What I Did Will Be Doing For My Winter Vacation

For those who haven’t heard, I was lucky enough to receive a GSD International Community Service Fellowship Grant to do research / work on a project in Mexico over the holiday break. The grant has a couple of stipulations that go along with it. Most significantly, I’ll be giving a talk in the GSD’s student lecture series next semester (which I’ll expect you all to be at), but along with that, I have to blog about the project while it’s going on.

For the project itself I’m working with a community development foundation (the Fundación Horizonte) in Mexico City to develop a “green street” project. I know the founder of FH from my time at BU. He used to work with the Fundación Centrohistórico, which is the CDC that has been working to revitalize the Centro Histórico, the oldest part of the city.

The idea behind the project is essentially to use the concept of a green street to stimulate sustainable development in Mexico and test out the idea of green development as a community development strategy. The street will be a showcase of sustainable technologies, but beyond that, the foundation will work towards getting organizations, community groups, businesses and artists that work on environmental issues to move into the space as well so that it becomes an incubator district for green thinking in the DF.

Green Street Project Site Map

My place in the project is to evaluate a couple of sites for their suitability. I’ve been asked to generally ignore the technical aspects of “greening” the streets and to think about the project more from a social, community development, perspective. I’ll be looking at traffic, social structures, the physical form of the areas, possibilities for urban agriculture, ect.

I leave on Dec 27th and I’ll be in MX for 10 days. My goal is to blog every day if possible while I’m there. Between then and now, I’m going to be doing research on the city and developing a better framework for evaluating the areas, so I’ll probably be posting a few times between then and now as well.

I look forward to hearing your comments (on the project, restaurant and museum suggestions, whatever else).


Alex 9:09 PM  

Clifford Wirth has done some interesting stuff about urban politics and transportation policy in the city...you have probably found that already. I would also say that it's hard for me to think about urban agriculture in Mexico without thinking about the past...although the entire ecosystem is different now, basically all agriculture there used to be "urban" in a sense. This site has some pretty cool visuals: http://sidewalksprouts.wordpress.com/history/international-history-of-urban-ag/tenochtitlan/. It's almost worth visiting Xochimilco in the winter just to see the chinampas.

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