Thursday, February 17, 2011

MEXICO: Capital Badly in Need of Urban Regeneration

By Emilio Godoy 

Is urban regeneration feasible in Mexico’s capital city? This is a question asked by planning experts and by a large proportion of the city’s population. Some projects currently underway indicate that the answer could be yes.
Ecological architectural design, green rooftops, vertical gardens and the principles of permaculture (management of land, water, energy and human settlements based on natural interrelations) are the foun ation of a new kind of development that aims to make urban spaces more habitable, friendly and sustainable. "Regeneration is possible. We have a lot of areas in our city where we can restore the soil and the environment and connect them with human activities," Elías Cattan, head of Taller 13, a regenerative architecture firm, told IPS.
Urban regeneration involves environmental, physical, urban, social and economic aspects, and proposes alternative designs to improve quality of life for people in a district or entire city. Founded in 2001, Taller 13, together with the architecture department of the private Ibero-American University (UIA) in Mexico City and the Regenesis Group in the U.S., offers workshops to promote this design approach, which has gathered momentum over the last decade.
"It will be neither an easy nor a small-scale undertaking, but I do think it is viable," José Antonio Flores, founder and head of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Efecto Verde (Green Effect), told IPS. 

A regenerated district in Mexico City, photo by Gary Denness

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