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Lower Dream State screened at the International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo / Harvard’s DRCLAS


Oliver J. Curtis and Gabriel Muñoz Moreno met in 2015 while at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where their common interest in architecture and ecology brought them together. As co-recipients of a research fellowship through Harvard’s Mexican Cities Initiative, they studied adaptation and development patterns throughout the oases of Baja California. An arid and rugged mountainous ridge, the Baja California region is home to more than one hundred inland and coastal oases. This project explored the development patterns, construction methods, and resiliency strategies already in place to understand the impacts of urban- and tourism-related growth. Without preconceived notions, they […]

Mexico City Urban Dictionary – Podcast available on iTunes Now


The Mexico City Urban Dictionary released its first 10 episodes on iTunes last November 7th, 2019.  Project Website  Mexico City Urban Dictionary – iTunes This collaborative project aims to identify and organize the terms we use as frameworks for contemporary urban work. It makes use of the podcast as a space for mapping, discussing and defining the urban and architectural concepts that make this city a disputed territory. Each episode is a conversation between architects, urban planners, engineers, activists, logisticians, among many others. Through these conversations, the project aims to contextualize terms in their spatial, social and temporal dimension by […]

From the Periphery to the Palacio: The Urban Popular Movement and Democratization in Mexico


Evan Neuhausen  AMLO’s historic landslide victory in the 2018 elections marks a milestone in Mexico’s long transition from corrupt and authoritarian neoliberalism to democracy. This transition began in the early 1970s in the urban periphery of Mexico’s cities, where veterans of the 1968 Student Movement had moved to organize the urban poor. These organizations, at first isolated and small, coalesced into a national movement, the Movimiento Urban Popular (MUP). By the early and mid-1980s, MUP had successfully broken PRI’s control over Mexico’s urban populations, especially amongst the urban poor. Rapidly losing legitimacy and control over the urban poor in the […]

Hermosillo: New Innovation Models in Emerging Cities


“City Design, Planning and Policy Innovations: The Case of Hermosillo” is an upcoming book by the IDB and Harvard that, thanks to the support of more than 40 experts, presents a relevant collection of public policy recommendations, programs and projects with the potential of transforming the future of this emerging city. Available for download free of cost at :  https://publications.iadb.org/en/city-design-planning-policy-innovations-case-Hermosillo    In an increasingly urbanized world, cities have become platforms for innovation and change, particularly in developing countries. In Latin America and the Caribbean, emerging cities have taken center stage. While megacities face great challenges to distribute goods and services […]

Maya Train and Isthmus Consultation Q&A with Gabriel Diaz Montemayor


As part of our engagement with Mexico, the MCI blog is arranging a series of Q&A’s with professional practitioners and academics from the field of design and planning. In anticipation of the consultation happening this weekend for the Maya Train and Isthmus project, the MCI interviewed Mexican architect and landscape architect Gabriel Diaz Montemayor. He is currently Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, and also leads LABOR Studio which is his private practice in Mexico. Q “The incoming federal government is proposing passenger and cargo rail megaprojects in the Yucatan Peninsula and Isthmus of […]

Latin American Advisor: Featured Q&A with Diane Davis on Mexico City Airport


In what has become a highly political decision, the cancellation of the partly built NAIM airport in Texcoco comes with many implications; especially tensions in the relationship between the incoming government and the financial and business sector but also it provides us with a benchmark for what to expect regarding upcoming consultations for several high profile projects. The issues brought up in this Q&A ,which was published before the cancellation of the airport, remain relevant for the upcoming public consultations being held on November 24th and 25th regarding the Tren Maya, refineries, Isthmus Plan, and social programs . Originally published […]

News – GSD Alumni Awarded Regional LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 Latin America


GSD alumna wins award for her work on publicly accessible water infrastructure in Mexico City. Loreta Castro (MAUD 10’) took the Gold Award for the 2017 Latin America LafargeHolcim competition on sustainable construction. Loreta Castro and co-author Manuel Perló won the 2017 Gold Award for their project, “Parque Hídrico Quebradora.” Another GSD alumna, Elena Tudela (MAUD 12’), is also on the team. The proposal addresses water infrastructure in Iztapalapa, a water-scarce borough within the federal district of Mexico City. Loreta and her team designed a water retention and treatment complex that intermingles public buildings and green spaces with flood basins. […]

Paper—Staying a Step Ahead: Institutional Flexibility in the Rehabilitation of Social Housing in Oaxaca


  The Mexican National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute, or Infonavit, is the most important actor in the nation’s housing market. As of 2015, it was the leader in mortgage origination, accounting for roughly 74 percent of all housing loans. The institute was founded in 1972 with the mission of fulfilling the right to housing provided to workers as established in the Mexican Constitution, primarily through the provision of credit for the purchase of formal housing. Today, roughly one out of every four Mexicans lives in a home financed or built by Infonavit. Success for the institution has traditionally been measured regarding […]

Event—CGBC Lecture Series: Benjamín Romano on “Integrating Flow in High Rise Structures”


Mexican Cities Initiative and the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities are proud to present the following lecture. Location: Gund Hall, Room 111 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 Questions? Please contact Jeff Fitton (jfitton@gsd.harvard.edu). Audience: This event is open to the public. Benjamín Romano is a Mexico City-based architect and the founder of the firm, LBR&A Arquitectos. He was the lead architect of Torre Reforma—the second-tallest building in Mexico—a 57-story exposed concrete high-rise that overlooks the expansive Chapultepec Park. LBR&A Arquitectos has been involved in office, residential, cultural and industrial projects across Mexico City and beyond. The firm is known for its attention to contemporary design, […]

Event—Mexico City at a Crossroads: Urban Challenges of the 21st Century – Keynote Address*


Mexican Cities Initiative and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies are proud to present the following keynote address and panel discussions. Date:  Friday, March 31, 2017, 6:30pm to 9:00pm Location:  Piper Auditorium, Gund Hall, Harvard Graduate School of Design, 48 Quincy Street Keynote Address: Urban Challenges in an Era of Climate Change Register here. Registration is not required to attend, but it is encouraged. *This presentation will be conducted in Spanish with simultaneous translation. Speaker: Miguel Angel Mancera, Mayor of Mexico City Introduction: Jorge Domínguez, Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico, Department of Government; Chair, Harvard Academy for International and Area […]