The day began with a trip on the Metro to Ciudad Azteca, a new transit hub on the northeast outskirts of the city.   Excitingly, this project is a public private partnership in which the private sector performs infrastructure upgrades in exchange for commercial opportunities.  These commercial opportunities, however, are also coupled with social programs and an interest in the cetram’s connection to the rest of the city.  One of the programs included in this project is a hospital, which allows the country’s population access to medicine in a standardized process.  Another interesting pairing is educational opportunities, including a university within the cetram.  Thus these stations are more than centers for transportation exchange, but they become a type of social, economic, and cultural center for the region. This typology is completely new, and it is exciting to think of all the cities such a type of project may be applicable in, whether they be in the Americas or in other developing countries, such as Mumbai or even Egypt.  When we think of an architect’s role within the development of a project, his or her roll is quite significant in a project like this, where the cetram addresses not only transportation problems, but also social and economic ones with the context a global model.

One of the speakers we heard from was the Secretary of Transportation for Mexico, which would be the equivalent of hearing from our director of Housing and Urban development.  We had a translator help us understand the different presentations we heard.  The introduction/breakfast ended with a tour through the entire cetram, looking at commercial areas, transportation reconfigurations, and even security offices.  During the walk, we asked questions about construction type, process, contracts, and even roi (return on investment).

From Ciudad Azteca, we traveled Centro Unversidad, where we heard from Javier regarding the competition entry they proposed for Chipultapec.   They separated the project into two areas, one for local transportation and the other for regional transportation; by splitting these, they opened up a pedestrian path in between these two.   This enabled a strong pedestrian connection between la Reforma, and south to Parque de Mexico.   Their strategy also incorporated a great deal of calculations in terms of economics, which helped them convince the city such a project would actually be buildable.  Again, we are seeing the importance of interdisciplinary teams and the type of well rounded and integrated proposals they can generate.

We are about to head out, so I will update you upon our return.  Buenos Dias!

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