Economic development and population growth along the U.S.-Mexico border have been determined by the natural resources available for the physical and social transformations in this region. A critical political ecology of the U.S.-Mexico border links environmental hazards with the socioeconomic and political aspects that have generated colonia population settlements as locales within the border region’s spatialized hierarchies. The political ecological approach to community development processes also brings in the larger border issues associated with Mexico and the United States. By exploring human-environmental challenges facing colonia residents, we can gain valuable insights into ecological vulnerabilities also faced by similar population settlements in other regions of the United States. This article applies a political ecological model that examines the transformation of farmland into unincorporated population settlements known as colonias on the U.S.- Mexico border and the pressing environmental issues contributing the region’s precarious living conditions.

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