4.163J / 11.332J
Urban Design Studio — RENACIMIENTO: Reviving Mexico’s Abandoned Towns

Prerequisites: 
4.145, 4.162 or permission of instructor
Required of: 
MArch students, SMArchS Urbanism students

Mexico’s rapid urbanization of the past decades, housing deficit, and its ambitious housing policy to provide affordable housing to its poorer populations has led in many cases to the building of ex-urban isolated housing estates, some of which have gradually been emptied out. The building of affordable housing on cheap land outside the city boundaries, often lacking in infrastructure and public services, and disconnected from work places, has created a growing problem of families abandoning these homes. The problem has become nationwide, extending from individual properties located in semi-abandoned estates to municipalities as a whole.

This joint urban design studio, will engage interdisciplinary, planning and design thinking to apply to this pressing urban problem, utilizing the lens of design to generate novel housing, infrastructural, and settlement forms that can be implemented in selected areas. The studio will entail both a research and design phase, contributing to the broader effort of better defining and understanding both the problems at stake and potential solutions through policy, urban design and architecture design. The studio will address a selected case study of Zumpango and/or Huehuetoca, settlements experiencing a high percentage of abandonment outside of Mexico City, through three scales of intervention: the regional network, the urban layout, infrastructure and public space of the town itself, and the housing typology of neighborhoods and blocks.

The studio will travel to Mexico during the beginning of Spring Break, from Thursday, March 17th to Tuesday March 22nd.