ORGANIZATIONAL AND URBAN ANALYSIS

In the following chapters we aim to learn about the existing organizational, and urban processes, as well the existing architectural design typologies of Housing in Queretaro's. We analyze the parts being played by the players and their influence on the quality of social housing.

We then focus on two areas of the city; on the one part we analyze the city center which serve as an example of sustainable development from our point of view. After doing so, we focus on one largely extended part of the city in the northwest suburbs and its housing typologies.

ORGANIZATIONAL ANALYSIS

INTRODUCTION

In the first part of this chapter we focus on two of the main-role players who are directly involved in the development of quality in social housing in Mexico. We will first analyse the government and the corresponding institutions, funds and programs. Then, we analyse some of the non-profit organizations which promote alternative ways in the production of social housing. In the second part of this chapter we focus on understanding the organizational process of the two main forms of the production of social housing: informal housing and developer driven mass housing. To understand the process of the informal settlements and the developer-driven mass housing we will mostly describe examples situated in and around Mexico City, which represent a paradigm of an urban condition. The authors Jose Castillo and Prof. Eckhart Ribbeck have been doing a lot of research on this topic and were an important literary source for our study.

The following aspects are described during the analysis of the two processes:

  • General information and the context
  • Actors involved in the process and their roles
  • Financing strategies
  • Positive and negative aspects
  • Conclusions

GOVERNMENT, HOUSING PROGRAMS AND INSTITUTIONS

GOVERNMENT

The right to adequate housing for every citizen is recognized by the Constitution of Mexico. However housing policies are still far from creating the conditions to enable the entire population to realize their right to adequate housing. Adequate distribution of land and security of possession, availability of services and infrastructure, maintenance possibilities, public programs, investments and policies. 64

HOUSING INSTITUTIONS AND FUNDS

Formal financial institutions have not been the main source of credit for the poor. Generally, the people willing to build turn to informal sources such as credit from friends, family, direct cash loans, or payment in kind of credit purchases, saving and credit organizations. 65

FUNDS THAT PROMOTE FORMAL HOUSING

INFONAVIT (The National Workers Housing Fund Institute) and FOVISSSTE (Housing Fund of Social Security and Services Institute for State Workers) are public institutions created in the early 1970s’ to manage social saving funds (contributions from employers to employees accounts). These institutions fund housing construction and grant individual mortgage loans to workers for buying a house. 66

These institutions only assist less than one-fifth of workers who have the right to request funding. Workers form the informal market are not entitled to such a fund and must look for other ways to afford building a house.

64 The complete texts of the constitutional articles on housing rights may be consulted on the web site www.unhabitat.org/unhrp/pub.
65 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, (UNCHS-Habitat). (2005) Land Tenure, Housing Rights and Gender in Mexico. p. 2-14
66 Noriega, Carlos. (2002). Medición de los subsidios explícitos e implícitos en el sector de la vivienda en Mexico. Low Income Housing: Issues and
Options. Vol. II, Report No. 22534-ME, Washington, D.C., p.14-16

FUNDS THAT SUPPORT INFORMAL SOCIAL HOUSING

FONHAPO (Popular Housing Fund) was created in 1981 as a trust of BANOBRAS (National Bank of Public Works and Services) to assist workers in the informal sector and poor people not served by the public institutions. These groups account more than 60 percent of the total population of Mexico. At that time, FONHAPO operated with fiscal revenues and funds from the World Bank, extending loans to social organizations (group loans) and public agencies for the upgrading and self-building of houses in progressive developments, with subsidies of up to 50 percent. However, since the early 1990s’ it has suffered drastic budget reductions and has now been completely restructured, favoring individual loans. SEDESOL (This institution is now attached to Ministry of Social Development). 67

HOUSING PROGRAMS

The 2001-2006 Sector Housing Program is an instrument for the coordination of public actions of federal, state and municipal government institutions, as well as activities of groups and individuals related to housing issues. Its objectives include promoting and establishing policies and programs to purchase, build, lease or improve housing, with the participation of the three levels of the government and civil society. 68

In July 2001, two agencies were created to manage the Sector Housing Program: CONAFOVI (National Housing Promotion Commission) and CONAVI (Housing Council). is in charge of coordinating the efforts and actions of federal public entities related to the housing sector and promoting the active participation of state and municipal bodies. The idea is also to have a broader vision that would allow the combination of the housing issue with environmental and urban development policies. 69

