Plans for a binational border park along the Rio Grande between Mexico and the US have just been released. The development includes 10 kilometers of land on 400 hectares on both sides of the Rio Bravo, connecting the cities of Laredo in Texas and Nuevo Laredo in Mexico.
The park will be developed by a 'team' made up of the agency Overland Partners and the local architectural firm Able City: the selection? With the most classic of public tenders, issued by both cities as part of a program to facilitate tourism and commerce on both sides of the border.
A park halfway between two countries
The 'two Laredos' have planned more than 40 distinct projects on both sides of the river to restore the site's ecology, celebrate their common culture and revitalize the economy. The key themes of the border project, in addition to the environment? Culture, security, economy and the binational community.
The border park will consist of three large areas.
More precisely: the first aims at ecological restoration, it is located about 4km north-east of the cities.
The second it is a 1,5km stretch of structures framed by bridges along the river, and will also include an amphitheater.
Finally, the third it will be a 5km long recreational area that will end on the Mexican side, with the Nuevo Laredo zoo.
A border project that breaks down borders
The designers also envisioned a shared bi-national pedestrian bridge as an extension of the park, which would physically connect the two banks of the river. Before going through customs, visitors from both countries could enjoy a common community space.
A park to embrace the idea of two cities as one community. This was what it was all about: Laredo was a single city on both sides of the Rio Grande, and was only separated when the new US-Mexico border was established.
This project aims to "re-embrace" the community.
An example for others
"This dialogue will hopefully encourage other communities in border towns from Tijuana / San Diego to Matamoros / Brownsville and around the world to open initiatives like this," the promoters said.
The border between the United States and Mexico seems to go in a completely different direction, between the wall wanted by Trump and the use of robot dogs under the Biden administration. May projects like this open our eyes to the idea of uniting human beings, not dividing them.