From Matamoros to Tijuana, Mexican border cities have long evoked for their neighbors to the north images of cheap tourist playgrounds and, more recently, industrial satellites of American industry.
These sensationalized and simplified perceptions fail to convey the complexity and diversity of urban form and functionand of cultural personalitythat characterize these places. The
Mexican Border Cities draws on extensive field research to examine eighteen settlements along the 2,000-mile border, ranging from towns of less than 10,000 people to dynamic metropolises of nearly a
million. The authors chronicle the cities' growth and compare their urban structure, analyzing them in terms of tourist districts, commercial landscapes, residential areas, and industrial and
transportation quarters. Arreola and Curtis contend that, despite their proximity to the United States, the border cities are fundamentally Mexican places, as distinguished by their cultural
landscapes, including town plan, land-use pattern, and building fabric. Their study, richly illustrated with over 75 maps and photographs, offers a provocative and insightful interpretation of the
geographic anatomy and personality of these fascinatingand rapidly changingcommunities.
At long last there is a good book on one of the most-talked-about but least-understood regions of the world. . . . Arreola and Curtis utilize an engaging informal style of writing that makes the book a pleasure to read. . . . It is both a solid regional geography and, to some degree, an architectural and social guide to an area long ignored by serious writers. It is also a fun book.
The authors are to be congratulated for providing a wealth of detailed information about Mexican border cities.
Annuals of American Geographers
Engagingly and clearly written . . . arguably the best book on Mexican border cities to date.
Southwest Historical Quarterly