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The Borderless Workshop

Paola Aguirre | Master in Architecture and Urban Design

Laura Janka  | Master in Architecture and Urban Design


The Borderless Workshop is a multidisciplinary and collaborative platform focused on rethinking the Mexican-American border-region for the 21st Century. The platform integrates both a collection of existing research, literature review, initiatives and projects, and also generates new content by producing interviews, featuring projects and research focusing in the border region.

The project started in 2012 and created a website by the end of the year as a first step to integrate this platform. The platform has four components or strategies:

1. Connect: To identify thinkers, designers, artists, researchers, relevant actors contributing to rethinking the border-region territory.
2. Collect: To generate a platform of knowledge that informs conversations, and creates discussion among different actors.
3. Create: To function as a spin-off of new collaborations and projects, ideally with transdisciplinary focus.
4. Communicate: To extend this ideas and initiatives to decision makers and influence policy makers.

Why the focus on the US-MX border?

On January of 2014 was the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA. Many conditions have been transformed over the last 20 years: markets have opened new areas of exchange, economic flows have increased, multiple transnational programs have been activated and/or unlocked, still political, social and ecological tensions have grown as well.

Especially, the border between Mexico and the U.S. has not been rethought in such a prolific way. Conversely, this ‘line’ is continuously loaded with actions and misconceptions that continue deferring the potential that these tensions might signify. After 20 years of intense change, there has been not enough conversations about re-imagining this territory or what the ole that cities and communities should take in such endeavor.

The Borderless Workshop aims to contribute to a broader understanding of the border beyond its physical limits between Mexico and the US, but as the gateway to Latin America: a real and elastic buffer of tension and collaborative work along its path; a space of transnational and bidirectional forces.

Where everything started.

The idea of border-less started as a project within the GSD Latino student group at the Graduate School of Design. Laura Janka, Víctor Muñoz, Angel Rodríguez and myself had as goal during our urban design program to promote and disseminate Latin American design and architecture practices within the GSD community. During the Fall of 2010 and Spring of 2011 we organized a series of events, conversations and exhibitions that reflected (but also questioned) the current and potential dynamic of the Mexican-American border as the gateway to Latin America.