Mexico City: a Knowledge Economy

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a knowledge



Mexico City has the potential to transform, through knowledge, scientific and technological development into a powerful engine for the creation of new products and services.

their research. Biometrópolis will place Mexican medicine at the highest international levels and detonate a new economic platform for high technology research across the city.

The knowledge-based economy is spreading throughout the world. A Knowledge Economy depends on human capital and strategic thinking, as well as on the ability to create favorable conditions to assure its implementation.

These projects are feasible due to commitment of the City’s Government towards equity as a guideline of public policies. Equity generates shared values and provides the cohesion and integration that allows society to pursue common objectives and goals.

These can include identification and re-orientation of specialized knowledge, an agenda that increases connectivity, creation of innovation networks, as well as business incubators and stimuli for capital investment. All of these can be achieved through the participation and commitment of the government, the academic world and private companies, all of whom share a common goal in which everyone wins, particularly society. Mexico City’s government is committed to transform the city into a highly competitive marketplace that stands among the best in the world. This is why serious progress is being made in improving the environment, mobility, social investment -with an emphasis on education, health care, public safety-, as well as tax incentives for new investments, and support and training for small and medium-sized enterprises. We are building a balanced and friendly city that protects its environment and maintains harmony by restoring public places, increasing mobility and green areas to improve the quality of life for all of its inhabitants. A competitive city cares for the quality of the education that it provides and applies the appropriate technologies to generate advances in innovation. Campus Biometrópolis, for example, is a new concept in the creation of a Knowledge City that will revolutionize health and scientific research in Mexico City. It will create new jobs taking advantage of the city’s health and education infrastructure. An elitegroup of senior researchers will work together to guarantee top of the line knowledge in

Striving to fight inequality, the city developed Red Ángel, the most advanced social network in Mexico and Latin America. Through this investment, the city has granted an entire generation of young people an opportunity to complete high school, reducing the dropout rate from 22% to 6%, one of the lowest rates in the world. Our experience has shown that the more we invest in education and health and eliminate exclusion, the greater the possibilities of growing, fostering development and increasing employment. Mexico City has taken the lead in supporting citizen’s freedoms and rights. We protect women better, convinced that gender equality is the only road to a better society. We are the only city in the world with a Human Rights Program, designed by different organizations and institutions, reaching all areas of public actions and supervised by independent mechanisms. Through these actions, the City has taken a leading role in this matter. Mexico City is committed to build a future as rich as our past. Future lies in technological development and remarkable innovation. These, along with equity, are our main goals.




cience, business and academia have common ground. To find it, one needs to really know where all the assets stand. Knowledge is the key resource that is maximized through specialized human resources and the availability of information. We’ve shifted from an industrialized world, where production of goods and services was closely tied to the physical realm, to a new paradigm where wealth is created closely tied to intangible assets. Mexico City’s research and business communities are recognizing each other as crucial partners to the development of Mexico as a whole. Through this effort and common understanding, the academic world, government, business, and civil society come together and demonstrate the city’s alignment.

The current generation of young men and women will transform today’s economy into the knowledge economy. Tools and broad access to knowledge will be achieved so that this gener tion pushes the nation forward. But gearing up for a knowledge economy requires immediate action and commitments. In this booklet we’ve carefully chosen experts in Health as this is one of the key paths where ideas from multiple sectors meet, intermingle and press forward. To the authors, there is no question that Mexico City is already the knowledge capital of Latin America.



developm SCIENTIKA is a non-profit organization of the Pitroda Group established in Mexico City. Scientika has closely focused on solving the transit towards the knowledge paradigm, and it is dedicated to promote knowledge economy related activities. It has developed several roadmaps and followed their implementation sidebyside with worldclass consulting firms. Scientika works as an honorable Think Tank, and through the guidance of their Chairman, Sam Pitroda, has been able to provide intelligent, practical and sustainable solutions to governments, private companies, and other non-profit organizations. In Scientika we believe that knowledge spread is as relevant as its creation, that is why we work whit civil society, academia, government and private sector.



he knowledge era is about creating new knowledge to form new wealth and prosperity. In the last 20 years, new knowledge generated in areas such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, communications and information has offered new hope for solving complex problems. Developing countries like Mexico need to change their economic models and move from industrial and service economies to knowledge-based economies. The question: how to change our economy when we live in a mindset of the nineteenth century, with twentieth-century processes and needs that are exclusive to the twenty-first century. Knowledge will guide this century. Cities need to be rebuilt and investments in telecommunications will remain vital. There is no way that a country can foray into this new


knowledge era unless it is using technology to improve the quality of life for all of the people. The objective is clear: innovation is multidisciplinary. The key here is the ability to create networks and to focus global resources on local problem solving. Mexico city moved towards a knowledge paradigm long ago. Resources for the city to contnue move forward are available. I believe that Mexico can achieve a better stance toward development where all of its inhabitants can better rest assured of their future. I am a Mexico City believer.


