- Pre-Congress Seminar, Mexico 2002    click here to open paper contentno file
by    , Mexican National Delegation | fpa@megared.net.mx   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
As it has been before and upon suggestion of the Executive Committee, the ISoCaRP Mexican Delegation held a seminar prior to the 38th International Congress of our Society. The purpose of this seminar was to provide the Mexican urban and regional planners the information on the Athens event and to present a perspective view of some members about the Congress theme. In this paper is presented a summary of the most relevant issues of the event.
Mexican Delegation Pre-Congress Seminar
Mexico City, June 2002
As it has been before and upon suggestion of the Executive Committee, the ISoCaRP Mexican Delegation held a seminar prior to the 38 International Congress of our Society. The purpose of this seminar was to provide the mexican urban and regional planners the information on the Athens event and to present a perspective view of some members about the Congress theme. In this paper is presented a summary of the most relevant issues of the event.

We could find a great variety of “pulses”, either by type, scale or effects. We could talk about civic celebrations, religious events, sport tournaments, massive shows, artistic events, politic campaigns. There is also natural disasters, big infrastructure constructions, etc.
Most of these events are foreseeable, others don’t. Many of the foreseeable events are planned, but not all. Economical resources are provided for some of them, but not for all.
It is clear that different cultures have different sensibility levels to the “pulses” impacts. They also have different technical and economical abilities to mitigate them. Therefore the way to cope with these events will vary from one place to another.
All of this type of events happen in Mexico either at a national, regional and local level. Among the most relevant planned events, by the way recognised as successful for many people, are the 1968 Olympic Games and the 1970 and 1968 Football Soccer Championships. Among the most devastating not foreseeable events, which brought us an exemplary collective response to high magnitude disasters is the 1985 earthquake suffered at Mexico City.

Current Society Progress and ''Pulses''
After a great number of attempts have been made to create perfect cities and global urban models along the history, we find that urban form is a society product, a result from a political and economical system. That is why the city planning expert activity, who had contributed to design infrastructure providing the basis of mainly all human activities, has been, at its moment, essential for the prosperity and progress of all societies.
Current society progress is closely tied to the mobility, a phenomenon that is intimately linked to this Conference theme. “Pulses” have been described as high scale events that, from time to time, are developed on these times. On these days the need to encourage consumption as well as the technological innovations speed and the economical progress search, had aimed urban services provisions demand, infrastructure and equipment quite different than the society demanded some years ago. Pretending providing urban solutions within a “pulses” context from a traditional point of view, proper at its moment, would mean to distort communities daily functioning facts in which the city planner is currently taking part.

New Zones Tourist Development.
Some of the recent higher tourist developments, as Cancún in Mexico where the 2000 IsoCaRP Congress was held, are Project samples that arose suddenly and in which big capital amounts were invested. Nevertheless, the total infrastructure needed was not considered. Preliminary studies to perform this type of projects improperly computed the amount of people arriving to look for a better life level. People arriving were among the lower in the economical scale, with the need to find a refuge but with no economic resources to get it. They acquired land lots in zones without basic services; they bought land in illicit zones or they simply invaded and installed in areas with no infrastructure neither services. Beyond the factors inherent to population and migration, these developments had a tremendous social and environmental impact. In addition, this type of development provoked environmental damages that will have serious consequences on current inhabitant life as well as on future generations.
Pursuant with the analysis above, we could say that these projects were created within a frame taking into account the economical interest instead of the social and environmental interest. Paradoxically, the social and environmental scopes suffered long term serious damage. Greatly different from the economical scope, which was benefited in a short term but not in a permanent manner.
Urban Planning Practice Priorities in a “Pulses” Context.
Being aware that city planning, society, economy and environment are closed linked, this brief report on tourist development is a concrete sample of situations having critical implications in the social, spatial, economical and environmental scopes. Since there are some themes directly related to the city planning on these “pulses” days in which communication and advances are quickly arising in all fields, the inter- discipline has big significance within the city planning activity. The city planners new generation must be clearly aware of this century features in which “pulses” are becoming common. They will have to collaborate with other disciplines professionals to consider planning from a comprehensive point of view, allowing them to have a clear and proper conception of the “pulses” effects involved in each urban project and to identify critical factors to give them priority. One of the priority issues must be, undoubtedly, the sustaintability. In a century in which in several occasions solutions are provided with a short time scope, and such solutions are generating adverse impacts affecting communities, the city planner´s role will be fundamental to the environment maintenance and to make this planet habitable. Actions performed by city planners around the urban space must be, contrasting with our current reality, planned, expected and foreseeable to avoid that projects conceived as life utopia, will turn as crisis when facing with reality.

The Pre-Congress Seminar made us aware that for Mexican people and its culture, “traditional” planning is to plan in an operative manner, foreseen all possible doubts. This was experienced presented by one of the participants under the title of the “Planning-Doing” . A reference was made about the Young Planners TAN proposals submitted at the AIU Conference last year. Similarly, it was also recommended to think about the fact that another effects must be taken into account as the marginal irregular proliferating settlements that are not attended in a merging manner and still multiplying with no proper attention mainly in such medium cities and metropolitan areas having an accelerated demographic growth. This is one of the most outstanding and demandable challenges that urban and management planners must be facing with: attending effects considered as “pulses” closely related to the services provisions, urban facilities and infrastructure also, what has to be done in an integral form, harmonically related with its environment. In this sense, the participant questioned why Mexico is a country that solves unforeseeable issues and massive events in a successfully way but it has not been able to solve the spontaneous settlements issue. She also punctuated that it is not possible to solve with very sophisticated focus, unaware of our idiosyncrasy, a phenomenon that has not ended yet and that can become the predominant pattern in many of our cities during the XXI Century. This is precisely the reason that this theme is an issue that must be attended with a less traditional focus. That is why we had showed that when we “plan-doing”, we do it generally well.

Permanent Change and Uncertainty.
Change is the essence of the universe and change acceleration forms part of our current culture in which “pulses” appear and disappear at a growing speed, quantity and amount. It seems that there is no time enough to postulate new theories and methods that can be proved before they become obsoletes.
Under this context, a flexible planning “model” going evenly to the change, leading urban development in an operative manner, seams to be the best.

Urban Planning Ethics and Value.
The Industrial Revolution issues are far away, today we are dealing with “great events”, mobility, global issues, economic power. The present problem is to know if we can take care of common matters without forgetting the particular. This is maybe a call for our professional and human ethics; please remember that in all ethic creation origins there is a value act. It is clear that current society conceives these “pulses” as a vital part of its prosperity and progress. Nevertheless, when we take note that the natural resources are exhausting, and the environment is deteriorating day by day, while social and spatial disparities are increasing within the cities, the city planners require to intervene with ethic and courage. Ethic to attend priorities: people life quality, today and tomorrow. Courage to be aware that we are responsible for our projects and their consequences.

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