Borderland DBD 101
The purpose of this section is to introduce the concept of “Dual Border Development” or DBD.
Currently, in this political presidential cycle 2016, the border has drawn attention in the form of needing a border wall. Of all the nearly 2000 miles of border between the US and Mexico, what comes up as a national policy towards the border is the need for a border wall.
Currently, the US economy has seen steady growth which Mexico is able to produce goods and deliver through multiple points along the border. The border has seen steady growth as well.
The border is highly reliant on Mexico and US trading which brings much trade through the border at several locations. Additionally, Mexico continues to expand its manufacturing base where many of those imports are received in the US. Mexico manufacturing brings new opportunities to the border.
Regionally, population increase along the border, water becomes a more distant threat to some communities to maintain future consumption levels, more efforts are needed to conserve resources, harness alternative energy, and diversify their economies.
Borderland 101 is an introduction to concepts and terms for a general audience.
The subject is the physical area of what is called the border.
Dual Border Development:
It is the development of both US or Mexico national interest in trade and the required infrastructure needed for this important and growing relationship.
It is also the local urban city interest in borderland and or regional development.
If the border is to change you have to think of architecture, ideal, pattern, model and my favorite, paradigm shift.
Each of these words reveals something about a definition of now except paradigm shift. At least I could not find a word that quite expresses the meaning of what needs to be done better than the word “paradigm shift.”
So to change the border perception is to change the architecture, ideal, pattern, model of what urban areas along the border do thus a paradigm shift has to take place.
If we want to change the border, then we have to understand our current architecture. Architecture here is defined as “the fundamental underlying design” between the two urban centers along the border[i]. The greatest characteristic of this architecture is the growth of two independent sister cities and transportation links that pass through billions of dollars of goods.
The apparent ideal, defined as “an ultimate objective or aim of endeavor,” has been to build roads mostly paid by federal funds to provide more access to and from the US / Mexico border for the purpose of trade or just anything that is moved over the border to be consumed some distance from the border region.[ii]
A pattern, defined as “a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies, etc., forming a consistent or characteristic arrangement” has borne out over decades dictated by local geography, population, and trade.
Does now the border provide a model, defined as “a standard or example for imitation or comparison” for other cities or more importantly, does the large urban border sister cities provide a model for smaller growing sister cities.
Although many may agree perception of the border must change, such a change is one that cannot be recognized by our current generation. It might be realized by the future generation only by the current generation making changes that they may not be able to see very well today. It is all in the perception of today that gives this generation the greatest insight into the future.
Our current universities can help us understand our current architecture. It would be like mapping out everything that exist and understanding their function. That normally would include where the high load roads are and in what direction they go. What lies near them as zoning areas? Where are the airports located? Where is the river and mountains located in relationship to these other man-made objects?
Although studies can be performed about the relationship of the physical objects and their efficiency to both sister cities, my favorite is the discussion about the airports located in both large urban sister cities. It is an advantage to have two such facilities which the border created as it has created two sister cities. Yet that they act mostly independent of each other is a weakness in the regional urban sister city architecture. This of course is a layman’s observation of the poor architectural relationship of sister cities.
Ideally, large urban sister cities want to have more trade with the opposing country thus was born NAFTA and large manufacturing growth in Mexico. Both private investment in rail or trucking / logistics grew as a result of this growing trade between both the US and Mexico. Yet more ideally, urban sister cities want to look more like modern diverse economies and less like transportation through points. They want more cluster industries such as medical, tourism, and research.
Many of the patterns developed over decades between all 15 sister cities can reveal useful information and the underlying fact is because there is a border. A positive pattern is early diversification of the Hispanic population than in most parts of the US in this case. Negative patterns include high rates of poverty also as compared to the rest of the US for US border residents. Patterns are simply facts or metric points upon to reduce or increase from those points.
