2023 Studio Awards: Binational River Conservation Project

Binational River Conservation Project
Overland Partners with Able City, OLIN Studios, and ARUP

The people of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo have shared an identity for centuries; in recent years, that relationship has been strained. Looking to binational conservation as a catalyst for positive environmental, social, and economic change, the communities have imagined a shared green space to reunite them along the banks of the Rio Grande. A public-private consortium of community leaders and conservationists from the two cities developed a strategic plan that begins with cleaning and restoring the Rio Grande and creating a Binational River Park to reconnect people, shared resources, and cultural ties. The project will secure clean, safe drinking water for the region’s six million people, restore riparian habitats for native plants and animals, mitigate flooding and erosion of the riverbank, and attract visitors and private investment to the area.

Jury Commentary:

“I was really touched by the poetic aspect of using a river as a bridge and dealing with the challenges of our politics and where architecture and urban planning can make a significant impact. … You can use a project with an infrastructure goal like this to really change the needle and make the world a better place.”

“It’s significant to rethink the border as a public space — and to rethink divisions from a completely different lens and introduce ecological issues into how we approach the border is what is really important about this module.”

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