By Pablo Bransburg

A checklist for strategic intervention in the downtown area.

Tijuana needs to broaden and generate a hierarchy within its pedestrian areas, with the dual intention of increasing the presence of the user and utilizing the area as a contemporary grand plaza, an area transformed into the cathedral of the city, creating prime ground and dominion for all communities in a city of neighborhoods.

Transform the downtown area into a pedestrian domain, an encounter for communication, making street life a succession of spaces with their own identity. Create a city that reads itself as a continuous stretch of iconic buildings made up of places of encounter and collective manifestations with access points to the central zone.

Restore and recycle significant buildings degraded by a lack of maintenance or the lack of perspective one has of them in an area dominated by automobiles.

The unsuccessful Mexitlan building, an unintegrated element in the network of pedestrian flow, has never fully participated in the activities of the area and, as a result, fails as an icon of the downtown.

Speculation and the absence of legal instruments do not enable Tijuana to realize its full potential. Downtown consists of undeveloped lots that would allow its pedestrian domain to be fully developed.

The urban fabric needs appreciation; if not, the intense livelihood of place and architectonic icons will become null. The same will occur with an overly organized and structured urban fabric; without a program of value and enrichment of its architectonic elements, it will not make sense.

Due to the symbolic character of cultural, commercial and recreational activities, action must be taken to make the street system into a morphological instrument of identification, with distinctive treatments according to context, block by block, in accordance and agreement among all the spaces.

Within the central cultural area, primarily between the axis of Revolution and Constitution Avenue, there are elements with the potential to be developed at an urban scale and appropriate for pedestrians: paths which go from street to street, connecting diagonally with First Street and Revolution Street, with Second Street and Constitution Avenue, diagonals that have urban elements which could serve as an example for the development of new pedestrian paths. It would be interesting as well to initiate a campaign for the restoration of the many significant buildings and their facades, representative of the different eras of architectural history of the city.

Pablo Bransburg is an architect and architecture critic who works in Tijuana and San Diego.

Plaza Santa Cecilia, the only urban gesture remaining of the first urban plan of the city.

Downtown Tijuana, view of pedestrian activity rarely found in other parts of the city.