Bi-national citizenship culture survey

The San Diego - Tijuana border region's future depends today more than ever on a more substantial bi-national public sensibility, enabling us to think regionally, incentivizing cross- border urban dynamics, to produce new strategies of co-existence and inter-dependence between these two border cities. It is from contested geographies of conflict like this one, where new conceptions of citizenship can be shaped beyond the arbitrary jurisdictional boundaries that too rigidly define cityhood, and beyond the identitarian politics of the nation-state.



These provocations have inspired the construction of the Bi-national Citizenship Culture Survey by the legendary former Bogota Mayor, Antanas Mockus and his non-profit Corpovisionarios, in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego, the municipalities of Tijuana and San Diego and a variety of cross-border local community-based NGO's. The Ford-funded Bi-national Citizenship Culture Survey is an instrument that will measure and help visualize the shared values and norms, the common interests and sense of mutual responsibility around which a new bi-national conception of citizenship can be formed.

The results of the survey will be stewarded by a cross-sector bi-national council, who will develop a set of priorities and proposals in collaboration with the municipalities of San Diego and Tijuana, and will instigate a new era of cooperation between them. By recognizing each other's urban policies and taking account of the assets, resources and ideas that can be shared, the survey will facilitate the co-production of bi-national vision and a process that derives its strength from cross-border synergies, inclusive of the most vulnerable communities on both sides of the border.

Read more about the Bi national citizenship culture survey



Mixplace Studio is a collaborative project that provides an urban education model in order to address the crisis in community participation and political representation. The project aspires to enable conversations between individuals and institutions within West Philadelphia to circulate different ways of thinking and making, linking the knowledge of communities with the knowledge of institutions. People's Emergency Center (PEC), Slought, and PennDesign are the primary Philadelphia institutions who are coming together to form this urban education model. The primary collaborators are neighborhood youth and university students, who are interacting with a diverse faculty of curators, community activists, artists, architects and researchers. The initiative is developing in dialogue with Teddy Cruz at the Center for Urban Ecologies at the University of California, San Diego. The curriculum, social contracts, and public programs of the Studio are guided by a steering committee, whose permanent and rotating members represent the constituencies that are involved. Six principles, representing the aspirations of the constituencies involved, guide the project`s activities:

  • Mixplace wants to enable a space outside of school that talks about the pressures of this world and how to overcome them.
  • Mixplace wants to enable a common language across ages, neighborhoods, and institutions.
  • Mixplace wants to enable exchanges between individuals and institutions, to negotiate the borders that define Philadelphia.
  • Mixplace wants to enable a process through which all individuals and institutional partners will learn from each other, contributing to a renewed sense of trust and the development of a new civic imagination.
  • Mixplace wants to enable neighborhood development and political representation by amplifying and archiving community voices, local histories, and everyday experiences.
  • Mixplace wants to enable a space and provide tools for this conversation to take place.

  • Link:


    Vacant lots initiative

    The Vacant Lots Initative: The Chollas Gathering Place

    The Chollas Creek: New Neighborhood Infrastructures for environmental and socio-economic production

    The neighborhoods of Encanto in Southeast San Diego are the most diverse and poorest neighborhoods in the city, with the highest crime rates, and the highest percentage of failing schools. Like so many communities across the nation, Encanto is emblematic of many inner-city neighborhoods whose physical and social fabric has been disrupted in the last decades by the imposition of freeway infrastructure, pre-emptive water management systems, utility easements and discriminatory land use policies. The Encanto neighborhoods have also suffered from disinvestment and marginalization resulting not only in a fragmented urban fabric, where natural and artificial urban systems collide, but where economic inequality lies at the root of social fragmentation.

    Recognizing that urban sustainability today depends on social economic equity and environmental justice, the City of San Diego began a collaboration with the neighborhoods of Encanto in the last years to develop a master plan to recuperate the Chollas Creek, which traverses precariously across a series of leftover, brownfields and vacant sites through these Southeast San Diego neighborhoods.


    Launch of the Community Farmer’s Market Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz with Leslie Reynolds (Director of Groundwork San Diego) and Landscape Architect, Ilisa Goldman (City of San Diego, Civic Innovation Lab)


    Through special partnerships with the community - led by local non profit organizations such as Groundwork - the City of San Diego, through its Planning and Parks & Recreation Departments, organized a series of workshops to develop a long-range vision plan to restore the creek to its natural state.

    The plan's goal was to recuperate the creek's recreational, educational, and economic benefits to the people of Southeast San Diego. The resulting idea was a "linear park", to act as an environmental armature to organize new forms of public space and other civic amenities for this community.

    This project was led by the Civic Innovation Lab, and conducted in collaboration with Groundwork San Diego, under the leadership of environmental community activist Leslie Reynolds.