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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 […]

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 […]

On Hope, Running and World-building: Striving for Social and Environmental Justice through Landscape Architecture and Ethnography


In three brief takes, Roberto Ransom reflects on his 2020 Master in Landscape Architecture thesis, advised by Gareth Doherty at the Harvard GSD.     “If we stop running, the world ceases to exist.”                                            Arnulfo Quimare. A champion long-distance runner, on the cosmology of his people, the Tarahumara or Rarámuri. — I. Foreword The thesis explores the indigenous Tarahumara practice of long-distance running. My intuition was that this practice would be an entry point for navigating issues of conservation, […]

Beyond Encampment: Post-Trump Immigration Policy, From Central America to the US


The Mexican Cities Initiative is co-hosting a conversation with a group of designers working to re-conceive global migratory structures. The event’s organizers share more information below.  —   Beyond Encampment is a series of conversations reflecting on design professionals’ efforts who work to change the paradigm of enclosure, and who practice models of urban integration and refugee resettlement through design activism. Rather than replicating large-scale encampment failures and the reactionary method of policing migration, we must proactively re-conceive forms of settlement at the terminus of forced migration and redesign the spatial plan and frameworks of refuge.   For the third […]

New Visions for Wastewater Equity in The Mezquital Valley


Introduction by Montserrat Bonvehi, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and Seth Denizen, Kiley Teaching Fellow in Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design Almost 200,000 acres of land in the fertile Mezquital Valley are irrigated with the untreated sewage of Mexico City. Rainwater, urban runoff, industrial effluent, and sewage in Mexico City is sent to the Mezquital Valley through a 60-kilometer pipe. Soils in this valley have been continuously irrigated with urban wastewater since 1901, longer than any other soil in the world. The capacity of these soils to produce conditions in which agriculture […]

Architects Tatiana Bilbao and Carolina Sepúlveda Reimagine the Mexico-U.S. Migration Corridor


Tatiana Bilbao is a Mexico City-based Architect and Founder & Director of Tatiana Bilbao Estudio. Carolina Sepúlveda is a Chilean architect and researcher. She recently graduated from Harvard’s Master’s in Design Studies (MDes ADPD ‘20) program at the Graduate School of Design. Moderated by: Malkit Shoshan, Art, Design and the Public Domain Area Head, Graduate School of Design. In the December 2, 2020 panel, hosted by Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the Graduate School of Design MDes program in Art, Design, and the Public Domain, Carolina and Tatiana discussed the urban transformations occurring across Mexico and […]

Aron Lesser Chats with Lorenzo Rocha about Public Spaces and Urban Planning Trends in Mexico City


Lorenzo Rocha is an architect focused on the experimental use of urban spaces. Lorenzo has published two books, Essays on Photography and Architecture (Diamantina, 2011) and Arquitectura Crítica: Proyectos con espíritu inconformista (Turner, 2018), and contributes regularly to the Milenio newspaper. He currently works as a researcher at the Instituto de Estudios Críticos 17. Q: Your recent article focuses on the De la Lama y Basurto company’s development of three well-known neighborhoods in Mexico City between 1920 and 1945. You trace the urban planning histories of Condesa, Polanco, and Lomas De Chapultepec and consider the theoretical perspectives that influenced their […]