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Book Release: Architecture without Architects

Sandra Calvo is a visual and experimental artist, of social practices, based in Mexico City. In the last years, her work has explored issues concerning informal housing in Colombia, Cuba, and Mexico. She recently published the book Architecture without Architects (Editorial Arquine, Mexico City: 2020).  Architecture without Architects (2011-2014) is a sustained political and aesthetic exploration, a visual essay of the informal unsanctioned city. This participatory social art practice deconstructs the notion of the house as a fixed and stable entity. Here, instead the house is fragile and in flux. The project explores self-building as a practice of resistance in […]

Carta Blanca Beer and Urban Development in Monterrey

Angélica Oteiza is pursuing a Master of Landscape Architecture at Harvard GSD. Trained as an architect, she also has in ephemeral, service, and participatory design practices. Her work explores questions of cultural manifestation, non-traditional approaches to design, and transformation process of the built environment aimed towards sustainability. Carta Blanca Beer: Monterrey, Mexico’s Cultural Keystone Angelica Oteiza examines how the material economy of Carta Blanca beer shaped Monterrey, Mexico’s urban development and cultural formation. Her work treats Carta Blanca as the narrative thread that catalyzed Monterrey’s twentieth-century development. She explores how the beer – and the economic and spatial visions that […]

Laura Janka Reflects on Urban Indexing and ABCDMXYZ

Laura Janka Zires is a former GSD student and member of the MCI community. She is an architect and urban designer (Architecture-UNAM + Urban Design-Harvard) with experience in public space, civic engagement, and creative planning processes. Laura currently lives in São Paulo and continues to build “ABCDMXYZ” while working with Brazilian universities to develop urban architecture curriculums. — Aron Lesser Speaks With Laura Janka about ABCDMXYZ and Urban Indexing Q: What is ABCDMXYZ and how did the project begin?   A: Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas once said that almost every project begins with a phrase, with a concept. When working within […]

Avocado Urbanisms

Gerardo Corona is pursuing a Master of Architecture in Urban Design at Harvard GSD. He is an architect trained in Mexico with experience in projects across a variety of scales. Gerardo’s current interests range from the political economy of space to the dichotomy of natural and built environments. Avocados from México: A Designed Landscape for Extraction It is possible to read into contemporary societies through their relationships to food – its origins, how it is sourced and who produces it. With the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the “fetishization of commodity” became stronger, particularly in food […]

Mexican Cities Initiative Scholars Discuss Mexico City’s Vecindades

Diane E. Davis is the Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). Jose Castillo, former GSD instructor, is a practicing architect & urban planner living and working in Mexico City.  Dr. Diane Davis, Director of the Mexican Cities Initiative (MCI), and long-time MCI collaborator José Castillo, were interviewed for Bloomberg CityLab’s article How Mexico City’s Vecindades Became Homes for the Working Class. In it, they discuss CDMX’s urban history, focusing on changes to the city’s lived and built geographies. The article can be accessed here  

ReVista Launches Magazine Issue on Transportation

Transportation │ Fall 2021 │ Volume XXI, Number 1   On December 7, 2021, DRCLAS’ ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America launched its Fall 2021 magazine issue on transportation. The publication can be accessed here. Dr. Diane Davis moderated the event’s opening conversation between the magazine’s authors. The issue features several pieces on transportation in Mexico written by scholars and practitioners that collaborate with the Mexican Cities Initiative. It includes, among others, articles from: Roberto Aguerrebere, former Managing Director, Mexican Transportation Institute;  Carolyn Angius, Urban planner based in Los Angeles, California and GSD Graduate; Bernardo Baranda Sepúlveda, Professor, Master Program […]

GSD Collaboration Pursuing New Urban-Rural System Pathways in Hidalgo to be Featured at COP 26

Samuel Tabory is a PhD student in urban planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He studies the governance and negotiation of urban-regional systems transitions, paying attention to questions of scale, infrastructure, and boundary. Trained both as a planner and a Latin Americanist, comparative and global perspectives inform his work. Researchers from the GSD, in collaboration with eeTestudio of Mexico City and a team of Mexico-based technical experts and researchers, are working with ejidatarios and governments in Hidalgo state, in an area known as the Apan Plains, to explore pathways for urban-rural systems transformation. The project focuses on forging opportunities for contemporary […]

Apan Lagoon. Photo Credit: Gustavo Madrid

Border Choreographies – Interdisciplinary GSD Project about Mexico-U.S. Border Featured at 2021 Venice Biennale

Border Choreographies: Identity, Body, and Personhood Borders are dynamic and complex systems. This research examines the procedure of crossing an international border by a human being. The main objective is to delineate how a body is addressed, controlled, and deconstructed when crossing a political boundary. It also explores the subjectivity of the border beyond its material conception and imagines a political line in its human dimension. By using existing data on crime, landscape, transport, solidarity networks, technology, testimonies, and photographs, these diagrams replace traditional western maps in order to reveal the true journey of immigrants from one state to another […]

Book Presentation: “Ciudad de México. Inercias urbanísticas y proceso constitucional”

Dr. Diane Davis, Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism at Harvard and director of the Mexican Cities Initiative, participated in a discussion about the book Ciudad de México. Inercias urbanísticas y proceso constitucional (CIDE Press, 2019). In the book, authors Antonio Azuela, Lidia González Malagón, and Camilo Saavedra Herrera discuss Mexico City’s 2017 constitution and the public debates surrounding it. They pay close attention to the legal, political, and territorial conditions leading to the new constitution and to urban conflicts surrounding its development. During the discussion, hosted by CIDE and moderated by Rodrigo Meneses, Dr. Azuela explained […]

Sorry for Trespassing: A Layman’s Defense of Walking Urban Edges

Feike de Jong is a Mexico City-based journalist, author, artist, and photographer focusing on urban spaces. He has written for the Guardian, Bloomberg Citylab, Monocle, Fortune International, Expansión, Arquine, and the NRC Handelsblad among others. He has done projects walking around the edges of the Greater Mexico City Area, Kigali, Rwanda, and the San Diego-Tijuana Borderplex. He has also collaborated with organizations such as the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), the Rufino Tamayo Museum, the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM), York University in Toronto, and Ogino Knauss in Berlin. In 2010, Feike won the Walter Reuter prize for journalism for […]