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Mexico City is one of the ten most populated cities in the world, with 20.

2 million inhabitants therefore is

a huge challenge in this days to control the way the city keeps growing, moving and changing.
Historically Mxico City has been one of the most populated zones in Mexico, in other reasons because
of the good location and the disponibility of natural resources in there.
In the XIV century, this megalopolis used to be a lake, until the Aztecs, a tribe of nomad warriors arrived
to it and following a legend, decided to establish in there and found the Great Tenochtitlan. To reach
this difficult task of building a city in a lake, they design a system of islands, named in spanish
chinampas , that consists in a frame made of logs and sticks in which above is deposited soil, then
they could harvest and built their houses above them.
and they were connected by the unconstructed water canals, all the citizens used to move by canoes.
Tenochtitlan was one of the most important cities in the Center and South of Mexico, they had an
economy based on agriculture, fishing and wars. So, in order to have an efficient way of transportation
for the supplies and control for their enemies, they accomplished one of the most important heritages
for the city, their urban planning.
The Great Tenochtitlan was located in the center of the lake, indespite of being a mistake or a difficulty,
the lake became a natural barrier from their enemies. The hydraulic system was also very important for
the development of the city, the lake had a sweet water side and also a salt water side, therefore they
constructed a dam that dived the both sides, and allowed them also to fish and use the sweet water
for self consumption. The city had two main axis, North-South and East-West, that connected the city
to firm land, they were land made and people coould get to the city by walking. The political,
economical, educational and religious powers of the city were located in the center, the noble people
used to live near this area, and in the borders were located the agicultural blocks. In the center of the
city were located several markets where argriculturists went to exchange their products.
The Spanish arrived to Tenochtitlan and conquered the city in 1521, afterwards they kept the same
urban plan for many years, and keep expanding the city in the same way that was designed, and in
fact the main axis and most of the central urban plan of the city that Aztects designed remain until our
days, they kept the island and based in the existing axis that the Aztecs designed and made a grid
using many existing water canals; the political, economic and religious powers were located in the
center of the city,
he Spanish lived in the near
surroundings of them and the Aztecs were evicted to the fairest blocks of the city center, now a days it
would be considered working suburbs. After Spanish arrived to the city they made one of the biggest
mistakes that is reflected nowadays in the city, they start plumbing many of the canals of the antique
Tenochtitlan, denying the nature of it, of the lake city, then they suffered many floods, and even though
they happened once and a while, mostly in the
most marshy zones of the city.
In the end of the XIX century, Porfirio Daz, a president who was in the power for thirty years, gave
tranquility to the country after a period of war and his main task was to make Mexico as competitive as
many other countries, in all the possible ways, of course urban planning was not the exeption.
By the 1930, the nearby small towns near the city, which were one hour away from the city center,

The beginning of the chaos in the city begins from 1930-1950. From 1930 to 1980, the city population
increased from one million to eighteen millions, the urbanized area increased from 80 to 130 square
kilometers. The main problem among the high rise in the migration, in the 1950 , was that many of the
regulated by the government, therefore they established in the surroundings generating a big amount
politics against this invasion, they decided to not giving public services to this areas, and evicted several
of this settlements and prohibited the settlements of
enough. Then the state that adjoins with the Mexico city, the Estado de Mexico, took the opposite
policies, and it became a serious problem, the government of this state, encouraged the industrial
zones, and gave facilities to built new settlements, that were much more economic than in the Mexico
City, but this policies were applied in the frontier with the Mexico City, so instead of generating a new
urban zone in the center of that state, it fed the megalopolis that we have now a days. In the 1960 , the
overpopulation of the city was in the north and center of it, the nearby settlements in the south, such
as Coyoacn, Tlalpan, San ngel, Xochimilco, were still a little bit separated from the city, but after the

inauguration of the brand new campus of the National Autonomus University of Mexico near
Pedregal de San Angel, designed by
the famous Mexican architect Luis Barragn. This area became much more populated by families of
So in order to In 1967, because of the overpopulation the federal government started the construction of
the metro, which now a day has 12 lines that connect the entire city but is not efficient because the city
keeps expanding. It was until 1970 that the city was divided by the city in 16 districts to improve the
control of the city, then between 1972 and 1976 the first Urban Development Plan for the Federal District
was created and approved ant the end of 1976; this is the first official instrument that regulates the
urban zones in the city, in order to guaranty the density of construction, the density of population, the
height of the buildings, and the connection of the urban zones in order to have comfort living areas
and also to avoid long distance travels from residential zones to working places. Then this Urban plan
was a feed back to generate a Federal law about the human settlements.
In the 1980, there was the first modification of the Urban development Plan, where they allowed to
construct higher buildings from 10 to 30 levels and it became a huge infrastructural problem, but was a
tool that tried to avoid the side expansion of the city and concentrate it. In 1986, after the earthquake
that hit the city in 1985, the Urban Development planning was change again; the heights of the
buildings were reduced significantly, by that time it looked like the city forgot that it was constructed
above a lake. Afterwards, many regulations for the construction came forward, because of the
migration from the center, one of the most affected areas of the city to the south, and also in order to
prevent another big catastrophe by controlling the heights of the buildins, and their construction in
other of the place they are constructed.
The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (SEDUVI) is the agency of the Government of the
Federal District responsible for designing, coordinating and implementing urban policy of the City of
Mexico. The task of urban planning of Mexico City now a days, includes the orientation of growth,
recovery of public spaces, reviving disused areas, protection and conservation of the urban landscape
and the promotion of self-sustainable social housing construction. These tasks seek the competitive
development of the city and to promote projects that have a positive impact on the quality of life of the
inhabitants of Mexico City. Among the actions that guide the work of the SEDUVI, are improving
mobility, self-sustaining growth that extends over conservation areas, maximizing use of urban land,
productivity, equity and universal access.
The SEDUVi has many tools for the uran planning in Mexico City and its management in urban terms.