67 SEDESOL (2001b). Programa Nacional de Desarrollo Urbano y Ordenación del Territorio 2001-2006, México.
68 Noriega, Carlos. (2002). Medición de los subsidios explícitos e implícitos en el sector de la vivienda. En Mexico Low Income Housing: Issues and Options. Vol. II, Report No. 22534-ME, Washington, D.C., p.14-16
69 CONAFOVI, http://www.conafovi.gob.mx

Currently, progressive housing programs incorporate a new approach aimed at promoting and creating saving funds called VIVAH (Progressive Housing Savings and Subsidies Program). VIVAH (now Tu Casa) was created and operated by SEDESOL. It is based on the concept of shared responsability between federal, state, and municipal governments. targets people living in extreme poverty with progressive housing projects (new or extension), including basic drainage, drinking water and electricity. 70

PROSAVI (Special Housing Credit and Subsidy Program) was launched in 1996 in Mexico City and in 1999 it began operating in the rest of the country. It is a program implemented by FOVI (Fund for Bank Operations and Housing Funds Ope). Families are granted with a direct subsidy (of up to 20 percent of the value of the house). offers finished houses at credit rates lower than those existing on the market. To obtain the subsidy, applicants must give a down payment of 7.5% of the value of the house, which is sometimes supported with loans granted by local authorities.

Participating housing institutions belong to different sectors of the public administration, making coordination difficult. FOVI (Fund for Bank Operations and Housing Funds Ope) is administrated by the Bank of Mexico; INFONAVIT(National Workers Housing Fund Institute) is an autonomous body; FOVISSSTE (Housing Fund of the Social Security and Services Institute for State Workers) depends on the health sector; FONHAPO, previously a trust of BANOBRAS (National Bank for Public Works and Services), is now part of SEDESOL. From 2001 on, initial attempts to redefine housing programs and coordinate them were carried out by a new institution, the National Housing Promotion
Commission (CONAFOVI). 71

70 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, (UNCHS-Habitat). (2005) Land Tenure, Housing Rights and Gender in Mexico. p. 60-62
71 Villavicencio, Judith (1995). La política habitacional y las alternativas de la vivienda para los pobres en la ciudad de México. Sociológica No. 29, pp. 85-101.

CONCLUSION: GOVERNMENT

Housing policies are still far from creating the conditions to enable the entire population to realize their right to adequate housing. Formal financial institutions have not been the main source of credit for the poor. Nowadays the aspiration to make that connection between the social and the architectural is all but an illusion. Planning and architecture seem irrelevant disciplines in the production of housing.

The government should care about the appropriate distribution of land. It is necessary to utilize optimally the urban land and it should be treated as a resource. On the other hand it is extremely important to promote redevelopment and redensification of existing urban areas.

Progressive housing programs launched by the government are exemplary models that optimize resources of people.

CONAVI has become a forum for the exchange of opinions and operate as a consultative and advisory body. Its council consists of representatives of the public sector, civil society groups, professional associations, and the universities, all of which work on housing issues.

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

A wide array of social organizations is involved in the movement for land and housing in Latin America. During the 1960s’ several NGOs were born, specifically focused on urban and housing problems within a social development perspective. The Housing Cooperative (COPEVI) was followed by the Centre for Housing and Urban Studies

(CENVI), House and City and the Social Housing Promotion Fund (FOSOVI). They became actively involved in urban popular movements in the 1970s and the 1980s. And in particular in the 1990s’, a decade of serious economic and political crises. 72

Their goal is to achieve exemplary models through local actions, they are not only focused in the construction of living spaces; they also address many other aspects of their members’ social, cultural and urban lives. They organize around supply, health, education, security, family planning, and gender issues. act politically to promote and defend their interests and their place in the city. More highly evolved groups promote ecological awareness and cultural creativity and they find the way to promote and share their experience. 73

CONCLUSION: NON PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

Non profit organizations like Funds and Housing Cooperatives work with a social development perspective. They are supporting and supervising what is happening with the money. Many times it is not only the money but more - namely the urbanism and the architecture – they are developing as well. They promote integration, cooperation, promotion of social and environmental issues. are supporting families of the low income sector, giving them access to financing with small saving, through cooperatives and micro credit institutions and NGO’s.

