Month: February 2014

Mexico City (3) Historical core and housing

Programa Parcial de Desarrollo Urbano Centro Histórico del Programa Delegacional de Desarrollo Urbano para la Delegación Cuahtemoc. Zoning districts and minimal percentage of building area to be allocated to housing.

Programa Parcial de Desarrollo Urbano Centro Histórico del Programa Delegacional de Desarrollo Urbano para la Delegación Cuahtemoc. Zoning districts and minimal percentage of building area to be allocated to housing.

The 2010 Plan shows a will to maintain housing in the historical core. The 2010 census has shown that there is still a long way to get there.

Biblio (78) Plan Cincinnati

I’ve never set foot on Cicinnati (albeit Sethsnap’s images have given me a certain idea on how this city is). But this plan has been awarded as one of the best comprehensive plans by the American Planning Association for its strategic approach, an interesting thing as it tries to go beyond conventional tools.

Maps 2014 (6) A persons map

maps 2014-6-census map america

The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, at Virginia University, has published a map showing the results of the 2010 US Census at the census block level. For each person in the country there is a dot: blue for Caucasians, green for people of African ancestry, red for Asians, orange for Hispanics, and brown for others. As your screen has no resolution enough to see the distinct dots, you will see hues that reflect the mixed color according to the proportion. So you can see population density as well as the geography of segregation.

Quite an interesting trip to enter this map. In some countries in which race data is not used for census (according to a legally established will to avoid discrimination), as in France, such a map can not be drawn (as the data does not exist in a systematic way), despite the fact that it could be of some use. This does not mean you have no data on poverty, but rather that you are portraying effects, not what you think may be the cause.

Mexico City (2) A Young city?

When you look at Mexico from Europe there is an image of a young country, with high birth rates. But as in most countries in Latin America this is changing; a relevant economic growth (albeit not that well distributed) and the results of some policies have these countries in the midst of a demographic transition that can lead the in two decades to age pyramids much closer to the ones nowadays common in more northern countries. As of today, these are still rather young cities.

Share of households with a head 60 or over

Share of households with a head 60 or over

In central Mexico City the families in which the head (in the census sense) is 60 or over are clearly a minority (the orange grid is 2 km). The historical core around the Zócalo (A) has very few, just the opposite of most European historical cores. There are areas as colonia Jardín Balbuena (B) or Rincón del Bosque (D) which have high family incomes, where older family heads are more relevant. Colonia San Juan de Aragon (E) has also a relevant share, but their situation must be different, as this is not an affluent area. The Tlatelolco area (C), one of the high symbols of the Mexican social housing architecture, has a rather reduced presence of such aged family heads, even as its building years would be in many countries a pre-requisite for an aging population. Anyway, these results are limited to the age of the head of the family, so there can be more data to analyse.

It is striking to see the central areas as nearly the youngest ones.

Unexpected meetings (5)

Madrid, Puente de Vallecas. Not a bad lab for so many slums around the world, as it has become a formal part of the city. The puzling thing here is this temporary parking, set to be part of a wider street. Just ser how zealous someone has been to paint on the tarmac the entrance arrow to nowhere…

Mexico City (1) No eyes on the street at megacity core?

Which is the biggest city in the world? Hard to tell; take a bunch of five geographers from different countries in front of the same territory, and chances are you will get five different limits maps for that same area. It is hard to know whether the largest city in the world is Tokyo, or Mexico, or Delhi, as you should begin by defining precisely what being a city means at such scales (UN criteria can be questioned). What seems clear is that the biggest city (in any sense) of the Spanish-speaking world is Mexico. As in other cases, again a city I have never set a foot on (so I thank any comment, especially from my Mexican readers). The country can be seen from Spain with mixed sensations: curiosity for such a culturally complex country, a degree of caution regarding an image of violence and inequality, astonishment due to the dimension of the problems, and interest for a society that seems to be evolving. This stroll will use as a guide a set of city block files from INEGI that have associated data and have led me to ask some questions.

Metropolitan area of the Mexico Valley

Mexico Valley metro area’s blocks

The first image shows most of the blocks of what can be defined as the (more or less) continuous city. Blue hues correspond to blocks in Mexico State, red being for those in the Federal District; color intensity increases with the population of each block. The graphical scale illustrates the spatial magnitudes of this, for a city that in 2010 had some 20 million residents according to INEGI.

Total population by city block in Mexico's urban core

Total population by city block in Mexico’s urban core

The second image shows the symbolic city core; blue crosses are separated 500 m in each direction. Here are the Zócalo square (1), the Cathedral (2), the Torre Latinoamericana (3), the Palacio de las Bellas Artes (4) and the Paseo de la Reforma (5). Red hues are proportional to the population of each block, written on each of them. It is surprising to see that this area, with 220 blocks, has a population of just 68.000 on 4,5 sq km, a density (150 per hectare) which seems rather reduced for an urban core; the figure seems justified by retail and office uses, but not due to an increasingly older population, as in other urban cores (see the following images). The midterm impact of recent measures as the conversion to a pedestrian configuration of calle Madero, which is positive for mobility and security, should be positive, but remains to be verified in terms of local demography.

Judging from these references, and taking Jane Jacobs as a reference, the question is whether there are any eyes at night over the core of the megacity…

Population up to 14 by block

Population up to 14 by block

Population over 60 by block

Population over 60 by block

Biblio (77) Parking in New York

biblio 77- parking NY

The NYC Department of City Planning has just published an inner ring residential parking study examining all the complexities of that issue. The study focuses on a set of neighbourhoods in which the zoning rules require residential parking, but which have potential for a reduction by improving other transportation modes. The potential for an evolution is acknowledged.

Maps 2014 (5) Sara Graham

maps5-sara graham

Sara Graham is a Canadian artist working on maps as art objects. Her maps of Canadian cities, re-assambled as a collage of road symbologies, are an interesting part of a work in which architecture is also relevant. And some works, as the maps of Prince Edward Island, get close to some Guy Debord proposals to rectify the Seine at Paris

maps5-sara graham.autop