Mexico and France Reimagine their Cities

By Fernanda Duque Hernández

Two nations united in renewing urban development.

In Mexico 7 out of 10 people live in urban areas. With this in mind, the government of Mexico and the Ministry of Agricultural, Territorial and Urban Development of France (IRD) are cooperating on a project set on making cities in both countries more sustainable.

Enter Yo soy la nueva ciudad (lit. “I am the new city”). This innovative exposition at the Universum Science Museum at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) started in early February and represents a joint effort between Mexican and French institutions to include people in the debate on urban sustainability. The exposition is scheduled to conclude on March 1.

According to the French ambassador to Mexico, Maryse Bossiere, including the opinion and points of view of the citizens that live, walk and use the streets every day, is essential for the initiative to be successful.

International cooperation between Mexico and France took a step further last year with the official visit of French President, François Hollande to Mexico. During his reunion with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at Los Pinos (lit. “The Pine Trees”, the Mexican President’s official residence), both leaders signed several agreements, including one aimed at elaborating an urban policy that would take growth, economic development and sustainability of cities in both countries into account.

france in mexico

During the inauguration of Yo Soy la Nueva Ciudad in early February,the Deputy Minister of the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development of Mexico (SEDATU), Alejandro Nieto, stated that it was necessary to modernize the urban policy of Mexico and develop a plan specially made to make cities more sustainable, secure, competitive and resistant to climate change.

Ambassador Bossiere also revealed that by the end of February 2015, Campeche would become the first city where the Mexican and French team launch an experimental program to help address its expected demographic increase.

Yo soy la nueva ciudad is made up of three sections. The first one explains the concept of sustainable development and the projects currently being implemented worldwide. The second shows how a city works and reviews the interaction between all of its components. The third exposes new ideas to turn urban spaces into sustainable communities.

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