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Promoting Nature-Based Solutions in Border Cities

Because cities contain many roofs, paved roads, parking lots, and other areas with hard surfaces, they alter the water cycle by reducing rainwater infiltration and evapotranspiration. All the rainwater that is not absorbed by the soil or trees concentrates and runs speedily through the city, producing damage to people, property, and infrastructure.

Many forward-looking cities in Mexico and the U.S are already embracing green infrastructure to handle these problems, including Hermosillo, Mexico City, Tijuana, Tucson, and Phoenix. It is also happening in Nogales, Sonora, but the city needs a strategic plan and information about the potential of green infrastructure to address local environmental problems. With the support of the North American Development Bank (NADBank) and the EPA Border XXI Program, professor Francisco Lara Valencia, associate professor in the School of Transborder Studies, and Margaret Garcia, assistant professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, are leading a project seeking to restore the natural water cycle in border cities by researching and promoting the use of urban green infrastructure (UGI) in Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona (Ambos Nogales).

At El Embarcadero, a poor neighborhood with no nearby parks and limited accessibility, the project collaborated with residents to create a community garden on a hillside overlooking downtown Nogales. The new garden will help control erosion and augment the water supply through rainwater harvesting in the neighborhood. 

ASU Program Owner(s) 

Francisco Lara-Valencia
Associate Professor, School of Transborder Studies
Bio: https://webapp4.asu.edu/directory/person/756610