72 The NGO’s have been part of the Habitat International Coalition.
73 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, (UNCHS-Habitat). (2005) Land Tenure, Housing Rights and Gender in Mexico. p. 33

INFORMAL HOUSING

FORMAL HOUSING

GENERAL INFORMATION AND CONTEXT

The phenomenon of informal urbanization has become a very important element in the production of cities in developing countries. Mexico City represents the paradigm of such an urban condition: an area of 1,400 sq km contains a population of 18.5 million inhabitants, approximately 60 percent of whom live in settlements that began through some mode of informal urbanization. 74

ACTORS INVOLVED AND THEIR ROLES

A LARGE SCALE INFORMAL REAL STATE MARKET

Informal land sellers and speculators subdivide huge strips of land and sell the lots to low income families. The plots sold by the informal land sellers are not provided with infrastructure.

HABITANTS

During the process people make enormous efforts and mobilization to obtain an adequate status of their house. This process may take several decades until they are provided with basic infrastructure. The key figures during the self building are the “Albañiles”, which are the masons (craftsman) that have a certain experience and knowledge in construction.

74 Ward, Peter M. (1982): Mexico City. Rev. 2nd ed.: World cities series. Chichester: New York: J.Wiley, 1988, and Connoly, Priscilla “Uncontrolled Settlements ans Self-Built: What kind of Solution? The Mexico City Case”. in Help Housing: A Critique, ed. Peter Ward, 141-74. London: Mansell; Bronx.

Houses of informal settlements are not built as complete houses, but rather they pass through several construction phases.

FIRST GENERATION OF SETTLEMENTS

The first generation of informal settlements are characterized by having precarious houses with no services. Settlers must fight against threats and discrimination to which they are subjected by the city administration and established urban population (neighbors).

SEMI CONSOLIDATION

Even after one generation many houses are neither plastered nor colored, many upper stories remain construction sites. The semi-consolidated informal settlements give poor families an opportunity to live a normal life. Housing conditions are not good but at least tolerable.

Daily needs are more or less provided, although on a low level. Prices and rents are still relatively low because the neighborhood is not yet been invaded by investors and speculators.

CONSOLIDATION

Consolidation of a “colonia popular” is also a question of the overall economic situation. Nobody can tell what direction urban development will take in the future." 75

In Mexico City spontaneous settlements developed in the ‘60s and ‘70s, have achieved a semi-consolidated status. On one hand multi-story buildings, more or less complete infrastructure, commercial activities and basic public services. On the other hand high number of unsolved problems signs of stagnation. The consolidation ends when they acquire their legal property titles. 75

75 Ribbeck, Eckhart (2002): Die Informelle Moderne - spontanes Bauen in Mexiko Stadt, awf-Verlag, u. Städtebau-Institut (SI)

FINANCING

These are the most common financing strategies of families from the informal sector. 76

- Rotating saving and credit associations. These are informal associations of rotating saving and credit, in which members meet regularly to contribute a pre-determinated amount of money.
- Solidarity groups. are groups of three to 10 people, based on the system of the Graneen Bank of Bangladesh.
- Community banks. A society of 20-50 neighbors that obtains a loan and maintains a savings rate.
- Savings and credit cooperatives. These resources primarily come from the saving of the associates, who define their own policies.
- Tanda-Loan system: It is based on a savings method, which is a Mexican tradition, common among low-income groups called “Tanda”. In this case, a group of seveal people agrees to save a specific amount of money over terms according to their income; the number of terms equals the number of participants. At the end of each term, one participant collects the total sum saved during the entire period. That participant continues paying his/her part until all members collect their savings - usually without problems because payments are affordable to participants. 77

76 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, (UNCHS-Habitat). (2005) Land Tenure, Housing Rights and Gender in Mexico. p. 22
77 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, (UNCHS-Habitat).
op.cit.: p. 85-87

POSITIVE ASPECTS

MIXED USE AND COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES

The houses of low-income population serve not only for living, but also for economic livelihood, e. g. street trade, rudimentary shops, well equipped enterprises, small factories. 78 "Living in an incomplete house is absolutely normal."

The intense combination of living and working is one of the most important characteristics of informal building. Commercial activities are enriched by weekly markets that sell food and a large variety of products along the main streets (lack of a center) blocking the traffic.

In consolidated informal settlements commercial activities are already within a legal framework. It generates formal employment and employers are obligated to pay taxes. The most common commercial shops are: barbers, hairdresser, restaurants and bars, fitness, beauty salons, music and video shops, language and computer academics, dancing school, and so on. An important source is renting rooms to friends and relatives.

