Tijuana-Style Developments in the Gentrifying U.S.

<p>Architect Teddy Cruz is betting Tijuana-style development will flourish in gentrifying American neighborhoods -- and preserve their lower income populations.</p>
February 19, 2008, 1pm PST | Nate Berg
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"Where others saw poverty and decay, he saw the seeds of a vibrant social and architectural model, one that could be harnessed to invigorate numbingly uniform suburban communities just across the border."

"'Developers in Tijuana would build entire neighborhoods of generic 400-square-foot houses - miniature versions of suburban America,' Mr. Cruz said in an interview. 'What I noticed is how quickly these developments were retrofitted by the tenants.' Informal businesses like mechanics' shops and taco stands would quickly sprout up on the front lawns and between the houses, transforming them into highly layered spaces."

"Mr. Cruz built a reputation by applying those lessons to the design of residential developments for Latino immigrants in suburban San Diego, enveloping simple housing units in a matrix of communal spaces."

"About a year and a half ago, Mr. Cruz received an unexpected call from David Deutsch, an artist who runs a nonprofit foundation that sponsors arts programs in Hudson, N.Y. Mr. Deutsch was worried about the effects of gentrification on the town's poorest residents, many of whom live in decaying neighborhoods just out of view of the transplanted New Yorkers and weekend antique shoppers ambling down its main strip."

"Together Mr. Cruz and Mr. Deutsch set in motion an unconventional redevelopment plan aimed at reintegrating the poor and the dispossessed into Hudson's everyday life. (The plan, which is being supported by the city's mayor, Richard Scalera, is scheduled to go before the city council in the next few weeks.)"

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Published on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 in The New York Times
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