Donald Trump’s maniacal ways have freaked a lot of people out, whilst (hopefully) inspiring the majority of Americans to head to the polls next month and vote – against Trump, of course.
For those who can’t vote, there are other ways to make sure the tangerine-colored presidential candidate doesn't go about turning the Unites States into some dystopian mess.
One fine example comes from Mexico. To contradict Trump's plan for building a wall across the Mexican-U.S. border, architect Fernando Romero has designed a binational Border City. While showcasing his project at the London Design Biennale 2016, Romero explained:
"This is a long-term vision, a utopian vision that is not about building walls but about thinking more ambitiously about the mutual relationship [between Mexico and America] and about what borders really mean between countries."
Building a grid instead of a wall
Border City is more than a pipe dream, as Romero and his firm FR-EE (Fernando Romero EnterpriseE) plan to actualize the concept over a twelve-year period on land privately owned throughout the border regions of Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua.
The design utilizes smart urban planning, special economic zones, sustainability and population density to render a smart city.
The layout of the city will be based upon a hexagonal grid radiating outwards and connecting with neighboring hexagonal zones, with each epicenter containing cultural, industrial and medical services.
These hexagonal hubs can be added as needed indefinitely. Major transport hubs will intersect the development including the I-10 highway, inland port of Santa Teresa and seven border crossings.
Addressing Trump, Romero states that "in this current moment in politics there's a very strong debate in regards to the binational relationship – and of course the idea of building a wall." He adds:
"This is one of the most active borders in the world in terms of commerce and traffic of goods but also in terms of human activity and employment."
The concept of a super-city is an intriguing one, with the closest approximation, on a physical level, being the Northeast megalopolis, featuring the Boston-New York City-Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington, D.C. corridor.
Here we have the highest population density and urbanized region in the U.S., with over 50 million people (1000 people per square mile) living in that northeast hub.
The border region between the U.S. and Mexico encompasses more than 100 million people, an area ripe for urbanization on a grand scale. However, it will be differentiated, of course, by the fact that a border will run smack dab through its center.
For Border City, Romero sees a special economic zone (SEZ) established, similar to those in Hong Kong, Andorra, etc. whose business and trade laws differ from the rest of the country in order to stimulate investment, trade and economic growth.
New technologies, Romero believes, can facilitate more fluid border crossings and increase the distribution of goods:
"It has tremendous trade possibilities. Whatever goods you produce here you immediately have a train that connects to Los Angeles – so it is the dream situation in terms of having connectivity to the United States."
A groundbreaking win or a potential disaster?
The problem with "utopian" societies, however, is that their allure is not transferable to reality, often times even resulting in massive destruction and death. For instance, Romero's design does not take into account the very real problems of violent gang culture and drug lords who currently thrive in this region.
That is why the utopian ideal has given way, in literature, to the more grim dystopian scenarios as depicted by certain science fiction writers such as in William Gibson's Sprawl series, which fused many cities into one, under geodesic domes.
Romero's concept is structurally more reminiscent of Mega-City One, found in the Judge Dredd comic book series and film, wherein huge square blocks make up the urban terrain. Each block contains its own city-state, possessing a shopping district, school gymnasium and "judge" who, having to deal with a high crime rate, dispenses with criminals on the spot with authority to act as judge, jury and executioner.
An approximation of Romero's Border City could be reached, however, if certain geopolitical realities where addressed, specifically the so-called War On Drugs. This wasteful policy, implemented since the Nixon years, has only caused an increase in crime, drug use and misery on both sides of the border.
Border City can very well be a success if it sets out to not only tear down Trump's proposal for a wall, but also the policies of this dreadful drug war.