Bandada Studio

Bandada Studio

Mexico, MX


Hidalgo Avenue

In early 2013, the Government of Iztapalapa (Mexico City) decided to develop an Urban Development Planning aimed to achieve a social transformation through a series of urban transformations. One of these transformations was Hidalgo Avenue, a street located in the very heart of San Miguel neighbourhood with a large urban intensity as it hosts schools, nurseries, sports and community centres, and contains a great commercial activity, including both established and informal businesses; a combination that makes this street the more complex and contentious area of the district.

The aim was not only to achieve a deep makeover but to change the use of the public space, too. Under the premise "monumentalising the periphery", we designed a project that kept the uses the street already had, incorporating new ones and doubling the pedestrian intensity.

The first strategy consisted in the elimination of all architectural barriers, which were focused on a deteriorated central median which was very difficult for pedestrians to go through, and the sidewalks which were destroyed by tree roots searching for water due to the general soil sealing by the accumulation of impermeable pavements. We decided to create a single, continuous platform throughout the area, to optimize the road surface obtaining an expansion of the pedestrian space and the replacement of the central reservation for a sequence of planters that held the basic function of organizing the traffic, but at the same time, allowing the access of pedestrians between them.

The planters also have the function of capturing clean rainwater, infiltrating and distributing it through a drainage layer under the pavement, and accumulating the amount of humidity necessary for stopping the trees to search for it outside their scope.

The second strategy was based on correcting the scant and poor street lighting. We sought to ensure the best visibility in the entire area, but differentiating each area with the most suitable lighting design in each case, so as to be able to extend the hours of use of these new public spaces and reduce the sense of insecurity as much as possible.

Both strategies were accompanied by the idea of generating an aesthetic change in the perception of the public space, thus the separation of the sidewalk and the vehicular stream was achieved through different urban elements that endowed harmony and complexity to a linear path, furthermore, some ambient lighting elements were also incorporated, which provided with quality and new sensations never before seen in this part of Mexico City.

One initial hypothesis was that by treating people with dignity, the direct result you get is that they will behave accordingly, and this hypothesis began to materialize when the project became a reality. Despite the initial reluctance of the various social agents, they quickly realized that they were being offered a quality public space in an urban context used to receiving a minimum, and this fact generated a collective consciousness of care and attention for this new space.

Some groups began to organize themselves to repaint the school walls with new motifs, to upgrade signs and facades of some of the businesses, and the most relevant case was that of the itinerant traders, the group that found more friction within the project, who decided to take a step forward alongside to that which was being developed within the urban environment, and designed and built their own initiative; a brand new and homogeneous stalls which fitted with the new context. The first step in the Urban Transformation of San Miguel neighbourhood was completed, and the social transformation started to show its first signs.

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Status: Built
Location: Iztapalapa, MX