UCSD-ALACRÁN COMMUNITY STATION
We must move beyond hospitality to inclusion
The UCSD-ALACRÁN Community Station is located in the Alacrán Canyon, a precarious Tijuana settlement near the border-wall that has become a shelter to hundreds of Haitian and Central American migrants. The UCSD-ALACRÁN Community Station is our fourth, and newest Community Station site.
THE LOCATION: ALACRÁN CANYON, TIJUANA, B.C., MEXICO
Alacrán Canyon, an informal settlement at the periphery of Tijuana adjacent to the borderwall, and ½ mile from our UCSD / Divina Community Station site. Citizens to achieve what they have. They have no formal institutional support of any kind.
THE PARTNERSHIP: Embajadores de Jesús
Gustavo Banda-Aceves is a Tijuana-based activist-pastor-economist. He and his wife Zaida Guillen acquired a small parcel of land many years ago in the Alacrán Canyon, an informal settlement at the periphery of Tijuana adjacent to the borderwall, and ½ mile from our UCSD / Divina Community Station site. It was always their dream to build their home and their church on this land. But in the last years they decided instead to build emergency housing to shelter hundreds of Haitian refugees after the City of Tijuana turned its back on them. What began in 2016 as a few small structures built with their own hands, and the hands of the immigrants they house, has incrementally evolved into a full-on ecology of housing units and public spaces threaded into what seems like impossible canyon topography, ready to receive new arrivals by the hundreds and to absorb a variety of community uses and social support programs. They have named the project “Little Haiti.”
In 2019, the so-called “caravan” began to arrive in Tijuana. Gustavo and Zaida opened their doors to all, because, as they say, Central Americans, Mexicans, and Haitians are all a part of the same humanity.
The Physical Infrastructure: Emergency housing as an engine of economic development
We are partnering with Templo de Embajadores de Jesus to develop emergency housing and public space infrastructure for hundreds of Haitian and Central American migrants. We seek not only to increase the housing capacity of the non-profit but to produce longer term solutions for families, embedded in a set of social programs co-developed through our UCSD-Alacrán Community Station, and an infrastructure of productivity, through economic incubators, fabrication shops, a nursery and an industrial kitchen.
A partnership with Templo de Embajadores de Jesus to mobilize the Mecalux system in the Alacrán canyon of Tijuana as emergency housing and public infrastructure for hundreds of Haitian and Central American migrants.
Fonna Forman, “Top-Down / Bottom-Up: Co-producing the City” in Political Theory and Architecture, eds. Duncan Bell and Bernardo Zacka. London: Bloomsbury, 2019, forthcoming
Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz “Rethinking Hospitality in an Era of Global Closure,” Catalogue Essay in In/Out : Designing Inclusion and Hospitality, eds. Matthieu Berger and Miogag Mitrasinovic, Metrolab, 2017. https://www.academia.edu/37810963/Designing_urban_inclusion_2018_
The Educational Programming: Moving from Hospitality to Inclusion
As our newest Community Station, our educational programming is still in development. We seek to advance a new model of emergency housing that moves past the first humanitarian gesture of shelter to a more sustainable social and economic fabric for migrant families to thrive. UC San Diego researchers and students will work closely with community residents and Templo de Embajadores de Jesus to co-develop inclusive cultural, social and educational programming, which is the ultimate challenge of migration in cities today.