Housing access and governance : the case of densification efforts in Mexico City, 2001-2012
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Lack of access to adequate housing in Mexico City's urban core and sprawling settlement patterns have led to numerous social and environmental issues. Current development patterns sharpen social fragmentation and segregation, create imbalances in the provision of infrastructure and services, and encourage human occupation of high-risk and environmentally susceptible areas. Furthermore, expansive urbanization has become increasingly expensive, both at the individual and collective level. This has happened because private interests often overshadow public ones; economic growth rather than equitable and sustainable development has been the mark of success. Thus, commercial uses have displaced residential uses, particularly low-income housing, to remote areas of the metropolitan region. Local government efforts, albeit significant in comparison to other parts of the country, have been unable to adequately address this issue. Government inefficiency, lack of inter-institutional coordination, corruption, and lack of resources, among other factors, have hindered the success of housing and densification projects. The present research evaluates recent densification efforts and their goals to increase housing access and repopulate the urban core. Some of the individual benefits enjoyed by residents of densification projects, such as access to infrastructure and services, as well as some of the difficulties experienced by them in the process of obtaining government credits and access to housing are also identified. The conclusion is that only the rigorous integration of environmental and social planning agendas and the renegotiation of concepts of spatial justice will lead to more effective policies and housing programs, and a just, accessible, and sustainable city, region and country.