NEGATIVE ASPECTS

EXCESIVE DENSIFICATION

Through the rapid metropolization and urban growth, these areas are more and more incorporated to the city. When spontaneous densification and verticalization advances, many houses rarely have courtyards anymore, instead narrow corridors and light shafts. It has a profound impact on the urban structure, the traffic problems, pollution and excessive use of the land.

78 Ribbeck, Eckhart (2002): Die Informelle Moderne - spontanes Bauen in Mexiko Stadt, awf-Verlag, u. Städtebau-Institut (SI)

PROCESS DISCONTINUITY

The founding generation slowly withdraws and leaves the houses to their children, who are no longer as closely and emotionally bound to their neighborhood as their parents, even though they were born and raised there. Many young people would like to move to another city district as soon as the economic situation permits. 79

INFRASTRUCTURE

In young informal settlements there are no public facilities for years, therefore inhabitants depend on neighboring areas which implies large distances and increases costs and time of transport. Problems are often found among adolescents, because there are no local recreational
facilities or sports fields.

The lack of public services is partially compensated by private services. Many residents do not have health insurance because they work in the informal sector. Public clinics are generally far away and crowded.

For this purpose, numerous pharmacies, which also sell powerful medication without prescription, offer their service as do health centers and small private clinics that treat the common health problems of the “colonias populares” or low income neighborhoods.

CONCLUSION: INFORMAL HOUSING

Informal urbanization involves a series of decisions, strategies, and rules. An certain amount of planning is required. Dwellers use sophisticated and sometimes more effective devices to allocate resources, organize space and resolve social and economic needs. This form of planning develops over time together with the physical and social transformation of space.

79 Ribbeck, Eckhart (2002): Die Informelle Moderne - spontanes Bauen in Mexiko Stadt, awf-Verlag, u. Städtebau-Institut (SI)

DEVELOPER DRIVEN MASS HOUSING

DEVELOPER DRIVEN MASS HOUSING

GENERAL INFORMATION AND CONTEXT

In the past five years, for the first time in decades, informal growth in Mexico City is being challenged through a more accelerated pace of formal housing production. A series of changes in housing finance and construction have been implemented since the early 1990s allowing on the one hand more substantial land appropriations (of land that used to be communal), and on the other more effective policy for housing delivery. 80

ACTORS INVOLVED AND THEIR ROLES

Private developers and huge construction companies.

Their role is to deliver housing for the masses with cost-effectiveness and satisfaction of the client. The size of these developments is increasing as it becomes easier to purchase communal owned land, meaning that larger parcels can be pulled together and urbanized. Some of these planed neighborhoods in Mexico City reach 13,000 housing units done by a single developer (and in many cases designed by a single architect). 81

FINANCING

In the decade of the 1990’s the Inter-American Development Bank began the promotion of the direct housing subsidy concept, corresponding to strategies of presumed efficiency. The direct subsidy intends to avoid the subsidy located in segmentated forms (credit from friends, family, direct cash loans, or payment in kind of credit purchases, saving and credit organizations). In this way, the configuration of this new markets is made for the benefit of the construction companies. 82

80 Castillo Jose (2007): Mexico City’s paradoxical dialects of growth,
in: Domus No. 899 p.57
81 Ibid
82 Habitat International Coalition (2005): From marginality to citizenship,
41 cases of social production and management of habitat. Habitat
International Coalition-Regional Office for Latin America (HIL-AL):
Mexico City.

POSITIVE ASPECTS

BASIC SERVICES INSIDE A LEGAL FRAMEWORK

From the beginning on the client obtains legal land property titles.They have all basic services like: drinking water, electricity, streets and sewage.

CONSTRUCTION

The Quality of the materials doesn not often fulfill the minimum standards. The houses are finished with protective coats in roofs and exterior walls and therefor last longer. In unfinished houses of informal settlements, materials like steel and brick tend to degrade with time if they are not protected.

ECONOMY

It promotes the economy, generates work (legal sources of work).

EFFICIENCY OF THE INDUSTRIAL CONSTRUCTION PROCESS

Reduction construction time, costs, materials and rent machinery. The waste of material during the process is reduced.

