Mexico City, Mexico
MEXICO CITY AT-A-GLANCE
Built on an island in Lake Texcoco in the early fourteenth century, the
Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was the largest city in the Americas. Situated
at more than 2000 meters above sea level in a closed mountain valley, this
city—which eventually would become Mexico City—was rebuilt after the
Spanish conquest and served as the political, administrative, and
financial center of a major part of Spain's colonial empire.
Mexico's industrial development was disrupted during the revolutionary
period (1911-1920), but by the late 1930s the country experienced a period
of sustained economic growth, fueled in part by rapid national population
growth. Mexico City in particular saw its population swell, as massive
rural migration to the city augmented its natural growth curve.
Urban agglomeration in 1990 was 20.2 million, and
is estimated to reach 25.6 million by the year 2000. This growth
represents an annual rate of change of 2.4% for the decade.
A defining aspect of Mexico's population is its youth; in 1980, 48.9%
of the total population was in the 0-19 age group. Another important
figure is the 40% of the total population that live in "informal
settlements." Average life expectancy in Mexico City is 66 years for males
and 72 years for females.
The most important industrial activities undertaken
in the city include the manufacture of clothing, furniture, electrical
goods, and other goods.
Health and Environment
Pollution may be Mexico City's most
serious problem. The geographical location of the basin, its
meteorological characteristics, and the emission of air pollutants combine
to produce smog unparalleled in any other Latin American city.
It is estimated that at least one quarter of the more than 10,000 tons
of solid waste generated daily is dumped illegally or remains in the
streets. Doctors report that it is difficult to gauge the likely permanent
effects of such varied forms of pollution on human health.
Health in Mexico City varies considerably by economic class. The infant
mortality rate in poor areas is up to three times as high as that in the
rest of the city.
Infrastructure and Social
Transportation—Traffic ranks among Mexico
City's most serious problems, causing an estimated daily loss of 1.3
million man-hours of productivity. Studies calculate that the city's 2.6
million private automobiles are responsible for 50% of traffic congestion
and approximately 80% of air pollution.
Mexico City has a large metro system, containing 120 kilometers of
track with more currently under construction.
Water—82% of the population receives indoor running water. In
squatter settlements, the percentage drops to 50%. To ensure an adequate
supply of water the city has had to pump an ever-increasing volume from
remote supply sources at lower altitudes.
Sewerage—An estimated 3 million residents in peripheral areas are
not hooked up to the sewerage network. In these areas raw sewage is
discharged into riverbeds or else pollutes underground aquifers by seeping
into the ground.
Integrated System for the Recycling of Organic Waste (SIRDO)
low-income population of Il Molino bought land through collective credit
from FONHAPO. (?)They have incorporated several types of
innovations into their community. Their houses display three to four
different styles of self-help construction using prefabricated modules
made on site with local materials. Household waste water, garbage, and
sewerage are conducted by above-ground rubber tubing into a SIRDO, which
dries and filters it to create water clean enough for aquaculture and
community gardens, as well as fertilizer used for home gardening and
reforestation and which may eventually be sold for a profit.
For the past fifteen years this massive ecological
project, an initiative of the federal government, has been reclaiming a
salty lakebed from an infested dustbowl. Steps have included treatment of
the city's sewerage and drainage waters, the creation of small dams and
fresh water reservoirs, and the implementation of an extensive
reforestation program. The reforestation effort today accounts for some 25
million new trees, regenerating the land through anti-erosion measures
while also introducing original plant- and wildlife.
Considered to be one of the most effective ecological restoration
projects ever undertaken, the initiative's accomplishments include the
formation of five artificial lakes to store both recycled water and
rainwater, the construction of two sewerage recycling plants, and the
promotion of education programs to create an understanding of the
environment. In addition, the project has aided in establishing a wildlife
- Lic. Gustavo Esteva, Opción, S.C , Presidente
- Arq. Roberto Eibenschultz, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
Unidad Xochimilco Rector
- Dr. Hugo García Pérez, Planificación del Departmento del Distrito
Federal Director General
- Arq. Gustavo Romero, Directorio del Centro Operacional de
Vivienda y Poblamiento, A.C. (COPEVI) Presidente
- Arq. Alejandro Suárez, Centro de Vivienda y Estudios Urbanos
- Lic. Miguel de la Torre, Instituto SEDUE, Asesor
- Lic. Manuel Arango, Restauración Ambiental, A.C.
- Arq. Pedro Gastón Pascal, Gerente
- Dr. Iván Restrepo, Centro de Ecodesarrollo, A.C. (CECODES),
- T.S. Martín Longoria, Dirigente de Grupos Populares
- Arq. Alfonso Iracheta, Planeación Urbana y Regional, Universidad
Autónoma del Estado de México Director de Carrera
- Dr. Mario Waissbluth Centro de Technologías y Innovaciones
- Arq. Angel Mercado Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana,
Periodista y Coordinador del Seminario de la Ciudad de México
- Sr. Jorge González Aragón, Universidad Autónoma de Puebla,
(Programa de Estudios Municipales) Investigador
- Arq. Jean Robert Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos
Centro de Información sobre Tecnología Alternativa
- Antropólogo Eduardo Nivon Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
- Arq. Cecilia Martínez Leal Secretaria de Desarrollo Urbano,
- Arq. Enrique Ortiz Flores Mega-Cities Project México,