17 June 2006

a fence with more beauty

The Times has asked a handful of architects to propose creative responses to the U.S. - Mexico "border fence" that surely, in one form or another, will play a part in the immigration reform legislation currently under debate in Congress. It's an interesting premise, and a worthy attempt by the Times to inject some sort of creative or imaginitive impulse into what promises to be a purely functional, fortress-like endeavor. Unfortunately, both the journalistic effort and the architectural responses fall short. The most provocative ideas come from landscape architect James Corner, who has proposed a large-scale hybrid of heavy industry and green infrastructure as a way to activate the border and transform a place of conflict into a zone of production. These conversations, however, should be taking place beyond the pages of the Week in Review section of the New York Times. Progressive politicians should stop bickering over whether this fence will take shape and should immediately start brainstorming about exactly what shape it will take. Of course, if I were to make a wager, I'd say that our impending border fence would resemble more Israel's West Bank barrier than Corner's utopian imagery, but it doesn't hurt to hope for something better, right?
link: "A Fence With More Beauty, Fewer Barbs" by William Hamilton, in the New York Times

No comments: