Mexico City: A disorganized construction

Mexico City's government abandoned social housing and low-income families
Mexico City: A disorganized construction
Poor housing in Mexico City- Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
10/10/2018
09:21
Mexico City
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What models should cities rely on? Growing vertically or horizontally? In the beginning, the growth towards the suburbs takes place almost by inertia, as it happened in most of the Mexican cities, especially in the capital since 1940.

The model becomes unsustainable over the years because the access points are not enough, Ciudad Satélite is the perfect example, and daily commutes take from 3 to 5 hours every day.

Since the mid-twentieth century, Mexico City began to understand the issue and drove the construction of the so-called multi-family dwellings, with the goal to substitute poor housing, transformed the collective relations, and value the urban space. Those in favor of the concept point out that it had a social approach, where people and their needs mattered.

Eighteen years, the publication of a proclamation that limited the construction of homes in 12 out of the 16 municipalities, to only drive construction in Cuauhtémoc, Benito Juárez, Miguel Hidalgo, and Venustiano Carranza. Was the beginning of a housing boom in the Mexican capital.

The purpose of the proclamation was to take advantage of the public services that existed in certain municipalities, instead of building new drainage systems, drinking water supply systems, or communication routes in distant areas. They called for prioritizing social housing, but the call was never answered.

Soon after, the vertical housing boom spread throughout the capital. In some areas, the enormous towers are built in a short time, despite the neighbors' protests against the projects because they represent a bigger services demand in neighborhoods, where those services are scarce, such as safe water.

The September 19, 2017 earthquake showed the dark side of the boom: some of those properties were built with materials of dubious quality and without the authorities' supervision.

In the last three presidencies, the developments emerged without the right planning. Construction companies privileged economic profits end left elements such as safety, services, or the construction of social housing on the background.

In theory, betting on vertical growth is the right thing to do, but when the local government turns away from urban planning and leaves everything on the hands of powerful real state companies, the result might not be what millions of people expect, who need a place to live.

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