From Matamoros to Tijuana, Mexican border cities have long evoked for their neighbors to the north images of cheap tourist playgrounds and, more recently, industrial satellites of American industry. These sensationalized and simplified perceptions fail to convey the complexity and diversity of urban form and functionand of cultural personalitythat characterize these places.
The Mexican Border Cities draws on extensive field research to examine eighteen settlements along the 2,000-mile border, ranging from towns of less than 10,000 people to dynamic metropolises of nearly a million. The authors chronicle the cities' growth and compare their urban structure, analyzing them in terms of tourist districts, commercial landscapes, residential areas, and industrial and transportation quarters.
Arreola and Curtis contend that, despite their proximity to the United States, the border cities are fundamentally Mexican places, as distinguished by their cultural landscapes, including town plan, land-use pattern, and building fabric. Their study, richly illustrated with over 75 maps and photographs, offers a provocative and insightful interpretation of the geographic anatomy and personality of these fascinatingand rapidly changingcommunities.
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