Bonilla, Mauricio Hernández. "The (re)Construction of Public Space in Today’s Mexican City," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 6, issue 2 (2012).
Public space is the setting of public life and ideally functions as a forum for political action and expression; as a ‘neutral’ or common ground for social interaction, intermingling, and communication; and as a stage for social learning, personal development and information exchange. Throughout history, communities have developed public spaces that support their needs, whether these are markets, places for sacred celebrations, or sites for local rituals. As the social, economic, and political centres of cities they have played a variety of roles in human life at the physical, psychological, social, political, economic and symbolic levels. However, in contemporary urban life, public spaces have lost a lot of their value and contemporary trends have constrained their development. Nowadays, more than 75% of the population of Mexico lives in cities, yet poverty, insecurity, social and physical fragmentation, and low quality environments are the main characteristics of Mexican urban spaces. This paper intends to examine how the transformation and appropriation of public space is taking place socially and spatially in the diverse and contrasting settings of contemporary urban Mexico. In this context, it is crucial to discuss how Mexican cities should reconstruct and reproduce their public spaces to meet the challenges of the 21st century and build more responsive and sustainable urban environments.