Round Three: Juarez
Combining the best practices from Round One and Round Two, Round Three engaged the City of Juarez, Mexico as represented by a consortium of governmental and non-governmental partners with the support of the Mayor, Enrique Serrano. The City is interested in working with talented students from all around the world to gain valuable insights into their urban development challenges, including endemic crime and violence, flooding and heat waves, unemployment, and social inequity. The student teams conducted research on the current state of the urban ecology and then applied systems thinking to specific design challenges as proposed by the City or the students themselves. Stanford and Ljubljana University continued to be involved, along with local university Universdad Autonoma De Cuidad Juarez (UACJ) and additional academic institutions. A strong mentorship community of municipal departments, NGO’s, and community partners was emphasized. Proposed urban challenges ranged from developing sustainable infrastructure to reducing environmental pollutants to revitalizing blighted neighborhoods and commercial corridors.
In recent decades, Juarez has been the site of some of the worst drug-related violence in Mexico. Crime levels and local industries that have shut down due to the global financial crisis have combined to produce high levels of unemployment. However, concerted efforts by the government, civil organizations, and local residents to strengthen law enforcement and risk mitigation systems have begun to gain momentum.
To build on these changes, the city will need to address the ongoing threat of flooding, which puts both public safety and economic development at risk. Plans to deal with storm water, for example, through its collection in groundwater wells, may help Juarez respond better to annual heat waves. This would help protect those most threatened, vulnerable and transient populations. Juarez also continues to face an influx of immigrants from other parts of Mexico and countries to the south. Juarez will need to continue focusing funding and technical capacity on improving its deteriorating infrastructure for power, sanitation, gas, and other services to confront this confluence of challenges (100 Resilient Cities).
In addition to the support of the Mayor, Enrique Serrano, representing the City of Juarez for this project was the following group of key stakeholders (henceforth referred to as the City):
- Vicente Lopez - General Director of Municipal de Investigación y Planeación (IMIP)
- Salvador Barragan - Programs and Plans Coordinator of IMIP
- Alejandra Corona - Desarrollo Urbano / Gobierno Municipal
- Nathali Torres - Desarrollo Urbano / Gobierno Municipal
- Enrique Portillo - ITESM/ Citizens Board of Public Safety
- Miguelangel Iglesias - Empleabilidad 2020 / Reto Ubuntu
- Graciela Aguirre - Superarte / Reto Ubuntu
- Guillermo Asiain - JovesMAS / FICOSEC
- Cesar Solís - Fundación Comunitaria de la Frontera Nort (FCFN)
- Alejandra Madero - Help!
- Ferny Ruiz Aguilar - Fundación Caritá
Student work was presented to the City in packages over the course of four phases:
Preliminary Research: Studying the city and answering research questions
Final Research: Identifying systemic challenges and setting target goals
Preliminary Design: Developing macro/micro solutions
Final Design: Compilation of all work incorporating all feedback to date
The goal of the project wasis to make strategic decisions about how Juarez should approach development that best suit the synergistic interests of residential, commercial, industrial, and public sectors. Participants collaborated as a full team and in focus groups through the research and design phases. The team included members from all participating universities and combine a diversity of skill sets. The team delivered a comprehensive development plan with target goals followed by individual macro or micro projects which were reviewed by the City in the final phase of the project. The team's was to use all resources available to them to understand Juarez and make the best decisions for urban growth and development.