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Using the street in Mexico City Centre: temporary appropriation of public space vs legislation governing street use

Abstract

Historically there has been a rich discussion concerning the function of streets in cities, and their role in urban life. This paper outlines the relevance of temporary appropriation for understanding social dynamics within a given urban environment, looking in particular at activities occurring in the street. It takes as a case study Mexico City Centre and examines the laws and regulations set out by the government of Mexico City which regulate the use of the street. It contrasts this with the ways in which the inhabitants of the city appropriate public space on a daily basis. There is a contrast between the lack of clarity in the legislation surrounding potential activities occurring on the street, and a seemingly tacit consensus between citizens regarding how they appropriate such public spaces. We explore this contrast and outline ways in which public space is used in traditional and unexpected ways, how creative ways are found to use the street area within the spirit of the law, and where further research on this topic this could lead in future.

Published:
Pages:25 to 48
Section: Space
How to Cite
Lara-Hernandez, J. A., Melis, A. and Coulter, C. (2018) “Using the street in Mexico City Centre: temporary appropriation of public space vs legislation governing street use”, The Journal of Public Space, 3(3), pp. 25-48. doi: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v3i3.1135.

Author Biographies

J. Antonio Lara-Hernandez (BArch, MArch) joined the University of Portsmouth in 2017. Antonio holds a BArch in architecture (Universidad Marista, Mexico), and a Master (Domus Academy Milan, Italy). He has more than five years’ experience as a registered architect and urban designer and a chartered member of the Colegio de Arquitectos de Merida. In addition, he was a co-founder of the IMPLAN-Merida (Municipal Institute of Urban Planning in Merida City). His research and professional experience include works in Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand and United Kingdom. He focuses on topics related to informality in the urban landscape, as well as studies on urban sustainability and resilience in the context of world heritage city centres. Currently, his research interests are in the field of social sustainability and the temporary appropriation as an informal process of the urban landscape. He is collaborating at the Research Centre for Sustainable Cities in Campeche (Mexico) and the Cluster of Sustainable Cities in the University of Portsmouth (UK). Antonio has published several academic articles on the impact of the transformation of the built environment at the streetscape level towards the diversity of temporary appropriation in world heritage city centres.

University of Portsmouth
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Alessandro joined the University of Portsmouth in 2016. His specialist teaching, supervisory and research interests are in the fields of community resilience, environmental policies, and radical theories and criticism. Previously, at the University of Auckland, he was the head of the technology area and director of the Postgraduate engagement (School of Architecture and Planning). He has been a guest professor in Austria (die Angewandte Vienna) and Germany (Anhalt University Dessau). He has been honorary fellow at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and a keynote speaker at the China Academy of Art, at the MoMA New York and at the Venice Biennale. Alessandro is the Curator of the Italian Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale (2020). In 1996 he founded Heliopolis 21, an architecture and urban design firm based in Italy and Germany (Berlin). H21 received more than 20 international awards and prizes.

University of Portsmouth
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Claire is the manager of the Portsmouth-based Cluster for Sustainable Cities. She is also currently the project manager for the international project Climate Resistant Urban Nexus CHoices (CRUNCH). Her research interests lie in exploring how the business networks surrounding urban SMEs can reduce business risks and help to make them behave more economically, environmentally and socially sustainably.

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