Shawn Lutz

Shawn Lutz

Houston, TX, US


Blurring Borders

This senior-level thesis explored differences of cultures and markets along the U.S./Mexico border. The urban fabric and economics of poverty within cities intrigue the notion of the deserted border. These clusters make the fabric of the city dangerous yet intriguing to discover the components. The cheap structural elements don't always work as a singular entity, but sometimes form a surprisingly coherent collective whole. As stated by Mike Davis in his book Magical Urbanism, "It [the border] functions like a dam creating a reservoir of labor-power on the Mexican side of the border that can be tapped on demand via secret aqueduct managed by polleros, iguanas and coyotes (as smugglers of workers and goods are locally known) for farms of south Texas, hotels of Las Vegas and sweatshops of Los Angeles." Critically one can compare the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico to the Cold War’s Berlin Wall separating the two Germanies. 

The border and the almost emergence of a blended culture is broken by government; the relationship between the two governmental agencies is often antagonistic yet also dependent. "The paradox of US-Mexico integration is that a barricade border and the borderless economy are being constructed simultaneously."

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Status: School Project
Location: El Paso, Texas | Juarez, Mexico