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ABOUT THE PROJECT

Postcards from the Border engages civic tools, visual representation, and new methods of urban research to explore the social and ecological dynamics of the El Paso + Ciudad Juárez border region and advance narratives consistent with local experiences—that these two cities operate as one. 

 

In a landscape complicated by national narratives, news headlines, the changing effects of climate, a shared river, and the physical infrastructure of a linear border, the medium of the postcard reflects on how representations of places can take on new meanings once lived and experienced. 

 

The sequence of postcards in this collection is the synthesis of a journey along the bi-national corridor that stretches between El Paso Avenue and Avenida 16 de Septiembre. It is a record of people and stories we’ve encountered — people who cross the border regularly to work, shop, visit family and friends; community leaders who work with people on both sides of the border; and new residents to the region, finding their place in either city. These postcards create a unique frame from which new social and ecological counter-narratives of this border region can emerge.


The project began in 2018 as a collaborative research project between Angela Crisostomo and Gabriel Vergara for the Resilient Design: Ecological Infrastructure Seminar at Columbia University GSAPP taught by Kate Orff. The project was awarded the William Kinne Fellows Traveling Prize in 2019 and has since been enriched by the continued support and collaboration of local partners and individuals.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Gabriel Vergara​

Gabriel Vergara is an architect and urban designer from Chile who has worked on projects in Chile, Peru, and New York. Gabriel holds a Master's degree in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University, GSAPP.

Angela Crisostomo​

Angela Crisostomo is an architect and urban designer from the Philippines with a background in planning and business development. Angela holds a Master's Degree in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University, GSAPP.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Our deep gratitude to our project advisors Kate Orff and David Smiley for their very thoughtful advice and guidance in the development of this project. The ideas behind this project would not have been possible without the experiences, discussions, and collaborations we had during our time at Columbia GSAPP's MS Architecture and Urban Design program. 

A special thank you to Pablo Chavez, for sharing his knowledge and perspective of the twin cities El Paso, Ciudad Juárez, and the Rio Grande/Bravo.    

We also wish to thank the following individuals for their time and conversation:
Nicole Ferrini (Chief Resilience Officer, City of El Paso), Eric Pearson (El Paso Community Foundation), Tracy Yellen (Paso del Norte Community Foundation), Rafael Saldivar (Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral), Cristina Coronado (Casa de Acogida, Parroquia de Corpus Cristi), Christian Diego (Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez), Lorena Soria (Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral), Ivonne Lopez (Casa del Migrante), Jazmin Sifuentes, Daniel Martinez, and Fernando Hurtado.

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Project supported by the William Kinne Fellows Traveling Prize