Tijuana has been living off San Diego’s leftovers for years. Miniature tract homes destined for demolition in the north are dismantled then replanted in Mexican soil as Lego-like imitations of the “American dream.”
But Teddy Cruz noticed something strange happening a few years after these housing projects were introduced. Residents repainted the beige facades bright pink, orange and green. Tidy lawns became crowded with impromptu workshops, markets and taco stands, and individual units merged together to house extended families. The result was a free-flowing hybrid rooted in local culture.
In an age of monotonous suburbs, gated communities and artificial borders, the UC San Diego visual arts professor and architect mines these Tijuana shantytowns for creative inspiration.
(Published in the January 2009 issue of Triton, the UC San Diego alumni magazine)