- The Mexican Report    click here to open paper content24 kb
by    Ordonez, Jaun Felipe | juanfelipeordonez@hotmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This is the most recent experience in urban planing in Mexico country in relation with poor people and with new approachments between local government and the private sector.
This participation incorporates some points of view given by Mexican urban planners in the Seminar on the topic, held in the headquarters of Desarrollo Territorial Sustentable A.C. in preparation for the 39th International Urban planners Congress in Mexico City, on July 31st, 2003.

Some analysts emphasize the need to acknowledge that even cities in the third world should be taken as a source and driving force of employment, and in general, the best mean for increasing living standards for the majority of the inhabitants.

Along these lines, the concept of globalization we referred to, implies a particular growth in the cities, whose characteristics in general terms are, among others: concentration of the population, enterprises, services and institutions; -and an agile, efficient and complete system of communications; particularities which makes evident its description as global.

The Globalization as part of a world market, described as: a process of integration of national economies within world markets; is not only an economic phenomenon, it includes different structures and social, technological, political and cultural processes with relevant effects on the territory.

It is convenient to distinguish two kinds of globalization: the fundamental one, which takes place in the sphere of production and the one belonging to the sphere of consumption.

City planning takes place at local level, city planners collaborate: with other colleagues who are facing the process of globalization, with cities’ networks, with planners’ networks, with citizens’ networks, and with federal governments as links among local governments, where the capacity of the local authority to face settlements patterns, design and production of the globalized enterprises is lost in inequality

The most relevant projects for the countries with poor economies and their cities are those promoted by multilateral banks, that are among others:

• The fight to lessen poverty vs. generating productive activities.
• Resources aimed towards a welfare policy with international indebtedness.

Nevertheless globalization shows firstly in the economic activity, mainly in industrial activity and is identified by the fields and location of the industries with bigger rate growth and productivity in a town and a country.

The implant of components and characteristics of the global net have effect on planning and managing cities, and on the infrastructure and services systems.

Places where Globalization takes place:
The city globalization nodes in Mexico show up in:
• Production framework, in cities with greater industrial activity, in the case of Mexico, the automobile industry stands out and is focused on the USA market; therefore the plants are located in cities with access to this country.

• Consumption framework, it shows up: in cities with large population, in regional services such as airport systems, basic hydraulic and public health infrastructure, solid waste , energy (gas), telecommunication networks recently privatized or in the process of privatization; on the other hand in supplying and trading in cities with purchasing power, through opening of franchises (Starbucks) and shopping malls (Wall Mart), banks, amusement parks which have made effect on major cities and regions.

Among the effects is the dynamism of the economy for constructing new facilities and opening of new developments, which offer “Better” fulfillment of needs, which in turn displace the previous “inefficient” forms, resulting in drawing resources towards the central city.

The impact of globalization on the urban scheme of developing countries is evident. An specific case is the program: “100 ciudades” (100 cities) promoted by the Federal Government in the 90’s; In Sonora, (a city in Mexico’s northern border) in Hermosillo state, a Ford export assembly plant was established in the east sector of the city and widening of Luis Donaldo Colosio boulevard in the western sector of the city, favoring a booming real estate business in the city, and modifying the urban image and restated the role of local capitals. The same thing happened in Culiacan, Sinaloa with the Three Rivers project and in Mexico City with Santa Fe project.

Changes in social and urban morphology, caused by globalization.
The new social and economic actors appropriate themselves of the urban space, supported by banks and multinational agencies or companies of global nature: the Mexican case with the commercial opening and the economic problems allowed Mexican banks to be acquired by international banks. Marketing product and food through wholesale and local markets switched to a volume marketing system, self service style ( Costco and Wall Mart). Privatization of infrastructure and services has generated new actors in the life of the cities.

Marginal and polarized forms are characterized by fragmentation in the cities with extreme poverty, where great inequalities become evident; where privatization of infrastructures and services leave out poor areas in the cities from minimal levels of attention, which normally has an effect on political citizens’ awareness and high rates of urban insecurity.

It is convenient to acknowledge that citizens have surpassed governments, the solidarity participation, as in earthquakes or catastrophes where networks of NGO and Civil Society Organizations (OSC in Spanish) take a leading role.

The floating population in globalized cities.
Alternative models:
• Local and sustainable development and appraisal of social networks for a globalization ''from the bottom to the top''.
• In the Mexican case it stands out the role played by the urban popular movement and some civil organizations that have roots in specific communities.
• In terms of territorial planning, it’s necessary to point out that for many activities, as the informal trade, the existence of rules of formal behavior are inconvenient, but these factors of uncertainty affect the real estate market and require certainty for the future of their investments, which they can only acquire by means of physical planning with clear rules.

On the other hand there are examples on how Mexico can break away from the traditional public-private relationship, beyond the purely regulatory planning, these are:
Active participation and shared budget, Agencies of Urban Development, Program for improvement of impoverished neighborhoods, Instruments of participation, Performance accountability areas to modify the location of soil use density, within the limits pointed out in the urban planning instruments. Transference of potentials, New forms of government behavior for cities with the participation of several levels of government. New planning scenarios. Instruments of compensation: between states, between environment and urbanized area, between socioeconomic levels in urban areas.

Another planning scheme in which Mexico is progressing is regional development,. As an example of this, is the Intercontinental port system Chetumal – Salina Cruz

As a conclusion we pointed out that in a globalized world, the cities will have to innovate and to compete for the best utilization of their resources.

The key elements for innovation are the talent of the people and the capital, to attract them it is fundamental the education, public services and quality of life.

The economic future of the countries will continue to depend mainly on the efficient performance of the economic activities in the cities and its area of influence.

Personal involvement: The background of Juan Felipe Ordoñez is President of the Board of Desarrollo Territorial Sustentable A.C. (DTS in Spanish) ( Sustainable Territorial Development) and ex Managing Director of National Urban and Regional Development of Mexico 2000-2003. and General coordinaitor of 31 Local Urban Development Plans with the modality of participating desing during the first Democratic Government in the Mexico Federal District Government. 1997-2000.
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