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Category Archives: Rethinking Scales of Knowledge

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 […]

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 […]

Neutrality is Complicity


By Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman Last Spring, an anonymous group of architects, designers, and artists announced an international competition to design a new border wall between the United States and Mexico. The proposal was the brainchild of the Third Mind Foundation, a consortium dedicated to experimental forms of interdisciplinary collaboration; and the competition was inspired by Donald Trump’s incendiary campaign promise of a continental border wall.  The Third Mind began their challenge with an emphatic statement “Let us be clear, we take no position on this issue, we remain politically neutral.” They claimed, in fact, to be “moving beyond politics” […]

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 […]

Latin GSD Lecture Series: What’s Next? Lessons from Latinamerica after the Venice Biennale


The goal of the Latin GSD student organization is to spread the discussion of topics that are currently relevant to design, landscape, urban design and planning disciplines in Latin American Countries. And of course, to promote the integration between people interested in Latin America. Building on this premise, this event is the second of a series of lectures where we want to discuss and ask the curators of the Latin-American pavilions what are the lessons learned after this unique event and how this pavilions respond to Alejandro Aravena’s call for innovation in times of scarcity. With this in mind, we […]

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 […]