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Cross-Border Planning at the U.S.-Mexico Border: An Institutional Approach

Sergio Peña


The general objective of this article is to contribute to the understanding of cross-border issues from an urban planning perspective. Cross-border planning in this article is approached as an institution-building process whose primary emphasis is on the facilitation of collective action with regards to the shared natural, built, and human environments constrained by territorial politics and boundaries of nation-states. It is argued throughout the paper that the existing institutional framework at the U.S.-Mexico border has been the result of a "muddling through" process. The existing cross-border planning institutions are the result of an adjustment process, to a great extent due to challenges to the status quo by border actors and organizations. The main conclusion of the article is that the environment and the uncertainty that this poses for the future is an issue that decision makers have been able to "muddle through" more successfully and should continue doing so by fine-tuning and supporting existing institutions and continuing the incremental process of institution building.

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