WIT Press

More Alike Than Different: Local Collaboration On Brownfields Issues In Border Communities


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M. Singer


More alike than different: local collaboration on brownfields issues in border communities M. Singer The International City County Management Association United States of America Abstract In the Unites States (US) and Mexico there are many well-publicized national borders initiatives. Ultimately, land use and economic development decisions are made on a local level. For these reasons a regional approach to border brownfields redevelopment makes sense, the question is whether or not the geopolitical differences between the countries would be assets or challenges. This presentation looks historically at the dynamics, changes in populations and demographics over the past quarter of a century and the impact that they are having on environmental, social and economic factors today along the US Mexico Border. The issues of simultaneous growth and decline, the changing economic base, outward growth on the cities’ boundaries, increased transportation demands are the very characteristics that mark the regional brownfields issues. In the Juarez- El Paso region, even the periphery properties where new industries are moving have many brownfields issues. The lack of infrastructure in the barrios has created unregulated businesses such as auto-recyclers and illegal dumping. These environmental issues are pasted on top of significant social issues that are a part of many of the root problem. Another challenge to the regional perspective is that of jurisdictional authorities and the dynamic between the federal roles of maintaining and enforcing policies and the state and local approach of solving problem through creative measures that depend on personal acquaintance, agreements and collaboration. As the regional perspective suggests and as the statistics support, there are more elements of life, economy and the environment that are shared