Resolution Advocating Alternative Infrastructure
We, the Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AlA), wish to register our concern about the President of the United State's proposal to construct an enhanced structure along the US/Mexico border, a distance of 1,954 miles spanning the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the terrain, access, and other construction factors, the cost for a 30-foot high reinforced concrete wall is estimated at $17 to $25 million per mile, or $20-to-50-billion for the whole project. Regardless of the actual design, the cost of this substantial infrastructure will likely be borne by the citizens of the United States.
This Wall is controversial. Like the general population, some of our members support the concept of a border wall and its perceived benefits while others remain apprehensive about the effectiveness of this project to accomplish its stated objectives. As architects, we wish to set aside the attendant political issues and focus on the environmental and economic ones.
The Arizona portion of the US/Mexico border includes 370 miles of the Wall that would be in our "back yard." As licensed architects, we are bound to serve the public interest; as members of the AlA, we are obligated to uphold ethical principles that include the intelligent stewardship of our natural resources and our physical environment.
There is little doubt that the environmental impacts from the construction of the proposed Wall would result in irreparable ecological damage to vast tracts of natural vegetation, habitat, and ecosystems, including areas of our National Parks and Monuments as well as lands belonging to Native American Reservations. As contemplated, this impenetrable structure would impair several migratory species, including some that are endangered.
Furthermore, an expenditure of $20-to-50-billion for infrastructure could do more good for more Americans if invested in innumerable, public, brick-and-mortar projects, such as parks and recreation facilities, libraries, schools, mass transit, a 21st century power portfolio (including a smart power grid), a national fiber-optic internet, updated health care facilities, climate impact infrastructure, or a new road system designed to accommodate autonomous vehicles. Such investments would stimulate our economy more broadly than construction of a Wall while providing real benefits to citizens in all fifty states.
Therefore, AlA Arizona requests that the US Senators and Representatives from Arizona seriously consider alternatives to an enhanced border Wall between the US and Mexico, and advocate instead for infrastructure projects that will better serve and enrich the public interest while safeguarding our natural environment.
Download the signed resolution from AIA Arizona
Resolutions from Arizona Chapters & Fellow Components
All chapters in Arizona have published a resolution regarding the proposed border wall:
AIA components in fellow border states have also published resolutions regarding the proposed border wall:
The Board of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) also issued its own resolution, informed by the AIA work.
Recent Media Coverage
- The Republic: "Architects oppose Trump border wall, urge spending on other infrastructure"
- The Republic/azcentral.com: "Architect: Why Trump's border wall with Mexico just won't work"
Mark Henle/The Republic