, allowing a network of activities such as communication, entertainment and job search and various functions. Cell phones, computers, satellite antennas, all gadgets, purchased in mercados sobreruedas, markets on wheels, that in themselves are ubiquitous plug and play devices within the city, who’s function is to transform some undifferentiated set of circumstances to a condition nearer human desires (Banham).
Like in any other developer project, gates and metal bars are part of a collective sense of security. Bars work as a macro economy that enables distinct areas of homes to organize into enclaves, and at a micro scale in the house themselves securing windows doors and some times trees from thieves and vandals. The permeability of the bars permits light and ventilation, and allows a view or dyslexic gaze through the ornamental bars. Landscape of the community is made of serifs and other motifs that configure a baroque pattern on the design of the bars, in some cases becoming the only “organic” topology in the field of view.

Tijuana - From the free formed to the automated, the urban to the post urban.

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