A question that should be asked by political and business elite (a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group) in large urban sister cities is the following: Does this pair of sister cities serve as a model to smaller and growing border sister cities?
What would it reveal to know what other sister cities think of each other and what they would aspire to look like as individual cities or as a pair?
What is change? What is to change? Currently, in this 2016 presidential cycle, the point Donald Trump makes is that the border is open and a wall paid by Mexico is needed.
Hillary Clinton general stance is that the border is secure enough and should concentrate on trying to legalize illegal immigrants.
During the recent US – Mexico Border Summit, both US and Mexico ambassadors may have “emphasized the need for quality infrastructure while maintaining security.”[iii] A common comment and theme.
“We have a perception/reality issue between the way the rest of the country views the border and the value of the border, our relationships and their own self-interests,” - Wood Hunt
Unfortunately, reality is perception. The reality is that the perception of the border is correct and real, also. It is about degree and what portion of the border life it consumes. For most border residents, little to none.
Most border residents go about their business regardless of what is going on along the border and to a great degree, what does happen affects less than 1% of any population along the border. Literally? No but figuratively? Yes.
Those persons who actually have land along the border may have or have seen illegal immigrants cross into the US through their land. But this is specific to their location and again does not affect most people who live along the border.
For people who see that there is a boundary between two countries and see on TV immigrants crossing illegally or a border wall, that is the only reality they know about the border.
The population not familiar or have lived on the border does not know about how really life is on the border because all they have seen about the border is the border fence and hear or read about illegal immigrants crossing the border. That is the reality.
Change thus comes from understand what is the perception or reality they are observing.
Thus from the perspective of Donald Trump, who probably does not know the border well, his perception is correct about immigrants coming through a border and needing to build a bigger wall.
Hillary Clinton’s perception appears to be based on factual data about decrease immigration crossings and either the existing fence or policies have achieved this and wants to move on to immigration reform.
What the border experience tends to be year to year are the following:
Illegal Immigration which is more of a problem in most other US cities not even along the border but they attach the problem to the border because it is the source of this problem.
Security and law enforcement in both securing the border and its function within the system of US and Mexico trade infrastructure.
Illegal drug trade has been mixed with illegal immigration as well as the threats these drug cartels pose to the border region that undermines Mexico law and order.
What is additionally needed is borderland development but what does that mean? For the perception of most US households to change what the border represents is to stop showing them what the border really looks like.
For that to happen, the border in urban areas or rural areas has to look different.
When they only see a border fence and hear accounts of people crossing the border illegally, that is all they have been shown.
The political elite and power broker elite must understand that reality or perception of the border will never change as long as that is all people outside the border region see about this area.
You can go back as far as 1970’s and find film footage or TV broadcast that would look and sound the same as 2016 because little has changed. That change is the borderland itself.
Time for DBD
First, there is the border region which consist of 15 sister cities along close to 2000 miles of shared border between the US and Mexico.
Second, there is the rural border and the urban border.
Third, illegal immigration used to be more of an urban problem but more recently is a rural border problem. Most illegal immigrants come through rural areas of the border.
Fourth, urban borders have land between the sister cities which we will call borderlands. For some, this land is split along the border through their urban core and for other urban borders, it is vacant land.
For most if not all urban borders, DBD is a concept that is needed to redefine the urban border and create the paradigm shift that is really required to make the change which will visibly change the perception of what the border looks like.
What the political and business elite need to understand is that both the border for international trade needs to continue to develop which requires much federal help in roads and trade infrastructure. Private business thrives from this investment.
And also the development of the borderlands needs to be re-developed or developed where land is vacant.
Illegal immigration affects San Francisco, Houston, Boston and many other major US cities more than it affects the border since most of these illegal migrants have gone into these other cities for employment.
Border infrastructure is needed to expand trade but that largely benefits the nation as a whole more so than the border region. This is still a necessary investment.
So borderland development is the physical real estate development of the land that touches the border.