NEGATIVE ASPECTS

Private companies defines and controls the production process. The minimum plot size with basic infrastructure and progressive housing programs are imposed. size and the impact of this developments has not been controlled by the state.

Programs simplify the process. Some of these planed neighborhoods reach thousands of houses done by a single developer and in many cases designed by a single architect.

Large scale interventions with a limited amount of planning. Repetitive rows of houses that control strictly urban processes. No planning for educational, commercial or social infrastructure. This typology leaves no room for progressive growth.

CONCLUSION: DEVELOPER DRIVEN MASS HOUSING

Planning is limited to the layout of the street grid, and the maximization of saleable land through the repetition of a very limited number of housing typologies is the norm. There is no zoning, no planning for educational, commercial or social infrastructure, very limited areas of public space, no integration with city transport networks, but most importantly, there is no room for growth and transformation in the neighborhood. This type of urbanization is destined to the simple construction of housing.

CONCLUSION: ORGANIZATIONAL ANALYSIS

GOVERNMENT

City plans have normally benefited the middle class and organized sector (developer). Housing programs are mainly focused in providing the population with new houses. The people should have the option to purchase, build, repair, extend or improve their dwellings.

The government has the capacity to manage the better use of the land and to use it as a resource. Flexibility of land use in response to changes resulting from growing.

NON PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

They are supporting and supervising what is happening with the money. Many times it is not only the money but more - namely the urbanism and the architecture – they are developing as well. They promote integration, cooperation, promotion of social and environmental
issues.

INFORMAL HOUSING

A significant amount of employment finds it´s place through the informal sector, in small and micro or individual enterprises. Also in the construction sector informal building has efficiently supplied the people with flexible typologies based on a traditional courtyard house. We should learn from informality and use it as a constructive urban condition. We should coordinate frameworks
and tools to deal with this urban phenomenon.

DEVELOPER DRIVEN MASS HOUSING

Inside a legal and professional framework this type of urbanization is destined to the simple construction of housing. There is no zoning, no planning for educational, commercial or social infrastructure, very limited areas of public space, no integration with the metropolitan transport networks. The most critical point of this typologies is that there is no room for growth and transformation.

 

URBAN ANALYSIS OF THE CITY CENTER

URBAN ANALYSIS: INTRODUCTION

 

The goal of this chapter is to gather knowledge from the two different parts of Querétaro in which we are interested. The first one is the city center and the second is the northwest suburban area.

The methodology is to read both parts of the city. In both cases we will talk about the urban rules which characterize the structure of the physical space. The next part of this reading is to identify in both cases the different uses, infrastructure and services which complement and conform the space.

THE CITY CENTER


Corregidora street and San Francisco Church in the City Center.

Today the city Querétaro is not only the capital of the state of Querétaro, it’s also an important center of industrial activity. While the city has sprawled outward in recent years in response to its growth, in the central part of the city the colonial flavor has been preserved. The historic Center has over 460 years of history and it is characterized for its colonial architecture and its beauty.

 

URBAN STRUCTURE

STRUCTURE

 
Plaza de Armas is a beautiful square surrounded by great baroque buildings, notably Casa de la Corregidora, seat of the State government, and Casa de EcalaCity. The municipality has also prioritized cleanliness, the cobblestone streets are practically spotless.

The planning of the new cities during the colonial period followed a simple model: The basic structure was formed by a street grid similar to a chessboard. Between the single streets numerous mostly rectangular building blocks were settled. In the middle of the city some of these building blocks were deleted of the plan or reduced in their size in order to create an open space around which the most important buildings were arranged: the church, the city hall, the houses of the merchants and the richest colonists.

In Mexico, where a large population was to be converted catholic, a special large yard called atrio was lay out in front of the church. Along the church side a smaller chapel was designed called “capilla de indios”. On holidays this place was used to hold service for indians in the open air. Today the churches are open to the public and the old “atrios” became plazas.

This design structure lead to an standard type city which was characterized by the following traits: 64

A two-dimensional pattern the so-called “traza” was layed out. A design of a third dimension was missing. In the American cities the basic structure formed by the streets and buildings often took exaggerated large sizes, while the individual buildings were small and modest. Usually the houses had only one floor.

The city had to be able to grow, and no one knew ahead of time, how large it would become. Accordingly to its grid structure the city could be expanded toward all directions and be extended depending on its necessity. outer boundary of the city was only provisional.

