Dr. James R. Curtis
"East L.A. Moves South" to the
Association of American Geographers meeting in Los Angeles in March,
This study examines the evolving hierarchy of Latino, especially Mexican,
urban places in Los Angeles. Based on a variety of data, including
demographic, economic, political and cultural, it contends that the core of
Mexican Los Angeles has shifted from East L.A. to the old industrial corridor
south of downtown, focusing on the city of Hungington Park. The processes and
consequences of this move are considered, particularly contrasts in the built
environment between East L.A. and Huntington Park.
Dr. Curtis presented a paper:
"Las Plazas of Manaus, Brazil" to the
Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers meeting in
Benicà;ssim/Castelló, Spain, in June 2001.
This study examines the plazas of Manaus, Brazil. It offers a 7-fold typology
of contemporary plazas based on prevailing function and landscape character.
Historical linkages with Portuguese and French colonial influences are
He presented a paper, of which he is the primary co-author (with alumna
Aimée R. Mindes):
"Urban Structure in Ensenada and La Paz, Mexico" to the
Association of American Geographers meeting in New York City in late
February and early March.
Based on detailed land use surveys, this study systematically compares the
urban structure of Ensenada and La Paz, the third and fourth largest cities in
Baja California. Both urban centers share common elements conducive to
comparative analysis, including similarity in age, population size, growth
rates, locational attributes, as well as economic characteristics. The
proportional composition of land use activities, their intracity
distributions, and the distinguishing landscape character of the two cities
are compared and contrasted. How the cities' internal structure conforms to
the most widely accepted morphological models that have been generated to
depict Latin American and Mexican border city structure is assessed.
Preliminary findings indicate that significant differences exist between the
two cities, especially in tourist, commercial, and industrial land uses.
Dr. Curtis also presented:
"Ensenada: A Mexican Border Town?" to the American Studies
Association, Montréal, October 1999.
Based on a variety of cultural, economic, social, and spatial factors,
including the composition and location of landuse activities, it is widely
contended that the Mexican border cities form a distinct subset of Mexican
urban centers. In short, they are considered to be different than cities in
the interior of the country. Although some scholars have argued that the
border towns may not be as different as many have suggested, if that
contention is nonetheless assumed to be even partially correct, an intriguing
set of questions arise: Are border cities only those that directly front the
international boundary? Or do "border cities" exist some distance south of
the boundary? In the absence of any systematic research on the subject, most
would likely support the notion that border cities need not abut the boundary
per se. A case in point is the city of Ensenada in Baja California.
Although located some 80 miles south of the border crossing at Tijuana, since
at least the days of Prohibition in the United States (1918-1933), Ensenada
has been universally considered a border town. In the popular media, it has
been portrayed most often as a smaller, cleaner, safer, waterfront version of
Tijuana, a place to go for "border town excitement" without all the crowds,
hassles, and crimes associated with that city. This study examines the above
questions, focusing specifically on Ensenada both historically and at the
present. It draws heavily upon the results of a detailed landuse analysis of
the city, which is compared to the most widely accepted model of Mexican
border city urban structure. It concludes that, despite the long-standing
importance of tourism to the economy and landscape of the city, Ensenada is
not now and has never been a border town as such places are most commonly
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Last revised: 10/28/03