This is the subject and point that has escaped local political and business elite along the border for decades.
As beautiful of a city that some urban sister cities may be, the only area most people see on TV is that less than 5% of the city that touches the border and that is where the perception problem is created and stays.
Until that 5% of city land or its borderland in these urban areas change, these sister cities will never change the perception of what the border really looks like ever.
Borderland development is the actual development of land in an urban area currently occupied by a fence, near a fence, or vacant with a fence. All sister cities need to take back this land and develop it for their economic development of their city.
Because economic development is market driven process to build wealth, it is the best solution to border security.
Can you imagine for the next 100 years an urban border city limit facing a border that it is occupied by law enforcement or can you imagine that 10,000’s of people use this borderland for everyday use, transportation, and recreation.
North Americans have an easier sense of seeing the latter than the first because we expect economic development and change over time as part of the cultural norm and understanding of the free market system.
It is well know that infrastructure development of the border is necessary for trade and growth of the border region. That has been going on since the border became a border between US and Mexico.
This is the first leg of the dual nature of DBD and has long established players and proponents along the border as well as the country as a whole.
Locally along the 2000 miles of border, each sister city pairs need to develop their borderland for their internal development as a city but create in a way which security is built into this development.
This is the second leg of the dual nature of DBD and has no real precedence.
There is no real precedence since for decades it is believed that this area is strictly the purview of the federal government of the US and Mexico.
Not only does that not have to change, what has to change is that these two federal governments must give these urban borderlands two their respective cities so they can develop these borderlands with the requirement of border security.
Never will it be true that a border fence is security but is a system of security that includes military like monitoring and occupation.
In an urban border, this security system can be replaced by a system of walls, glass screenings, height, use as a walkable surface, and security apparatus of cameras, city police, and border patrol agents. The current concept that uses these components as a system is El Paseo Internacional del Norte for the El Paso and Cd Juarez border region.
The wall in this case is an elevated wall in respect to the levee elevation for the purpose of both physical encumbrance and additional flood protection.
Economic features of a border fence system vs El Paseo
See below a comparison between both systems of border security.
Border fence requires constant monitoring at the federal level and tax support. 100 percent.
El Paso / Cd Juarez borderland is vacant, dark at night, and possibly dangerous.
The image of this area will always be associated with border problems and illegal immigration.
The federal government will endlessly pay for this maintenance.
There is few to no economic development near or along the borderland or its abutting property.
There is no wealth generation in this system and in fact is a wealth de-generator due to the poor perception to develop near this borderland area.
The river is unknown to most residents in either city due to the danger or restrictions placed in the area.
The borderland and its abutting property represent the 10 percent lowest economically developed areas and poverty is common.
Ports of entry
Data and data warehousing
High Density development
Difference between investing in the borderland vs border region
Two different avenues have to be taken when developing border development plans. One for Border Region development and the other for Borderland development.
Political and business elite must obtain from both country capitals development plans for both. Examples below show the kind of investment would help which part of border development.
This reference is useful to ascertain from a government source some basic definitions and scope used by this agency. Important to note the number of counties and states affected. The web site list 15 pairs of sister cities.
 Border Region as used by borderhealth.org
Ambassadors from US and Mexico “emphasized the need for quality infrastructure while maintaining security.”
El Paseo can generate a tax base used to support city police patrol alongside fewer border patrol agents.
The land as redeveloped land can be a walkable surface to and from other locations along the borderland.
The images can one of an exciting place to visit and recreation.
City can contribute to the security and physical up keep for generations to come unless the border is to be dissolved. Unlikely.
It may take two or more generations to fully develop the borderland and its abutting properties due to the large land mass involved and development over time.
New wealth will be created in new development of pedestrian ports of entry, commercial hub development, mass transit links, and new employment opportunities.
The river, which brought the founders to the area, will be admired once again.
The borderland and its abutting properties will have the highest income and property values than the rest of their city.