In 1961, the Mexican government launched the Programa Nacional Fronterizo (Pronaf) in partnership with the country's economic elites, a precursor to the state's more widely known border industrialization project. Pronaf was ostensibly an urban beautification program targeting nine cities at the Mexico‐US border, led by former Ciudad Juárez mayor Antonio Bermúdez and with architecture supervised by Mexico City–based modernist Mario Pani. However, as this article argues, Pronaf sought to better integrate the borderlands to the national market and political structure at a moment of crisis. The state's capitalist modernization plan of import substitution industrialization, which produced the so‐called Mexican Miracle in the 1940s, was showing signs of strain. Greater consumption of products made in Mexico, based on a more patriotic identification by citizens at the border, would buttress the “Miracle,” which had initially ignored these very citizens based on metropolitan perceptions of their lack of allegiance to Mexico and affinity for the US. Understanding spectacular architecture to have not only a didactic but an affective function, Pronaf deployed a network of soaring, Jet Age–inspired built environments. These parabolic hyperboloid environments, accompanied by a hyperbolic rhetoric from Bermúdez, sought to convince border residents of the “beauty” and “desirability” of national culture and the fluidity of the national market just as their socioeconomic mobility came under greater government scrutiny. Pronaf piloted an affective infrastructure that desired to channel border residents’ citizenship and consumption toward the reproduction of the political and economic status quo, eventually setting the stage for neoliberal transition.

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