I was encouraged by the imaginative talk given last night at Miami University by Donna Forman and Teddy Cruz (see below for a link to one of their previous talks). They discussed strategies for relinking communities across the Tijuana/San Diego border. Interestingly, they’ve taken up the idea of the Tijuana River basin as a means for reimagining a common public for residents of this borderland, reminiscent of John Wesley Powell’s late 19th century argument for organizing western US political geography along water basins, since those units would necessarily require greater political coordination to overcome arid conditions. Forman and Cruz also discussed the political processes created by the mayors of Bogotá (Mockus) and Medellín (Fajardo), especially those around finding a common public and “centralizing knowledges,” respectively. This latter concept, using local political office to bring together different institutions and community representatives, is intriguing. My question, however, was whether processes to create a common public vision and overcome the violence of borders were applicable to places where the borders had been created to “decentralize” knowledge, i.e., to separate peoples and end warfare. In mind were Baghdad, Mitrovica, the West Bank among many others. In other words, are the processes identified by Mockus and Fajardo capable of moving beyond the negative peace of separation?
Architects Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman presented a call to action at the New Museum’s IdeasCity Conference in New York City.