chapter  7
Embracing the urban contradictions of a border zone
Pages 15

Among the contributions Cruz makes to our understanding of a place-based planning strategy is his clarification of how ethnicity is imprinted on the landscape. In our increasingly diverse urban neighborhoods, there is a need to rethink long-standing planning policies originally implemented to serve different users than those that presently inhabit a locale. Cruz’s photographic studies of borderland habitats demonstrate the power of a subculture over physical form. By degrees, these individual acts of ’transgression’ and ’appropriation’ transform the character of the land within which people reside, and embody the values of the people who live there. In their totality, these disparate human responses (expressed in built form) define the distinctiveness of a region such as the California-Mexico border zone.