In Europe, specially in Spain, there was a very clear contrasts between the city and its surrounding landscape. the colonies, due to the flexibility of the cities boundaries and also due to the many extended free areas within the city - as many of the houses of the colonists contained a courtyard, and the large free area in the city center called “atrios”(plazas) - that was not the case.

Due to the regularity of the grid structure of the cities, which was usually planned by the Spanish bureaucrats from the green table, it was not possible to adapt the city to its respective landscape and environment. So the Latin American cities are by far more simply designed than the medieval cities in Europe, whose structure often depended on the natural environment and therefore could be substantially more complex. In the course of the time some cities that originally only had some dozens of house blocks became metropolises maintaining their original structure. This fixed structure designed in the 16th Century was still qualified for the town development in 19th Century. Actually it still corresponds in many aspects to today’s town development.

64 Benevolo Leonardo (2000): Die Geschichte der Stadt: Campus Verlag Frankfurt/New York: p. 674-687.

 

MIXED USE


In the picture Guerrero Street, many houses turned to offices, other ones combine housing and commercial use. The street level is most of the time available for shops, from the first level on are used as apartments.

RE-USE OF SPACE

The city center has proven to be a model that can be adapted to different uses. The traditional “patio houses” of the city center have been adapted to new uses like: public buildings, libraries, schools, restaurants, stores, etc

COMPACT CITY MODEL

The city center is pedestrian friendly due to the walking distances to work, school, shopping, etc. and the many pedestrian streets called “Andadores” connect the different plazas.

TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT

The city center has excellent connections to the rest of the city. The types of public transport are buses and taxis. potential of public transport is not fully used. increase of motor transport in the city center has caused traffic problems difficult to control. Narrow streets was a typical rule of warm weather cities, The guidelines of “Felipe II” for the urban structure of colonial cities are described in detail in the colonial period of the history framework chapter.

DENSITY

Density of economic, cultural and recreational activities, dense building typologies, with patios inside. Between dense building typologies we find open spaces like gardens, parks and plazas.


Andador Juarez

The narrow streets of the City Center make transportation by car very slow. There are few Parking Places. A lot of people choose to use the public transport or walk. Pedestrian streets called “andadores” connect the different Plazas. On the left is the view of the Santa Clara Church. Churches are visible from many spots.

INFRASTRUCTURE

INFRASTRUCTURE, SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES

Urban development requires on the one hand an adequate planning in terms of city growth. On the other hand the maintenance should be offered regularly. The municipality has prioritized cleanness and the restoration of old buildings.

ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES

The historical city is capable of generating an incredible amount of economic activities. It has become an important source of employment due to the fact that service companies, government and corporate offices have been established here. Other commercial activities established in the city are small shops, restaurants, street markets.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

Concentration of cultural activities like art galleries, museums, theaters, art exhibitions, music performances and movie festivals. 

INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES

Cafes and restaurants, which can be enjoyed during all the year in the moderate climate. These shops bring life to the spacious plazas and wide “Andadores” (pedestrian streets).

The city center has several parks; that provide recreational facilities. The parks offer family integration, green areas, children playground and sports fields.


Jardín de la Corregidora
This plaza is a very quiet one with only a few patio restaurants and cafes. The monument at the center is honoring, Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez who was a War of Independence hero, behind the statue is the “Arbol de la Amistad” (Tree of the Friendship), planted in 1977; it simbolizes hospitality for the visitors.

 

CONCLUSION: CITY CENTER

The historical city has been capable to adapt itself to different uses: housing, economic activities, it generates of employment, incredible amount of services and community facilities like: museums, theaters, libraries, hospitals, school, plazas, gardens, parks, stores and restaurants.

The “centro historico” is exemplary because of the way it has adapted itself through the history. Its morphology has been adapted to different uses during different periods.

The city center is quite pedestrian friendly due to the short distances for those who live and work in the quarter; Their children can go to school, there are services at hand and the many pedestrian streets called “Andadores” connect the different plazas. This makes the walking experience even more pleasant.

URBAN ANALYSIS OF THE NORTHWEST SUBURB

 

Public building like churches in this case are already being used and still under construction.
A regular behavior of suburban areas.

The northwest suburban area of the city has sprawled outward in recent years, mainly stimulated by the extended industrial development in the north of the city. Today part of the industrial area which once was in the outskirts of the city is part of the urban agglomeration.

