A Potpourri of Planning's Many Forms - All in one City

In this fascinating photo essay, Jordi Sanchez-Cuenca explores Mexico City's urban morphology. Seemingly every type of urban form known to man can be found within the Mexican capital's boundaries.
December 27, 2012, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In neighborhoods planned and unplanned, in a variety of geometric shapes and amoebic growths, Mexico City's 20 million residents live in a seemingly endless variety of neighborhoods. Sanchez-Cuenca documents the diversity using aerial images. Interesting dichotomies can be discerned from 30,000 feet: between the modern and the historic, affluent and impoverished, natural and urban.

For instance, says Sanchez-Cuenca, "Modernist planning is still alive in Mexico, where planners appear to have substantial power in society. The challenge of resettling so many families in so few years has been solved through standardization. Many new settlements resemble enlarged microchips."

"Other developments — like Geovillas Santa Bárbara (above) — have curved streets and more diverse layouts, but they are usually for higher-income populations."

Sanchez-Cuenca concludes her essay by arguing for a new approach to planning for the city's poor — "one that empowers informal communities without imposing insensitive planning from above, addressing the roots of urban poverty instead of formalizing it."

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Published on Saturday, December 22, 2012 in POLIS
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