Section 37
Chapter 36,503

A history of transboundary storm water flows flooding, tunnels, and the spatial incongruity of the US–Mexico border

Cynthia, L.Sorrensen

Journal of Historical Geography 38(4)


ISSN/ISBN: 0305-7488
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhg.2012.04.002
Accession: 036502381

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The benefits of transnational flows and the concern for national security have framed development in the U.S. Mexico borderlands since the formative beginnings of both nations. As national discourses, trade and security work against each other in borderland spaces, the former requiring openings in the border, the later seeking to control it. This paper considers the material implications of these discourses on the border landscape with particular attention to historical boundary development, urbanization, and impacts of chronic flooding. It argues that material discursive dynamics not only constitute the contemporary landscape, but create spatial incongruities that influence the impacts of natural processes, such as storm water flow. Using the southern Arizona border as a case study, the paper uses archival research to explore the historical geography of chronic flooding in the twentieth century and the shift in dynamics of flooding due to border boundary build up. National discourses on trade and security foster incongruous border development. Chronic flooding is exacerbated by incongruous border development. Institutional action and inaction can both influence flooding impacts.

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