Mexico City and Querétaro are located directly on the highway that connects the central region of Mexico with the U.S. (Panamerican Highway). The industrial area is located to the north of the city.
It is a similar model to that which appeared first in Mexico Cit where the north and west parts of the city are characterized by a combination of large developments of industry and low income housing settlements.

 

 

URBAN STRUCTURE

 

INFORMAL PATTERNS OR "RULES"

 

The urban pattern used in the informal settlements is the following: The territory of informal neighborhoods is organized in a regular grid which usually consists of orthogonal blocks of approximately 150 x 40 meters delimited by avenues not wider than 45 meters. The plots are arranged in accordance to the topography as well.

The plots of the different neighborhoods vary according to different developers and to the mode of occupation. Typologies from illegal sale neighborhoods are much more organized and regular than the ones from illegal occupation of land. Individual private lots are roughly 150 square meters.

FORMAL PATTERN RULES

 

Urban pattern rules are characterized by large-scale interventions. The dimensions of the grid are very similar to the pattern used in informal settlements. Planning is limited to the layout of the street grid, and the maximization of saleable land through the repetition of a very limited number of housing typologies is the norm.

 

PUBLIC SPACE

 

The areas of public space are very limited. The existent public spaces sometimes improvised or in bad condition.

OFFICIAL VS REAL PUBLIC SPACE

The occupation and transformation of a street into a space of public interaction is a natural process. The success of the use of a public space is determined by its flexibility and its location. Some of the so-called planned public-spaces fail to match the peoples needs and are not used by the people. In the case of this picture the plaza is located between between two big avenues. For pedestrians is not easy to reach the place.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

 

In many informal low income neighborhoods there are no public facilities for years, therefore inhabitants depend on neighboring areas which implies large distances and increases costs and time of transport. Problems are often found among adolescents, because there are no local recreational facilities or sports fields.

 

TRANSPORT

 

In some areas of Querétaro the traffic problems are almost unbearable. Efficient planning of the public transport and traffic does exist in a few areas. However, the large potential of public transport is not fully used, as an abundancy of congested streets show.

This city decided to privatize its public transit system: that’s why there are at least 3 different bus companies competing for customers, as shown in the picture above. Sometimes this creates rather hazardous conditions for pedestrians as buses are trying to pick up customers with their sometimes rudimentary and aggressive ways of driving in the road.

 

MIXED USE

 

The intense combination of living and working is one of the most important characteristics of “colonias populares” or low income neighborhoods.

DENSE TYPOLOGIES

 

Why is the “single family house” the preferred solution for the masses? Aren’t there other, by far more adequate responses to the need of the people that ensure a better quality and a more sustainable development of the city?

Demography: The accelerated population growth and the immigration of people from the countryside into the cities. Today mostly young people live in Mexican cities.

Price of Land: There is so much free space and land in Mexico, the price of the land in the peripheries of the city is comparably low. People can’t effort to rent an apartment. They prefer to have something very basic and develop it on their own over the time.

The people who live in these quarters develop a sense of identity through this typology: they need space to grow and people care more for their private property and their neighborhood as well. People are identified with their home, which ensures a satisfactory social status.

CONCLUSION: NORTHWEST SUBURB

There is a need of qualified urban planning for an urban integration and consolidation of the suburbs.
he future conditions of the suburbs of will depend in good part on planners’ and architects’ abilities to acknowledge the peoples needs and optimize the resources of the private and public sector. They should learn from informality and use as a constructive urban condition. He should coordinate frameworks and tools to deal with this urban phenomenon.

 

URBAN ANALYSIS: GENERAL CONCLUSIONS

We have learned from the compact model which is the City Center. Short distances, patio houses and plazas, and many other characteristics have shown us the true capabilities and benefits which it offers.

Suburban developments should provide their dwellers with:

Appropriate technical infrastructure,
Integration with city transport network,
Public and semipublic spaces,
Employment opportunities, commercial space and office space.

ANNEXES

The following pages contain mainly Images which are descriptive of different concepts which we have  mentioned in out Thesis.

BUILDING HEIGHT CITY CENTER

BUILDING HEIGHT NORTHWEST SUBURB

HOUSING TYPOLOGIES OF THE CITY CENTER

 

FORMAL HOUSING TYPOLOGIES OF THE NORTHWEST SUBURB

 

INFORMAL HOUSING TYPOLOGIES OF THE NORTHWEST SUBURB