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Beyond Reconstruction: Mexico and the 2017 Earthquakes

Seminar, Spring 2018

In September of 2017 Mexico experienced a serious of devastating earthquakes affecting not only Mexico City but also several states in the country. Physical damage was widespread but affected each location differently, from mid-rise buildings collapsing in Mexico City to low-density dwellings and centuries-old churches collapsing in Morelos and Oaxaca.

The earthquake effects became both symptoms and evidence of asymmetrical urban, territorial and social development. An approach to this catastrophic event should go beyond reconstruction and imagine new forms of more resilient and equitable forms of urbanization.

This research seminar examined post-earthquake Mexico projectively, using the recent disaster as an opportunity to rethink, conceptually redefine, and proactively reconfigure urbanization in Mexico.

Students used a variety of methodologies such as analytical, mapping and design techniques as well as archival, survey, planning, design, and critical conservation practices — to establish the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient, culturally sensitive, and aesthetically profound urbanism, paying special attention to inequalities and injustices that are played out in urban space and territories.

The class was led by Diane Davis and Jose Castillo, and counted on the participation of a variety of leading scholars from Mexico and the Boston area.

Click below to view descriptions of student projects:

The Half City – Gina Cancione & Rodrigo Sole

Art Catalog in Juchitán – Antonio Moya-Latorre

Community Educational Resilience – Eduardo Pelaez & Karen Mata

The Extended Agropolis – Erin Yook

Empatía OAX – Colleen Brady & Vladimir Gintoff 

Rural Risk Reduction – Akemi Soto