Urban Growth: Mexico City over Time

An animated gif, showing the growth of the urban area of Mexico City from 1950 to 1990
An animated gif, showing the growth of the urban area of Mexico City from 1950 to 1990. Adapted from a graphic by Jose Castillo’s wonderful 2000 doctoral dissertation “Urbanisms of the Informal”

In the above gif, we can watch forty years of Mexico City’s built area expand, washing up against and around hills, lakebeds, and other obstacles. I’m very much drawn to this type of image in urban planning: evocative and based in fact, without telling the whole story up front. It requires intuition and imagination to piece the story together, just as direct observation of the city demands.

The pace of the gif is quick, and while I could have set it to play at whatever arbitrary speed, to me it makes sense. I’ve been thinking a lot about this city as it has existed across time, and ways in which to represent that. Something fast, something barely understandable at first glance seems to make sense, as the terms could equally be used to describe the city’s growth in recent history. Speaking only of the Distrito Federal, or central-most delineation of the city, the population has grown from around 3 —> Read More Here

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