Planners Transform Forgotten Spaces into Public Places in Mexico City

In one of the world's largest cities, every little bit of space counts in the quest to create respites from the clamor. A popular program in Mexico City is turning vacant and neglected spaces under its freeways into commercial and recreational space.

"Urban planners here, in one of the world’s most populous and crowded cities, have found a way to add thousands of square feet of new commercial and recreational space," reports Mick Miroff. "And it isn’t costing local government a cent."

"Their gambit is called Under Bridges ('Bajo Puentes'), and it’s a simple idea: Convert the vacant, trash-strewn lots beneath Mexico City’s overpasses and freeways into shopping plazas, public playgrounds and outdoor cafes."

“'These were spaces that generated no benefit and had been illegally appropriated as dumping grounds for trash or as homeless campsites,' said Eduardo Aguilar, an urban planner for the Mexico City government who helped design the program. 'They were spaces that cost the city to maintain and were a drain on resources.'”

According to Miroff, four of the Under Bridges project have been completed so far, with plans for 20 more in the works. 

Full Story: In Mexico City, planners turn vacant space under freeways into places to work, dine, play

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