The lack of major economic investment, combined with the abundance and exploitation of cheap labor, has prevented a culture of design and building from developing in Tijuana. Regardless, the city fosters a dynamic environment for architects to experiment with alternative ideas of practice through a network of small and informal businesses. It is this environment that attracts most of the firms listed below and keeps them reformulating their constructive and ideological methods and creating practices that opt for process and experimentation.

A long and ongoing history of illegal development, combined with the city's identity as a place outside the jurisdiction of the "puritanical" laws of the U.S., have had an enormous impact on the urban form of contemporary Tijuana. Beginning as an invisible line separating Tijuana and San Diego, the border has become increasingly fortified, turning San Diego into the world's largest gated community and contradicting the trend in contemporary architecture towards mobility and lightness. Tijuana is a city searching for its own architectural language. Housing in Tijuana, and thus the growth of the city, is in the hands of the developers who are more interested in maximizing land values than in addressing the needs of the city or its inhabitants. A checklist for strategic intervention in the downtown area READINGS
For Mike Davis, the culture and polticis of Paris was just over the border. Tijuana explains it all the time: It is easier to reveal what I am not, than what I am. The idea that a trans-border urban region exists between San Diego and Tijuana is a fallacy. For author Yépez, Tijuana is a city that helps explain Beckett and Kafka. A two minute journey across Tijuana.

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