By ir. Damien Richardson
Hello Mexico City;
Mexico City, at this point in your vast and multi faceted history you should not be involved with copying urban echoes; on the contrary, Mexico City is a leader and must continue to lift and carry its mantle. From the time of Tenochtitlan to the present, with all of its nuances and cultural extremes, and safety, water, natural, and precautionary dynamics, Mexico City is the motherboard waiting to project its holographic myriad of urban innovative funfair.
Mexico City, you are by far one of the most interesting cities that I have had the pleasure of exploring through the many online YouTube videos and insightful articles and images. Looking at the vast seemingly endless horizon of your city makes me lose my breath just thinking about the almost 22 million lives who are embodied within the silhouetted outline of your many urban blocks.
The life of the urban community takes to the street each day embracing the visitor, the migrant and the worker. Pinnacles like tall standing trees are the multiple rises that have become the staple of just about every known urbanized city.
Mexico City, even though you are high in the cleft of the mountains set on a lake bed, you are surrounded by swift and pending dangers all around. The wind sound moves through the leaves as the power of the volcanic rumbling makes its reverberating sounds. The cloudbursts signify activity; the myriad of communities without the pleasure of consistent to no running water makes us want to shower you with blessings upon blessings of rainfall.
The western Mexico’s earth’s tremors linger in the hearts and minds of the nation like a never to be forgotten melody.
Mexico City, how will you escape these flames of pending demise as your city sinks because of its urban carrying capacity? Cities are becoming copies of other popular urban cities. Cities are not making a mark of their own. Examples like the high line have now spread across the world as a go to for urban green alternative parks. Airports have become inflated repetitions of cultural arenas of social and passenger experiences.
So we can look at the framing of a future that gives its praise to only two ways of making density – the ever diversified high-rise programming and the new additive mall approach.
Since the invention of the high-rise in Chicago to the painting by Piet Mondrian called Broadway Boogie-Woogie and the book by Rem Koolhaas called “Delirious New York” that critiques the high-rise phenomenon, “Manhattan a laboratory for the invention and testing of a metropolitan lifestyle – ‘the culture of congestion’ – and its architecture”; contending to the rise of the social culture in urban areas has not only become a style but it has become a must, cities seem to not be considered a city unless they have a series of multi leveled high-rise buildings scattered within its urban canvas.
Mexico City is now perched to go the way of the urban world, but it now also has an opportunity to open a new chapter in urban experiences based on its acute conditions. Following the recipe book for urban development does not mean that the only way to become urbanized is to import the acupuncturists of merit from across the world. We can also innovate and begin to improvise alternative options based on acute nature of your context and taking note of the technologies that we have at our disposal today.
Floating green urban parks like clouds of hope can be a representative option for a new urban expression for Mexico City. A series of cloud like floating green urban parks that are adjoined to each other via cables and bridges; that incorporate program and logistics and facilitate in providing for the caring capacity partly for the city’s food production, recreational, commercial and residential needs as well as looking at water retention and purification and distribution scenarios.
This is a scenario that would also provide for precautionary measures in the face of the pending earthquake threats and any unforeseen volcanic evacuation strategy.
Vision gives rise to hope and direction, Jakarta is facing its urban sinking fears with a bold multi-decade plan; Malaysia has introduced us to the concept of the Forest City; and the Danish architectural company BIG has introduced the DryLine in Manhattan, New York, as an alternative natural tidal rise protective measure.
The vibrancy of Mexico City’s artists, planners, vast cultural heritage should also be visible in the urban expression of its natural urban community. It is time for the cultural richness and transformation process to take center stage.
Dubai said let’s build a city of iconic expressions and experiences like oases rising out of the dessert heat; Venice, Italy, is known as one of the most memorable romantic cities. New York’s Time Square is world renowned apart from its Central Park and many high-rise towers; the Eiffel Tower of Paris is also a demarcation that has galvanized our collective interest, which forms part of what making Paris the world’s number one tourist city destination.
Are these cities correct in their journey? Are they setting the right example? We as a people have come to know them like a comfortable coat that we pull on. So too, Mexico City has an opportunity to paint a new floating silhouette of green urban parks within the heart of the next generations.