Border City

Border City is a vision for a new bi-national development and pro-active response to increasing urbanization along one of the world’s most important borders, that of the USA and Mexico, where the border states are now home to over 100 million people. The proposal comes at a particularly opportune moment when the issues of immigration, border control, and free trade are being debated around the world, often in provocative and incendiary terms.

FR-EE’s concept imagines a new positive urban-border condition—underpinned by sustainable principles, open space, and smart city concepts—that can be a laboratory for bi-national development in the 21st century. Border City is the first integrated masterplan for a binational city conducive to both sides of the border, employing tools such as special economic zones to argue for its viability. This new urban prototype, with a hexagonal plan, adopts economic, social, cultural and environmental sustainability as urban assets and organizing principles for the proposal’s design.

To lend physical form to the concept, the proposal is situated on the three bordering states of New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua. The completion of the new inland port of Santa Teresa, the I-10 highway connecting the east and west coasts, seven existing border crossings in the area, and a new pilot project by U.S. Customs and Border Protection whereby officials will clear cargo before it leaves manufacturing plants together represent an extraordinary opportunity for innovation at every level of the international supply chain.

A main international axis is a spine for urban development, and a new connection with the Santa Teresa inland port establishes an industrial axis between both countries. The city expands radially to connect communities via central transportation routes that create hexagonal connections between the radial streets to optimize distances. Additional nodes are created to shape the polycentric city with multiple hubs of activity, including research, educational and health centers. To promote walking and connectivity, all residents are within an 8-minute walk of transportation stations. The architecture of the streets is subsequently designed for natural cooling with local vegetation and narrow streets to foster a sense of community, activity, and character in the various neighborhoods. Border City was presented at the London Design Biennale 2016.






Land area:

29,000 hectares


Mexico, US border






Flexible architecture to allow for versatile programming and growth providing safe public space for the area.



Fernando Romero, Sergio Rebelo, Unai Artetxe, Jessica Wang, Daniela Gallo, Ruoting Wang, Joao Urbano, Pedro Ramírez de Aguilar, Gaia Cella, Aleksandra Lukianova, Romain Thijsen, Luis Torres Lira, Yuri Jeong, Francisco Rocha, Rigel Davila, Qingyi Chen, Moss Palmer. David Forsyth, Filipe Jose Lacerda Neto, Alan Mauricio Parra Vázquez, Osmin Josue Lopez Avalos, Dante Baldassin, Tracy Guzikowski, Gabriel Maese, Turku Colak, Yanni Wang, Yuan Liu, Yueming Zhao, Xiao Gu.


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