Cardboard to Castles

By: Rithik, Keerthi, and Oliver

History of Mexico City

Mexico City was founded by the Aztecs. At the time it was called tenochtitlan. They had very nice and big buildings and temples . They were known for their agriculture but also their also very good at making nice buildings. The Aztecs had a population of 100,000-200,000 people. Back then that was a big amount for one specific area. The Aztecs got conquered by Spain in 1521. 300 years later Mexico won its independence from Spain. Around the 1950’s people started migrating to Mexico City. It started in small waves of people but each year more and more farmers came into the city. The farmers were going through a tough time because bigger companies can produce crops at a cheaper cost and running them out of business. The farmers already had the problem that only 15% of the land was able to be used for farming. The reason that only 15% of the land was able to be used for farming was urbanization. The city was in the middle of a basin. The city is surrounded by mountains and hills. Farmers couldn't farm right near the city area so they were forced to the outskirts of the city right near the hills and mountains. The farmers were having trouble competing and many people went into the city to find hope for a better life. The population was 3 million in 1950 , but today there is around 21 million people in the city. This is causing something called Spatial inequality, which is the uneven distribution of wealth and resources .When the city first started growing there wasn't much pollution and too many people. But very quickly more and more land got taken up and urbanized. Causing more resources to go to those new areas of land and more businesses to open nearby.,Most of the jobs are in the inner city causing many people to go from the outskirts of the city into the center. This causes a lot of air pollution because many of those people use cars. Mexico City was started as a very nice city that was the center of Mexican life. But today life is hard for many people, it's no longer the graceful city it used to be.

Inequality in Mexico City

Inequality in Mexico has increased terribly in the last decade, exposing a growing gap in between the poor and the rich. There is a great division in society marked by lack of income and educational opportunities. The second wealthiest man in the world is a Mexican, but sadly almost half of the population in the country, especially in Mexico City, is living in poverty. Inequality is also perceptible among communities and regions. For example, the regions or areas with greater income live with a comfort that is comparable with the richest economies in the world, while the poorest areas, which are also indigenous communities, live underdeveloped and in conditions comparable to the most depressed economies in the world. The Haves and the Have Nots are what define the people of Mexico City. Thirty percent of the Have-Not population are unable to read or write, as the infrastructure of public schools are usually inadequate, because they are free. Sports and recreational activities are only part of the wealthy schools, which the Haves could attend, while the ones in poor communities operate with only one teacher for two or three different school grades.

Thinking globally

With the rise of Urbanization, the effect becomes global. About 50 percent of the total global population live in urban areas today, in opposed to the 30 percent of the global population that lived in urban areas in 1930. Today North America and Latin America are the leaders in the greatest urban population percentage at about 82%. In contrast Africa and Asia have about 45% of their population living in urban areas. Although urbanization growing most rapidly in these continents and expect to reach 56 to 64% of their populations in 2050. Mexico City due to this urbanization has very bad pollution, overpopulation, poverty. The extreme poverty leads to high crime. Not every major urbanization goes this way, an example would be Rio’s favelas. Rio is another massive Latin American city. It has very high urbanization with many slums like Mexico City, but low crime due to its favelas. Most of the favelas are located in the mountains away from the shore. The housing is still very poorly built and the residents lack many necessities. On the other hand these favela communities are thriving on their own with their own local postal service,products, law enforcement, etc… While some favelas are filled with crime and drug trafficking. Unlike Mexico City's slums, the favela communities made their own thriving self sustained neighborhood out of their slum conditions. The reason why Rio’s favela communities ended up this way is due to proper organized planning, unlike Mexico City's poor rapid chaos that led to most of the problems produced by the slums.