The Bi-National Community

The Bi-National Community

The Bi-National Community at the London Design Biennale 2016

With technology, those borders are just becoming symbolic limits….It’s multipolar, with many business districts and specialized economic sectors; It’s super-connected, allowing for a steady circulation of people, goods, and services within it and outside it. At its heart lies the inland port of Santa Teresa… the I-10 highway connects the city’s dense and walkable urban area to far-flung regions in East and West Coasts of the U.S. And a web of other roadways and express trains link the city’s various economic hotspots and key industries.
Fernando RomeroFounder of fr·ee

The Bi-National, Border City of Los Santos

In 2013, the Governors of New Mexico and Chihuahua, MX came together to announce the world’s first bi-national, master planned community of Los Santos, a 70,000-acre development on both sides of the US/Mexico border in the heart of the Borderplex, a region spanning three states, two countries, but one common spirit of bi-national cooperation.  The joint initiative committed New Mexico and Mexico to work together on aligning their efforts in creating this vision surrounding the Santa Teresa-San Jeronimo border crossing.  The area is already strategically located in the central corridor of the NAFTA region and it is right in the middle of the U.S.-Mexico Border between the two major seaports of Houston and Long Beach making it an attractive location for manufacturers, transportation and logistics companies. It is also home to two major industrial anchors on both sides of the border – the Union Pacific Intermodal Rail Facility in Santa Teresa and the 640-acre Foxconn manufacturing campus in San Jeronimo, Chihuahua.

An idea such as this, and one with an existing large regional population base with the supporting infrastructure, could only happen here for many reasons.  First, the area is not separated by geographic barriers such as rivers or mountains.  In fact, the Los Santos community is the farthest easterly dry crossing along the US/Mexico Border.  Second, the area is not impacted by a history of mismatched cluster developments consisting of multiple zoning barriers as found in other border communities.  In Los Santos, there is literally an open canvas to work with to allow bi-national planning.  Third, ownership of the 70,000 acres consists of only three entities, allowing private sector to come together to influence the design of the landscape.  Finally, because the region is at the heart of a 2.7 million population base and multiple metros, there is already critical infrastructure in place, consisting of highways, utilities, rail, human capital and much more. 

The vision was further memorialized by Fernando Romero, a famous Mexican architect and son-in-law of billionaire Carlos Slim, who designed Los Santos as a walkable, super-connected metropolis straddling the U.S.-Mexico border, with the idea that walls and fences are boundaries that are but obsolete. 

Fernando Romero

Fernando Romero, Hon. FAIA is recognized as one of the leading architects of his generation. He was named a Global Leader of Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum in 2002, one of the 50 Most Influential Designers by Fast Company in 2012 and became an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2013. His many accolades include the Bauhaus Award and the ‘Best of the Best’ Red Dot Award.




FR-EE is a global architecture and industrial design firm founded by Fernando Romero with offices in New York (industrial design only) and Mexico City (architecture and design).

An active agent in the reconfiguration of site and public space, FR-EE’s commitment to translating historic, social, economic and environmental contexts into contemporary urban destinations has garnered critical attention and attracted millions of visitors, generating positive impact in cities and communities. Over the past 15 years, FR-EE has realized and proposed projects in a number of countries that encompass different programs and contexts, from museums and office buildings to dense urban centers and the desert.