Perspectives - The Blog

Category: New Normal


Posted by The Center on November 25, 2010

(Photo credit: Laura Migliorino, “La Abuela” from the series “Occidente Nuevo – Recycled Tijauna”)

One of the strangest sights in Tijuana is a row of vintage California bungalows resting atop a hollow one-story steel frame. Once destined for demolition across the border, they were loaded on trucks and brought south by developers who have sold them to local residents.

Nicolai Ouroussoff, Shantytowns as the New Suburban Ideal

It sounds absurd at first and a little sad – and then the brilliance hits. As Ouroussoff’s article elaborates, this is architecture with a sound environmental and community impact. Not born of idealism but of pragmatism. Photographer Laura Migliorino was taken by this construct of a new west from the pieces of the old.

Migliorino writes:

La Abuela is from the series Occidente Nuevo- Recycled Tijuana. The series plays off of Robert Adams’ famous series “The New West”, a stunning photo essay about the suburbs in the western United States. The irony of the work is that the new west is created from the debris of the old west.

My initial interest in suburbia is the impact of sprawl, the creation of more garbage, less space to put it and consumerism in general. The suburbs of Tijuana, highlight the positive aspects of a new way of developing suburbia through re-use. The photographs of families put a human face on the recycled homes and challenge the myths of suburbia.

See more of Laura’s work at

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Posted by The Center on November 24, 2010

(Photo credit: Noah Addis, “Untitled from Future Cities: Lima”; Juror’s Honorable Mention)

This urban development is not the dreaming of any town council. After all, only so many little figurines fit on those tiny model cities. The same can be said for the real world that photographer Noah Addis examines in his series “Future Cities.”

He writes:

For the first time in human history, the urban population of the world outnumbers the rural. More than one million people per week leave their rural homes to seek their future in the world’s cities. Many of these migrants end up living in unplanned and unofficial communities. According to United Nations estimates there are more than a billion squatters living today–one out of every six people on earth. This number is expected to double to two billion by 2030. And by the middle of the century there will be three billion squatters.

This informal urban growth is particularly evident in Lima, Peru. New migrants from the Sierras and the Selva, rural parts of the country in the mountains and jungle, come to the city seeking opportunity every day. They settle in the pueblos jovenes, or young towns that circle the city center and are constantly pushing outwards into the harsh desert landscape that surrounds Lima. The settlements begin with modest homes built by hand with plastic tarps or woven reeds. Many of the pueblos jovenes eventually evolve into legal neighborhoods with electricity, running water and local governments.

Head over to to see more of this project

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