When talking about migration, we usually talk a lot about how migrants are changing the landscape in the United States. But we rarely talk about how migration is actually changing the landscape back in the home countries.
Migrants that come to the U.S. usually send back cash dollars, called remittances, to help their families back home. In the case of Mexican migrants, for example, the World Bank reported they sent more than 22 billion dollars back to Mexico from the U.S. in 2012.
Yet many migrants are also thinking about returning to their home countries. They start saving their remittance money to build themselves dream houses for the day they’ll finally return. These homes have have elements of American-style architecture, and they reflect the migrants’ experience of living in the U.S.
Maria Hinojosa talked to Sarah Lynn Lopez, a professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, about this new form of remittance architecture that’s changing the face of rural Mexico. She’s the author of the book “The Remittance Landscape: Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA.”
And so you have a better sense of what this landscape looks like, here’s a selection of photographs from Sarah Lynn Lopez’s book and from her fieldwork in Mexico.