Slum Living In Tijuana

<p>Architect Teddy Cruz takes a drive through the convoluted and complex city of Tijuana in this article from <em>The Next American City</em>.</p>
December 19, 2007, 2pm PST | Nate Berg
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"A San Diego-based architect who was raised in Guatemala and educated in Mexico City, Cruz believes in loose design: If you indiscriminately give unstructured spaces over to the masses, they will find a use for them. As San Diego sets itself back from the wall, Tijuana crashes up against it, using it as a backyard fence, a fourth wall of a house or a memorial shrine. He wants to bring that free-for-all functionality to el norte."

"I drove my rental car across the border in late afternoon to meet Cruz at the Tijuana airport, where he was flying in from Mexico City. He was to give me a tour of what he calls "informalities" in the shantytowns and slums on the outskirts of Tijuana - the places that inspire him to create mixed-use housing projects in San Diego. He often tours Tijuana to watch the evolution of the suburbs. He knows Tijuana well, so I handed the car keys over to him. He promptly got us lost."

"'I wanted to avoid downtown traffic, and I got into this,' he said, trying to navigate the knot of bypasses and ramps and detours to get to the rapida - the highway that will take us out of the city. 'Tijuana is a labyrinth.'"

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Published on Saturday, December 15, 2007 in The Next American City
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