El Paso, Texas residents and preservationists spent seven years battling a city proposal to demolish Duranguito, one of the city’s oldest barrios in order to build an arena. The fight involved grassroots resistance, a legal battle that cost the city more than $3 million, and ultimately a change in local government. Researchers found an irrigation system that ran through the neighborhood and was linked to a Native American settlement dating back to the time of the Conquistadors, which meant that an archaeological survey of the area had to be done. Now the city is looking at alternate sites for the arena, and the grassroots group Paso Del Sur, which led the activist front, has created a community-led plan that includes affordable housing, a cultural center, a community garden, museums and a health center. The project plays on the Japanese concept of Kintsugi -- where gold is used to reattach broken things to highlight the value of their imperfections -- to preserve the neighborhood’s dilapidated buildings.

Read Full Story