Developing Urban Indicators and Evaluating Policies

Moving beyond densification

In December 2012, the Mexican government embarked on an ambitious policy reform plan with the objective of defining the upcoming term’s agenda and increasing the country’s competitiveness and economic growth potential. Reforms touched on numerous sectors including energy, labor, telecommunications, monetary, finance, and education. Within these reforms, housing and urban policies play a key part. In this new policy environment, the federal government created a new federal ministry: the Secretariat of Urban, Agrarian, and Territorial Development (SEDATU), a national-level planning agency in charge of coordinating and carrying out the urban, regional, and housing vision established in the National Program of Urban Development and its related activities. To follow the objectives of the Programa Nacional de Desarrollo Urbano the new SEDATU, through the decentralized National Housing Commission (Comisión Nacional de Vivienda —CONAVI), is developing and coordinating public efforts focused on consolidating housing near existing urban areas and also extending quality housing to more Mexicans including those from lower income groups. This report, sponsored by INFONAVIT (Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores) —a major government-sponsored funder of mortgages for private sector workers— is a response to those new policies seeking to align mortgage lending with larger policy aims.

After conducting fieldwork in seven metropolitan areas (Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, Mérida, Aguascalientes, Cancún, and Oaxaca) and analyzing international densification experiences, the Rethinking Social Housing in Mexico research project argues that in order to achieve more sustainable and liveable cities, it is needed to move beyond the current densification efforts based on metrics of housing location and verticality.

Although the knitting thread of all the project’s components is to explore alternatives to the current housing production and urbanization models, the following sections of the report enlist a series of assessment tools to evaluate the progress on the policies promoted by SEDATU and related federal agencies. These tools, although not exhaustive, provide a basic how-to guide and key considerations for developing indicators and evaluating tools for planners, policy makers and the general public.

Part 4: Increasing Data Coordination and Developing Urban Indicators (compiled in a single PDF)

4.1 Intergovernmental Data Coordination

4.1.1 E-government

4.1.2 Spatial Data Coordination

4.2 Developing Urban Indicators

4.2.1 Top-Down or Expert-led Approach for Developing Indicators

4.2.2 Bottom–up or Participatory Approach for Developing Indicators

4.2.3 Bridging the Gap Between Expert-led and Bottom-up Approaches

Appendix A: Checklist of Takeaways

Appendix B: Density Definitions

Appendix C: Sustainability Definitions

Appendix E: Data: Retrofit and Densification Physical Strategies

Appendix G: International Urban Sustainability Indicators