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Category Archives: Alternative Urban Futures

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 […]

The Town Underneath the City: La Chinesca


In the historic core of Mexicali, and predominantly in the Chinese neighborhood of La Chinesca, there is a vast network of interconnected basements whose form and spatial characteristics have not been well documented. By: Jessica Sevilla It was only a couple of years ago that the general public had access for the first time to some of these underground spaces, which until then remained an urban legend. They date back to the first decades of the 20th century when the majority of Mexicali’s population was of Chinese descent— a statistic that remained true until the end of the 1920’s. The […]

Event—Rethinking Social Housing in Mexico


Final Presentation of a Three-Year Research Project Funded by INFONAVIT Date: Thursday, December 15th from 10:00 AM—12:00 PM Place: Room 112 in Gund Hall, Harvard Graduate School of Design Diane Davis (Principal Investigator of Rethinking Social Housing in Mexico—RESHIM) will present the results of the Governance Report and Best Practices focusing primarily on the Urban Value Creation Platform for sustainable urban development and social housing renovation in Mexican cities. Carlos Zedillo (Head of the Research Center for Sustainable Development of the Mexican National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute—INFONAVIT) will join GSD faculty and students in a discussion of strategies for better […]

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


Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 – 6:30pm Location: Graduate School of Design, Gund Hall, Room 112 Officials from Fundación Hogares and the Mexican National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute (Infonavit) will join UPD faculty and students in a discussion of planning and design strategies deployed to address the growing problems of housing abandonment in Mexico. Focusing on a social housing development in Oaxaca, the panel will address the conditions that made it possible for national government officials, urban designers, community development professionals, and housing policy advocates to push forward an experiment in policy innovation via on-the-ground implementation. Panel: Paulina Campos, CEO, Fundación Hogares […]

Habitat III must rethink the role of housing in sustainable urbanization


Thinking differently about housing offers a key tool to generate new social arrangements, transform city landscapes in ways that fashion a more vibrant urbanism, and create new possibilities for urban value creation. The following commentary by Diane Davis was originally published in Citiscope. Economists, sociologists and political scientists have long theorized a positive relationship between the growth of cities and national economic development. But the contemporary experience in many emerging economies suggests that we need to rethink these assumptions. Next year’s Habitat III conference and the current process to define its 20-year urbanization strategy, the New Urban Agenda, offer an […]