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How architectural innovations migrate across borders

"As the world's cities undergo explosive growth, inequality is intensifying. Wealthy neighborhoods and impoverished slums grow side by side, the gap between them widening. In this eye-opening talk, architect Teddy Cruz asks us to rethink urban development from the bottom up. Sharing lessons from the slums of Tijuana, Cruz explores the creative intelligence of the city's residents and offers a fresh perspective on what we can learn from places of scarcity."

Seth Dixon's insight:

As a geographer native to the San Diego region with family on both sides of the border, I found this TED talk very compelling personally, but also rich in geographic themes (city planning, diffusion, governance of space, socioeconomic differences in land use patterns, etc.).  Relations across the border are economic, cultural and political in nature, and the merger of those varied interests have led to an uneven history of both cooperation and separation.  San Diego and Tijuana have more to offer each other than economic markets--the ideas born out of distinct socioeconomic and political contexts can be just what is needed on the other side of the border.


Tagsurban, unit 7 cities, housing, economic, sprawlneighborhood, borders. planning, urban ecology, densityplanning, TED

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James Hobson's curator insight, September 23, 8:47 AM

(Mexico topic 2)
I think that elaborating upon border tensions from an artistic viewpoint (or any outside viewpoint for that matter) was an excellent idea. This allows a wider scope of inter-related issues to be examined, which might otherwise not be if left to a purely 'internal' perspective.
I approve of Cruz's way of referring to the Mexican-American border issues as more of a humanitarian issue and less of a physical-border problem. Similarly, I was impressed by his view of immigration as being not just of people, but also of knowledge and culture.
Lastly, I agree with Cruz's belief that there is a lot San Diego can learn from Tijuana in terms of sustainabililty and waste mitigation. My favorite example was that of the used tires as retaining walls: a simple yet environmentally-friendly solution to bettering land use. Ideas such as this have the potential to reduce the rate of urban sprawl (and amounts of waste in the process). Many other examples from his lecture, including the stacking of houses and businesses, reinforce this point as well. In this way, immigration earns a more positive connotation and shows how "twin cities", despite their political differences, can still benefit each other.

Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective:  Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon