CUE seeks critical intersections across environmental, territorial and geo-political spatial conditions, form global trans-border zones to regional and local sectors of conflict in the contemporary city. CUE has been creating bridges between scholarly research, top-down urban policies, and grass roots social organization, bringing together studies and works from the fields of architecture and urbanism, environment and social practice. A particular focus is the theory and practices of equitable and participatory urbanization in the San Diego-Tijuana border region. UCSD sits just twenty miles north of the most trafficked international border in the world, a vibrant but largely untapped “global” research laboratory at the very threshold of north and south, rife with some of the most poignant conflicts in globalization and urban development. The Center also deploys innovative examples of urban transformation across Latin America, which provide an important critical alternative to failed public policies, and unsustainable models of metropolitan growth in many US cities, including San Diego.

CUE also houses workshop and laboratory space for the UCSD / BLUM Cross-Border Initiative.