Lower Dream State

A Race for Environmental Preservation
Baja California Peninsula, Mexico

“This geographic identity has roots in the indigenous history, though the very nature of survival in many of these places depends on a close relationship with the land, its natural resources, and the set of knowledge and practice that has accumulated and adapted to the distinct landscape of the oases through time.” - Rafael de Grenade

Untethered to the bulk of Mexico, Baja California is a parched island; its isolation is reminiscent of the numerous cartographic errors depicting the “Island of California.” An arid and rugged mountainous ridge, the region is home to more than one hundred inland and coastal oases. This project will explore the development patterns, construction methods, and resiliency strategies already in place, to understand the impacts of urban- and tourism-related growth. Seeking a systems approach, we will diagram and document the interconnected relationships of people and places.

Mapped as relationships, our work becomes an anticipatory tool to understand the potential impact of external influences. Forever constrained by limited water availability, what happens to the region once desalinization plants become the norm? Two plants were recently completed in Baja Sur and one is under development in Rosarito Beach. Undoubtedly, more potable and predictable water flows will change the historic development and resiliency practices. We anticipate that our investigation will uncover potential opportunities for the communities to understand these impacts and take steps to maximize their benefit without damaging traditional practices.

A project for Harvard University GSD sponsored by David Rockefeller Center for Latin America Studies. Currently developed by LAIA New York with own funds.
Team: Oliver J. Curtis, Gabriel Muñoz Moreno
Collaborators: Sara Oliver Gómez de la Vega, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC, UABCS)
Location: Baja California
Production: 2017
Continuity program: LAIA 2018-2019

Laura M. Woods
Ron Keiser
Ramsés Orozco
Liliana Edith
Gabriel Valdez Manrique

Special thanks to:
Andrea Carrillo Iglesias
Marielsa Castro Vizcarra
Claudia Rivera
Diane Davis
Rodrigo Andrés de los Ríos
Elizabeth Acosta Mendía
Arce Family
Adriana Ruiz
Roberto Fortes
Ebenezer Lucero
Jesus Antonio
Marcos Pérez
Jesus Campos Aguirre
Ramiro Salgado Rodríguez
Jonathan Madrigal