Why build a wall when you can have a park instead?
Part of the current U.S.-Mexico border fence (Image via Wikipedia
On Sunday, Trump wrote a slew of vague tweets about the plan for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, further confounding our already perplexed nation. From what we can tell, Trump is annoyed Democrats refuse to support his $21.6 billion border wall, so he’s proposing yet again that Mexico will pay for it … “at a later date … in some form” … even though Mexico has made it very clear they will not be paying for the wall.
Clearly, the border wall is a mess—or in Trump’s language, a disaster. But there are alternatives to Trump’s slapdash plan that actually involve empathy and creativity. For the design competition “Build the Border Wall,” a panel of judges announced their request for “bold humanitarian solutions, creativity, and innovation to bear on alternative ideas of a border wall.” And the proposals they got in response are nothing short of spectacular.
In a tie for first place, architects Gautier Piechotta and Wu Di collaborated to design an “irrigation wall” that would “draw water from the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea of Cortez, and the Pacific Ocean, desalinate it and flow it into a channel running the length of border.” Less of a wall and more of a man-made river, the irrigation wall could be used for agricultural purposes, habitat restoration, desert revegetation, local community support, and more. “Destabilizing the power balance, this wall could help to finally distribute resources more equally on both sides of the border according to the needs of cities, industries, and farmers,” the project’s designers write. On top of all of these potential uses, the design itself looks beautiful. Put simply, it’s a genius idea.
First Place Winner (Image via Building The Border Wall)
Also tying for first place is a team of four designers behind the idea for an “Inflatoborder” made of flexible, multipurpose bubbles. “We reject the border wall as a fetishized object and call for the two nations to live within and around their shared border differently,” write the designers, suggesting we should instead focus on encouraging interaction between nations. By making the wall flexible and inflatable, residents from both sides can adapt the border to best suit their needs. Depending on the air pressure, the bubbles can be used as cushions, enclosures, or canopies—uses that serve a practical purpose in the harsh environment of the desert. The designers propose recycling the existing fences along the border to make the bubbles, making the design not only more cost effective, but environmentally sound as well.
Other First Place Winner (Image via Building The Border Wall)
Those who enjoy public parks will have a soft spot for the second place winner, a design featuring a binational park with natural flora and fauna that would meld seamlessly with the existing landscape. As an added benefit, both countries could earn money by charging entrance fees. The project’s designers tell Business Insider, “It would only make sense to have both the U.S. and Mexico invest in something together. Ultimately, we believe mutual cooperation can destigmatize the border, promoting communication, and a greater respect for each country.” Suddenly a project spanning 1,900 miles sounds worthwhile.
For more information on all the design competition winners, head to Building The Border Wall’s website.