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Invisible Infrasctructure

Jesica Bello | Masters in Architecture and Urban Design

William Rosenthal  | Masters in Architecture and Urban Design


Invisible Infrastructure | Mapping the Temporal Water Distribution Network of Pipas in El Distrito Federal

Topographic, political, economic and resource constraints have created uniquely challenging conditions in Mexico City’s water distribution system. The city’s mountainous terrain, drastic seasons, limited budgets and complex politics contributed to the development of an innovative water delivery technology, the water delivery truck or what is colloquially called, a ‘Pipa’. While there are many potential problems with water delivery through non-systematized methods, Pipas have more flexibility than ‘in-ground’ solutions, which has helped the city relieve both acute and chronic water shortages for some districts. While this important infrastructure is not formally part of the water distribution system, people’s dependency on the pipas deliveries has forced it to become formalized in certain areas of Mexico City. This project will map the political and social considerations of this water delivery system while also using gps to map delivery trucks themselves. What is the range of their distribution network? How does this new water delivery system affect people’s daily lives? Who is served by this system and how often? We will focus on a single delegation in Mexico city to begin to answer these questions.