This multi-disciplinary studio will work with the government of the US-Mexico border State of Tamaulipas, Mexico, to develop and anticipate rapid urban growth solutions for urban infrastructure. The work will give emphasis to the creation of places that are sustainable, resilient, and regenerative.
Mexico recently approved a set of constitutional reforms that focus on energy. The State of Tamaulipas is rich in oil and gas deposits and is planning for rapid future growth of towns and cities once the conditions for new oil and gas exploitation are reached (currently, low oil prices have stopped this anticipated development). Sustainable energy is also part of the reform and Tamaulipas is also looking at the potential of wind energy to contribute to the local economy and competitiveness.
The range of programmatic components that relate to the needs of a better form of urbanization in Tamaulipas include new housing development and infrastructure, densification and retrofit of existing neighborhoods, low impact development, and a special attention to the development and use of green infrastructure at multiple scales to manage storm water, reduce urban heat island effects, regenerate rivers and streams, and provide opportunities for recreation—all of which contribute to making cities more livable.
This studio represents phase 2 in a larger research grant collaboration between the University of Texas at Austin and the State government of Tamaulipas. Phase 1 consisted on research of best practices of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning from Texas. These practices and project case studies are going to be a starting point for the studio.
With this range of projects, the studio will ideally be composed of landscape architecture, urban design, and architecture students.
There is one trip to the border planned as part of the studio. If the studio is granted permission to cross the border into Mexico from UT Austin International Oversight Committee (Tamaulipas is a "high risk" restricted region for travel per UT Austin International Office Risk assessment), the group will visit project site(s) in a border town (which one is to be confirmed) in Tamaulipas. It is also probable that the studio will meet with State Government officials and visit the sites with them as well.