Mexico City MAPPING A large federation of small cities | The Plan
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Mexico City MAPPING A large federation of small cities

Mexico City MAPPING A large federation of small cities
By Andrea Boschetti, Federico Parolotto -

In this issue CityPlan crosses the ocean to explore Mexico City, one of Latin America’s cultural capitals.

The metropolitan area of Greater Mexico City is home to more than 20 million people, making it one of the largest cities in the world. It is the largest city in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world after Tokyo. 

As usual, we examine the city by means of five GIS-generated maps graphically overlaid with data freely available on the Internet.

The first map shows population distribution in the territory. Comparing this with the others - showing the topography, availability and distribution of services and amenities, public transport and vegetation in the urban fabric, respectively - helps us assess whether the city has enjoyed largely well-balanced development or if, on the contrary, urban growth has been haphazard and uncontrolled.

The first map shows fairly clearly how Mexico City is the result of the progressive “compacting” of once independent areas. It also indicates that Mexico City is multi-centred. The picture resembles an extraordinarily intricate puzzle that could never be the result of drawing board planning. Each borough has its own special character. In contrast, the planned layout of the central area of the city is clearly evident. It is within this regular grid that most of the administration and government institutions and innumerable museums are located. 

The natural contour map clearly shows Mexico City’s special geographical features: its location at more than two thousand metres above sea level on a huge plateau that becomes mountainous terrain towards the west, creating a natural boundary to urban expansion. On the opposite side, starting from the airport, the city starts to give way to agricultural land - which, however, will soon be taken over by a new international airport -.

The services map shows that service provision...

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