Socio-spatial dynamics and urban morphology of a northern Mexican border city: The case of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, 1990-1995
AdvisorEsparza, Adrian X.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractWhile urbanization in Mexico's northern border region is long-standing, the pace of urbanization has increased significantly in recent years. Many observers acknowledge the rise in urbanization, but few have examined how it is affecting Mexico's northern border cities. This dissertation fills the void by investigating the effects of rapid urbanization in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. I focus on Ciudad Juarez because; (1) it is the fastest growing border city, and; (2) processes fueling growth in Ciudad Juarez are shared by many other Mexican border cities. The dissertation focuses on two principal aspects of urbanization in Ciudad Juarez: urban morphology (i.e., land use) and the changing socio-spatial complexion of the city. In the first instance, I investigate whether population growth and expansion of the maquiladora (maquila) economy "distorted" the development of residential and commercial land use during the period 1988-1993. The analysis builds on the comparison of land use change in Ciudad Juarez versus three cities located in Mexico's interior. In the second instance, I develop a socio-spatial deprivation index to investigate whether population growth and industrialization (the maquila economy) have affected social conditions in the city's neighborhoods. The deprivation index incorporates many types of data (variables) that are organized within a GIS platform. The analysis is dynamic, and uses the deprivation index to monitor socio-spatial change during the period 1990-1995. The results demonstrate how rapid urbanization has affected Ciudad Juarez. In terms of morphology, the analysis shows that residential land has developed more quickly than expected, given rates of growth in non-border cities. In contrast, the development of commercial land use lags well behind non-border cities. In effect, proximity to the border has distorted development of both residential and commercial land uses. My analysis provides specific measures of these distortions. In the second case, population growth and industrialization have changed the social complexion of the city's neighborhoods. While it is difficult to discern whether these factors improved or worsened conditions at the neighborhood scale, the deprivation index shows clearly that neighborhood change is extensive and, as such, warrants closer inspection in subsequent research.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Geography and Regional Development