Spatial Equity and Transportation Hazard Along Cross-Border Trade Corridors: The Case of Ambos Nogales

Francisco Lara-Valencia, Juan Declet-Barreto, Eric Keys


Using a spatial perspective, this article explores the equity dimension of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona, two of the U.S.-Mexico border communities most impacted by trade after the implementation of the agreement in 1994. Ambos Nogales (Both Nogales) is a major hub within the cross-border transportation corridor connecting northwestern Mexico with the United States and Canada and both cities are subject to intense trade-related traffic, including the movement of hazardous materials and toxic waste generated by export-oriented industries in Mexico. As a first step in this analysis, we classify and map residential areas in Ambos Nogales applying an index of socio-environmental vulnerability. We then define the boundaries of existing hazard zones and their overlay with these areas in both cities. Finally, we contrast residential areas within the hazard zones with those outside to probe for patterns of social inequity both locally and across the border.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229