Session F:

Mapping Conflict, Visualizing Borders: Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz (UCSD Cross Border Initiative)

The changing geo-political boundaries across continents, the unprecedented demographic shifts produced by the ongoing explosion of urbanization across the world, the migration of peoples because of political and environmental conflicts across continents, and the current economic and political crises everywhere generate new conditions that call into question traditional methods of artistic and architectural intervention in the city, urban scholarship and research.

The complexity of these social, political and economic forces continues to generate global and local zones of conflict, where the drama of these collisions is magnified, transforming the territory, the city and the neighborhood into sites of contestation where different conditions of power are inscribed, at odds with one another. It is ultimately in the contemporary city where the current politics and economics of privatization and control, labor and immigration are manifested physically, dividing it between enclaves of wealth and rings of marginalization.

By localizing the global, we can engage the specificity of spatial, territorial and environmental conditions across critical thresholds, from global border zones to specific local sectors of conflict, re-evaluate the meaning of shifting global dynamics across geo-political boundaries, natural resources, shifting cultural demographics, urbanization and social justice.

This course will present local urban conflict as an operational device to rethink strategies of intervention in the city and the territory.  Participants will work in groups to identify an urban conflict embedded in a particular place or condition – and this case study will be the the subject of a conflict diagram, to be developed over two days and presented at the close of the workshop.

Teddy Cruz is a Professor of Public Culture and Urbanization in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. He is known internationally for his urban research on the Tijuana/San Diego border, advancing border neighborhoods as sites of cultural production from which to rethink urban policy, affordable housing, and public space. Recipient of the Rome Prize in Architecture in 1991, his honors include representing the US in the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award in 2011, and the 2013 Architecture Award from the US Academy of Arts and Letters. 

Fonna Forman is a Professor of Political Theory and Founding Director of the Center on Global Justice at the University of California, San Diego.  A theorist of ethics and public culture, her work focuses on human rights at the urban scale, climate justice in cities, and equitable urban development in the global south.  She serves as Vice-Chair of the University of California Climate Solutions Group, and on the Global Citizenship Commission (advising UN policy on human rights).

Cruz & Forman direct the UCSD Cross-Border Initiative, and are principals in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice in San Diego. Their work emphasizes urban conflict and informality as sites of intervention for rethinking public policy and civic infrastructure, with a special emphasis on Latin American cities. Their practice convenes knowledges from across the fields of architecture and urbanism, environmental and social practice, political theory and urban policy, visual arts and public culture, and mediates the interface between top-down institutions and the bottom-up intelligence of marginalized communities. From 2012-13 they served as special advisors on Civic and Urban Initiatives for the City of San Diego and led the development of its Civic Innovation Lab.