Project Fall 2015
elop*8 Fringe Conditions
Querétaro (short for Santiago de Querétaro), in Mexico, is one of the fastest growing cities in Latin America. It has a historical downtown considered a “World Heritage City” by UNESCO. However, even tough the historical site is the hub of the social, governmental and commercial activities, there still is a lack of green public spaces, pedestrian accessibility, alternative modes of mobility, social cohesion and the application of energy efficiency in buildings.
The historical center area has received notorious attention from tourists. Consequently local authorities have enforced rigid construction codes eluding new architectural typologies and urban densities. A few critics have raised concerns for the “disneyfication” or false identity of this area. Others have manifested their preoccupation for the excessive creation of cafes, hotels and restaurants making the downtown area an exclusive location causing gentrification, while the surrounding neighborhood have little attention and funding.
The UNESCO-protected downtown is not the only area touched by controversy in Querétaro. Furthermore, some of the neighborhoods in the fringes of the downtown area, like the one known as “La otra banda” (literally translated as “the others”), suffer different challenges such as:
- Urban detachment from the UNESCO-protected area: a ravine crosses through the city, and the under utilised train tracks separate different areas.
- Public infrastructure is deprived: there is a public market, a park, and a cultural center that urgently need renovation.
- Local population, tourists, and economical funding disregard the area.
Situation and Task
In recent years population has grow at a staggering rate due immigration attracted by the economic bonanza of Querétaro. This phenomenon pushes the city to expand further, rather than consider the renovation and democratic redensification of its downtown area.
The objective is to rejuvenate a specific area within Downtown (4.45 km2), just outside the UNESCO site in order to link the different neighborhoods. The idea is to propose a holistic approach that considerers the social, environmental, urban and landscape conditions that rejuvenates the existing location.
If this Revitalization happens it could benefit in several ways:
- It could ease the constant pressure to the UNESCO site, by having more activities outside the historical center
- Promote a more sustainable city
- It could become a model of density instead of expansion
- Link several parks and green spaces that are not connected
- Promote more pedestrian streets
- Promote a more equitable city