Urban Development Law

It establishes the foundations of urban policy of the Federal District, through the
regulation of its land use and providing for the protection of rights Mexico City, controlling
urban growth and the role of sustainable development of urban property, for the benefit
of present and future generations of the Federal District.

ARTICLE 2 General Principles

I. Urban development plan , based on projections of population growth of the city of
Mexico , in order to ensure sustainability of the City of Mexico by the exercise of the rights
of the citizens of the Federal District to urban land , the housing, quality of life, urban
infrastructure , transportation , public services, urban cultural heritage , space public ,
leisure and urban image and its compatibility with the urban planning system of the
Federal District ;
II. To assert the role of sutentable property development land.
III. Encourage participation and consultation with the public, social and private sectors in
urban renewal activities, provision of urban infrastructure, public services, conservation,

restoration and enhancement of the urban cultural heritage, recovery and preservation
of the urban image and urban growth controlled .
IV. Support actions in matters of this Act in managing the people performing individually
and / or through the representation of social organizations of the colonies, towns and
neighborhoods of Mexico City organized under the standards;
V. Establish and update the urban planning system that meets the mobility of the
population of the Federal District and development needs of the different zones of
Mexico City and its geopolitical conformation

Sustainable Deelopment Council (CONDUSE)

It is a permanent advisory body of plural participation of the public, social, academic,
trade union and business sectors, among others, aimed to assess studies, proposals,
recommendations, query and analysis in the field of sustainable urban development.
It is a guiding element of a coordinated agenda to establish a body of support and
constructive criticism, through the Committee of Experts of CONDUSE, has power to rule
or analyze large government projects through review, analysis and commentary.


a. Norms in Practice Areas: The Areas defined by priority guidance, marked by SEDUVI will
have an specific urban treatment.
b. General Norms of Management: Regulate the intensity, occupation and forms of land
use and urban space, the characteristics of the buildings, the transference of potential,
and the urban development and promotion of social housing.

District Urban Development Programs

As I mentioned before, Mexico City has sixteen districts, and each has its Urban Planning Program,
regulated by SEDUVI, a District Urban Development Program was established as a set of essential tools
to guide urban development and land use, as an expression of the will of citizens for transparent use of
public resources, within a framework of coordinated action between different instances whose
responsibility to operate and all stakeholders to improve the productive capacity of the delegations. This
organization form also helps the procedures for licenses, permisions and everything concerning to new
All citizens have access to this Programs in the web page of SEDUVI, the districts are in an alphabetical
order and there are three tools:
A. Document of the District Urban Development Program. In this document is explained the
antecedents, diagnosis, future projection, the territorial order norms,
B. District Urban Development Program Plan, This is the graphic application of the document, in
which is possible to see the restrictions of each terrain.
C. District organization by Colonies.
Also, it is possible to locate an specific terrain by the web page ( in
which the user can find it by address, navigation, cadastral number, or streets that are close to it. This is
a very useful tool because is easy for everybody and also gives the information all the restrictions that
the property has according to the District Urban Development Program.
About height restrictions, there are different depending the Districts, sometimes is in order to respect
the existing buildings, the importance of the street, if it is main, secondary or third grade street. And the
levels depend on the topographic zone they are located.
After the earthquake of 1985, there were many topographic studies of the kinds of soil in the city, and
the city was divided in three main zones:

The hills zone, that is in the surroundings of the valley and consist maily of rocks;


The Transition zone, Is the space between the Hills zone and the Lake Zone. The groundwater is
located at 20m below; it is composed by sand and sandy loam mixed with clay.
The Lacustrine zone, groundwater located at 10m below or less, the principal type of soli is highly
compressible expansive clay.

This map regulates the kind of foundations that each building requires depending on the zone where is
inserted in, in order to prevent the way that the building would react in an earthquake, the type of soil
and foundations restricts the heights of the buildings. This is inserted in the Building Regulations for the
Federal District, which was also redacted after the earthquake.

Partial Programs for Urban Development

They establish the planning of urban development and land use in specific areas of the city.
Partial programs are special cases adapted to the particular conditions of some areas, for
example, the ones that regulate historical centers or green areas. Note that for some Partial
Programs instrumentation no longer meets the needs for which they were created, because
of the years they were produced and consistent in the course of these years there has been
a strong land speculation, changes in urban dynamics Mexico City and the challenges
identified in the General Development Program of the Federal District from 2007 to 2012.
There is a total of 45 Partial Urban Development Programs in the Federal District:

29 correspond to urban land.

16 correspond to soil conservation.
9 was in effect.
27 have completed its term.
9 Do not indicate timing or effect.

Since I'm here, especially in this class, I compare my country with Europe in scale, not in
infrastructure, that we are light years apart for lack of specific measurements of control and
regulation. I compare and think a lot of Mexico development programs, especially since the
class in which you talked about the European Union and the decision to not have megalopolis
in it, made me think that is the way that my country should grow, it would have prevented
the Mexico City became the chaos that is today. I think that the main problem was that for
many years was it the most
t other that could
support it, avoiding the centralization, and providing to the capitals of other states the
necessary infrastructure, in order of having a much more active participation in the country's
economy, in this way, control or prevent the excessive growth of the city of Mexico. Now a day
these policies are just beginning. I think that, even though was late, the Development
programs are improving the way of life in Mexico City, trying to avoid and control the
continuous growing of the city, and looking for the best ways of living.


is giving impetus to other states to avoid migration from the countryside to the city