Tijuana is home to an estimated 1.3 million residents, yet it has only 26 public parks — mostly small open spaces with scarce vegetation and limited recreational facilities.
San Diego State University students are joining forces with the City of Tijuana to reimagine and reinvent two of these lackluster parks in underserved neighborhoods of this sprawling metropolis just south of the U.S./Mexico border.
SDSU geography and graphic design students, as well as students from Universidade de las Californias International and Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, are developing new site plans, designs and signage for Parque Ejido Matamoros and Parque de Residencial del Bosque.
This cross-border, cross-campus interdisciplinary effort, known as Comuniparques, is the latest undertaking of the Sage Project, a joint-venture between SDSU and local governments in the region. It is part of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) Network, and modeled on the highly successful and award-winning Sustainable City Year Program at the University of Oregon.
Under the direction of Jessica Barlow, a professor in SDSU’s School of Speech, Language and Hearing Services, the Sage Project is adding to its already impressive portfolio and for the first time is venturing into international territory.
On a rainy day in early April, SDSU students headed across the border for two community workshops, where they presented preliminary park redesigns and gathered feedback from local city officials, neighborhood groups and area businesses.
Students also surveyed the underutilized parks and collected additional information that will be used to create wayfinding (or navigational) systems for each park. Final project plans will be completed and presented to the City of Tijuana later this semester.
“Working with Sage on the Comuniparques project has expanded opportunities to work internationally and collaboratively with our neighbors in Mexico,” said SDSU geography lecturer and undergraduate advisor Diana Richardson. “It provides a rich experience for the students, and all of us, in so many ways."
About The Sage Project
Since the Sage Project started in 2013, it has engaged more than 2,500 students from various disciplines in successful partnerships with several San Diego County cities, including National City and Santee.
The Sage Project goals are to help students, through their coursework, engage in meaningful real-world projects that contribute to the smart growth, quality of life and sustainability goals of communities in SDSU's service area.
“This program involves hundreds of students each year who spend thousands of hours assisting communities in our regions as they build a more equitable and sustainable future,” said Barlow.
More information about Comuniparques and other student endeavors is available by visiting the Sage Project website.