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This Future City Could Be The First Step To Erasing The US/Mexico Border

Fernando Romero Enterprise

Mexican architect Fernando Romero has a very ambitious plan: to connect the U.S. and Mexico with one futuristic binational city. This is literally the most extreme take on the erase-the-border narrative.

This border-straddling city is the dream of Mexican architect Fernando Romero.

Fernando Romero Enterprise
CREDIT: Fernando Romero Enterprise

Not only does the city have a touch of the super futuristic, it is also a way of literally erasing the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The city would be anchored between New Mexico and Texas, and would race down to Chihuahua, Mexico. Fernando Romero is hoping to have the city built in 12 years.

The proposed city would take up 3,121,531,000 square feet, roughly 111 square miles.

Fernando Romero Enterprise
CREDIT: Fernando Romero Enterprise

For reference, the city of Los Angeles is about 503 square miles, making this new city one-fifth the size. The red line in the image above shows the U.S.-Mexico border as it exists today.

The architect has really planned this out, and has given glimpses of how the city’s moving pieces–like a train system–would function.

Fernando Romero Enterprise
CREDIT: Fernando Romero Enterprise

“With technology, those borders are just becoming symbolic limits,” Romero told Dezeen Magazine. “The reality is that there exists a very strong mutual dependency of economies and trades.”

And the bus system.

Fernando Romero Enterprise
CREDIT: Fernando Romero Enterprise

“The border is very primitive as a limit,” Romero added. “It operates very efficiently from the north to the south, America to Mexico, because there’s nobody stopping the cars and the traffic, but the other way around it is very inefficient.”

Fernando Romero Enterprise wants to set the standard of future metropolises by studying past examples of cultural blending across borders.

Fernando Romero Enterprise
CREDIT: Fernando Romero Enterprise

“The concept is rooted in the long history of places where frontiers meet, cities where cultures both clash and blend to create something altogether unique, places like Hong Kong, Andorra, Baarle Hertog/Baarle Nassau, and Standstead/Derby Line,” said the press release according to City Lab.

“Border City is the first integrated masterplan for a binational city conducive to both sides of the border, employing tools of enterprise such as special economic zones to argue for its viability,” the press release states, according to City Lab.

Fernando Romero Enterprise
CREDIT: Fernando Romero Enterprise

This seems like the first logical step to finally advancing to the future we all imagine.

The Fifth Element / Gaunt
CREDIT: The Fifth Element / Gaunt

READ: This Mexican Father Crosses Borders Daily For His Children

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The Father Of Chicano Theater Just Received This Prestigious Honor From President Obama

Things That Matter

The Father Of Chicano Theater Just Received This Prestigious Honor From President Obama

CREDIT: I AM THEATRE / YOUTUBE

This is Luis Valdez. At 76 years of age, Valdez has devoted his career to advancing Latino culture through the arts.

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CREDIT: SJSU / INSTAGRAM

You can call him “The Father of Chicano Theater.”

Though you might not recognize his name, chances are that you’re very familiar with Valdez’s most well-known works: “La Bamba” and “Zoot Suit.”

Credit: Columbia Pictures and Universal
CREDIT: Credit: Columbia Pictures and Universal

The play “Zoot Suit” debuted in 1978 in Los Angeles to critical acclaim. By 1979, the play was brought to Broadway, making Valdez the first Chicano writer-director to have such an honor.

Credit: Universal
CREDIT: Credit: Universal

Three years later, Valdez directed a film adaptation of the play which starred Edward James Olmos as “El Pachuco.”

CREDIT: Universal Movies / YOUTUBE

With a story that revolved around the Sleepy Lagoon murder and the Zoot Suit Riots, the play (and movie) gave audiences a glimpse into the prejudice Mexican-Americans faced in Los Angeles during the 1940s.

Credit: MCA Records
CREDIT: Credit: MCA Records

“With their flashy ensembles, distinct slang, extra cash, and rebellious attitude,” explains Catherine Ramirez, “pachucos and pachucas participated in a spectacular subculture and threatened the social order by visibly occupying public spaces.” As a result of their flashy zoot suits, Mexican-Americans faced daily harassment from the police, who felt the clothes were unpatriotic. “Zoot Suit” would go on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy.

Valdez’s next big success was “La Bamba,” the beloved Ritchie Valens biopic. The movie cemented Valdez’s reputation as a champion of Chicano culture.

CREDIT: LA BAMBA / COLUMBIA PICTURES

Thanks to the amazing performances of Esai Morales and Lou Diamond Phillips, “La Bamba” was able to connect with audiences from all backgrounds.

The soundtrack to “La Bamba” was a massive success as well, going multi-platinum during its run.

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CREDIT: GET IMPORT CDS / EBAY

If you grew up in the ’80s, this album was probably burned into your ear drums by your parents.

Though “La Bamba” and “Zoot Suit” were most people’s introduction to his work, Valdez had already been hard at work for many decades.

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CREDIT: KTEHTV / INSTAGRAM

In 1961, Valdez won a playwriting contest for a one-act play he wrote while at San Jose State University. He followed this achievement by producing his first full-length play, “The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa,” which premiered at SJSU in 1964.

After college, Valdez turned his focus to a project that could help the Latino community. In 1965, that project became El Teatro Campesino, a theatre troupe made up of farmworkers that wrote and starred in plays about their daily lives.

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CREDIT: Pedro Pablo Celedón / YOUTUBE

“When I went to school,” Luis wrote, “I discovered that there were no books, no stories dealing with the history of Latinos in the United States. […] I wanted to do something about it, and so I ended up writing plays about my own people, writing plays about our culture, writing plays about our history.”

The plays covered serious topics that affected farmworkers, but they employed a healthy amount of humor to help the morale of the workers and their families.

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CREDIT: SJSU / YOUTUBE

Humor also worked because, as Luis explains, “…one of the great things El Teatro did was it defused that type of violence because we were out there performing. They can’t attack the circus; you don’t attack the clown.”

Luis’s connection to farmworkers stemmed from his days working the fields and seeing the conditions they worked in. Valdez never stopped fighting for the rights of his friends and fellow workers.

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CREDIT: SJSU / YOUTUBE

“My early experience in the field,” wrote Valdez, “picking cotton for such low wages, touring the migrant labor camps, living in those miserable conditions, going into town and being looked at strangely — ‘here come the Mexicans.’ And this in a place where I’d been born. What the hell was going on?”

By 1971, Valdez’s efforts led to the creation of an actual theater in San Juan Bautista.

CREDIT: MALDONADO SI / INSTAGRAM

Valdez credits Cesar Chavez as one of the creators of the theater. “All of this came together and gelled for me when I met César Chávez […] I not only admired what he was, I followed him, and so in 1965, I went back to Delano, California, where I was born, and I pitched him the idea for a farm workers’ theater.”

Throughout his life, Luis Valdez’s inspirational story has motivated people to follow in his footsteps. Kinan Valdez, Luis’ son, is doing his part to spread his father’s message.

CREDIT: GRANDPARK LA / INSTAGRAM

In 2015, Kinan directed the San Jose State University stage production of “Zoot Suit.” It was the first time the play had been performed at his father’s alma mater.

We’re excited to see Luis Valdez receive the National Medal of Arts from President Obama, who is a reflection of how much society has changed thanks to the efforts of people like Valdez.

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CREDIT: I AM THEATRE / YOUTUBE

“I’m so happy this happened before Obama’s term is over—this is one of his last official functions,” Valdez told Free Lance. “He’s awarded lot of medals to a lot of significant artists, and it’s important to be in this group.”


READ: Remember The Two Undocumented Valedictorians? NPR Has Their Story

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