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A Growing Mexico City Faces Infrastructural Hurdles

As Mexico City continues to add population, issues of sprawl, inequality, and water infrastructure remain challenges in the growing megalopolis.
November 5, 2015, 1pm PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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With its population expected to hit 24.33 million people by 2050, Mexico City residents, planners, and officials are facing increasing challenges to livability. Reporting in Inverse, Neel V. Patel writes that the three biggest challenges facing the city are inequality, poor water management and "questionable transportation."

The growing concentration of wealth in the city's center has led to gentrification which has pushed out poorer residents to Mexico City's periphery, adding to the issues of sprawl. Patel writes: "Sprawl also exacerbates problems of mobility. Mexico City residents — 78 percent of which don’t have a car — spend an average of two to three hours commuting to and from work. There's a dire need for more public transportation that is not being met." Addressing sprawl and transportation issues will remain a challenge due to lack of coordination between various local and federal agencies.

Lastly, the city's drainage system is antiquated and unable to manage heavy rainfalls, resulting in flooding and mudslides. The poor water management system has also led residents to get their supply of water from water trucks, rather than relying on local infrastructure.

Water management is an especially paradoxical problem. “The irony,” says [Diane Davis, an urban planning professor at Harvard], “is that Mexico City” — built on a lakebed — “has an excess of water, but it’s not well managed or captured. There’s a lot of rainfall that produces a lot of flooding. At the same time, the drainage infrastructure is such that it can’t separate sewage from drain water.”

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 in Inverse
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