Partnership will bankroll classes to design homes

December 14, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

MEXICALI — A new binational partnership has been formed that will bankroll and develop architecture classes for Mexican university students who will design low-cost housing prototypes that will be built by Mexicali factory workers for their personal use.

The partnership is called Self-Help Housing Across Borders.

Members include Tec de Monterrey, a Monterrey, Mexico, university, the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, the University of Arizona and Baja California's state housing agency.

John Mealey, the executive director of the Coachella coalition, said, "We would hope to bring others into it. We would certainly welcome any help from Imperial Valley organizations that want to work with us."

Mealey said the first Mexicali houses will be built on 20 lots donated by the Baja California state housing agency. Factory workers selected by the agency could start building their homes before the winter 2002, he added.


Mealey said the materials to construct the houses could be similar to what low-income Mexicali residents use now — brick and cinderblock.

However, one of the things the university students will study is the feasibility of using different materials to build the houses with, such as metal framing and stucco.

"We're working to resolve what the methods would be," Mealey said.

The partnership was made possible by grants from the Ford Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the cooperation of the housing agencies.

Eventually the team members hope to formulate an informed, culturally sensitive, sustainable and replicable model for the provision of decent and affordable housing all along the border, Mealey said.

"I don't think there is anyone doing something like this anywhere," Mealey said.

For information contact the coalition at 347-3157.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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