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Category Archives: Public Space and Democracy

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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


Paulina Campos (CEO, Fundación Hogares), Surella Segú (Former Head of Office for Urban Development at the Mexican National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute—Infonavit), and Emiliano García (Principal Designer, Taller de Operaciones Ambientales) joined Diane Davis (Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism & Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design), and David Parente (Concurrent Master in Urban Planning + Landscape Architecture Candidate) in a discussion of planning and design strategies deployed to address the growing problems of housing abandonment in Mexico. The panel took place on November 9th at the Harvard Graduate School of Design as a joint […]

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


Primero de Mayo project unfolds with three major dimensions: as an intra-institute policy innovation, as a physical design intervention, and as community development program. A discussion panel with the participation of Infonavit and Fundación Hogares officials will take place on November 9th, 6:30 p.m. at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Room 112. The event is a joint effort between Mexican Cities Initiative, the Department of Urban Planning and Design, and the Joint Center for Housing Studies. Among the responses within the Mexican National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute, or Infonavit has been a move towards broadening the scope of policy from the individual home […]

Towards a Water Sensitive Mexico City: Public space as a rain management strategy


An unprecedented effort to understand Mexico City’s current hydric metabolism, its related urban vulnerabilities and the possibilities of tackling these through a system of public spaces. As an emerging platform for innovative ideas and actionable knowledge, Mexican Cities Initiative is proud to present Towards a Water Sensitive Mexico City: Public space as a rain management strategy. This project emerged from the prior work of a GSD alum, Victor Rico Espínola whose involvement in this endeavor crystallized, first in the development of the feasibility assessment, and later into the construction of La Viga Linear Park in Mexico City. Towards a Water Sensitive Mexico City: […]

Public Space and Democracy in Mexico City: Political Time


by Ricardo Nurko and Analiese Richard In order to understand how local government actors operate with regard to public space in Mexico City, you need to be acquainted with the overlapping administrative layers and temporality of bureaucratic processes. As it turns out, the management of public space has a lot to do with “political time.” In the first place, it’s important to point out that our grand megalopolis is composed of several different federal entities ruled by legislatures with a certain degree of independence: The Metropolitan Zone of the Valley of Mexico (ZMVM, by its Spanish acronym) is an urban […]

Public Space and Democracy in Mexico City: On the frontiers of gentrification


by Ricardo Nurko and Analiese Richard Pushkin Park is a liminal social space, located on the border between two central Mexico City neighborhoods: La Roma, a hotbed of cultural creativity and real estate speculation sometimes referred to as “Williamsburg South” and La Doctores, a less prosperous zone of government facilities like hospitals and courts, run-down housing blocs, and small-scale industry. The eastern limit of the park is Cuauhtemoc Avenue, a major thoroughfare that also marks the frontiers of gentrification. In the cultural geography of Mexico City, La Doctores is still viewed with disdain and suspicion by many residents of La […]