A Secular

Political Axis

15,000 years ago, the first groups of nomadic hunters reached what we call today the Valley of Mexico. Their later, sedentary agricultural communities date back just over two thousand years. And it is in about the year 500 CE that, in this region, characterized by its grand lakes, that a great urban civilization was based upon the harvest of corn arose. Teotihuacán, at its pinnacle was inhabited by -perhaps- a hundred thousand persons. In the mid-eighth century it came to an abrupt and catastrophic end. Another great urban civilization lived between the 2nd and 7th centuries CE in the valley of the Tula River. This civilization also suffered a disastrous decline in the twelfth century. But the successor to these two immense city-states was founded in 1325: Tenochtitlán. This is the source of today’s Mexico City and its politics, though it, too, fell, 200 years later at the feet of the Spanish. The original planning of Tenochtitlán forms the skeleton of modern Mexico City. On an island somewhere in Lake Texcoco, the Aztecs, who’d been wandering in the desert and wilderness for generations, witnessed a sign predicted in an ancient prophecy by their god Huitzilopochtli. An eagle perched atop a cactus and consuming a struggling snake, and, it is said that they knew that here they would found a great civilization. In Mexico City’s Historic Center, they laid out Tenochtitlan, with its huge temples, canals, aqueducts, and wide avenues connecting with the mainland. Tenochtitlan’s markets were filled to abundance, and it came to house a population of between 100,000 and 200,000 inhabitants and served as the administrative center of a theocratic, authoritarian, militaristic and highly centralized society that ruled the entirety of the high, central Mexican plateau. The city’s conquest and diminishment occurred only in 1521 under the command of Hernán Cortés but hardly marked the end of the city. It was immediately converted into the capital of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain. A capital distant from the harbors but well-protected by mountain ranges and with a mild climate, the city would soon be the richest viceroyalty of the Spanish Crown anywhere in the Americas.

For three centuries, Mexico City was the residence of the Viceroy and his court, making it the political, religious and cultural center of a power structure that stretched from Central America to northern California. From here a minority of Spanish - and Mexican born but Spanish-descended “Creoles” - ruled over indigenous and mixed-blood peoples dedicated to agriculture, livestock production and minerals extraction. This minority, in the early nineteenth century, was estimated to number but 6 million souls. At the onset of Mexico’s War for Independence which lasted from 1810 until 1821, Mexico City lost much of its political, economic and cultural hegemony as influence and power were more evenly distributed across the rest of the Mexican territory. In 1847, for the first time in its history, Mexico City was briefly occupied by a foreign power - the United States. But by the end of the nineteenth century, Mexico City, known since 1824 as the Federal District, regained its centrality at nearly every level. With the outbreak of the 1910 Mexican Revolution which was to last more than 10 years, power again began to dissipate and again Mexico City’s political and military importance subsided to the shadows of the fierce military conflicts that swept the country. When finally the political system was stabilized with the 1917 constitution, the city was again the seat of a centralized and authoritarian presidential power. The ruling party, as of 1929, the Mexican Revolutionary Party - later renamed the Institutional Revolutionary Party, established an increasingly powerful federal bureaucracy and formed the nucleus of the burgeoning industrialization process and subsequent heavy migration from country to city, especially after World War II. Mexico City, which in 1921 had but one million inhabitants was soon home to 8.7 million people and today forms the center of a metropolitan region inhabited by more than 21 million people. The transition from the authoritarianism of the ruling party to a multi-party democracy began only in the late twentieth century and led to the significant decline of presidential and party power and the transfer of economic resources and political responsibilities from the center to the periphery, and to state governments. Mexico City is no longer the great, political epicenter of Mexico that is once was, but is, instead, the center of a vibrant political pluralism and a tremendous cultural and economic system that continues to breathe life into the civilization of Mexico.

Lorenzo Meyer

Ph.D in International Relations, Colegio de México Member of National Researchers System (SNI)

Point of View


Point of View


Point of View

Private Sector

Point of View

Civil Society



P. P.










17 P.




Knowledge is the feted guest of tomorrow’s economy. In Mexico City, it is traded, investigated and reinvigorated by its citizens, scientists and artists, who preserve the old, all the while maintaining the strictest adherence to the demands of the present. Mexico City’s long history in research and intellectual exploration is today supported by a cast of public and private structures. Working together, all of them welcome a tomorrow illuminated by the knowledge that is taking shape today.










 INTERVIEW with Dr. Leonardo Ríos Guerrero, P.24

Director of Technological Development and Business Innovation at the National Council for Science and Technology


Director of the Department for the Dissemination of Science at the National Autonomous University of Mexico

Points of View Government Academia Civil Society Private Sector

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL Forum P.38 INTERVIEW with Guillermo Fernández, P.44

Executive Director of the United States-Mexico Foundation for Science

PHARMACEUTICALS P.46 telecommunications P.48 INTERVIEW with Enrique Simón, P.50

Sales OEM Manager for Microsoft Latin America


P.52 P.54 P.60






is understood, today, to be one of the keys to the generation of products and services that create value and wealth. Civilization itself is based on scientific and technological development and many of the world’s major economies have turned towards investment in this sector to increases production and profitability, improving quality of life and overall economic soundness. Developing economies are trying to adapt to this new model, generating knowledge that can be traded, exchanged, organized and transmitted to propel a society along a durable and sustainable economic path.

Encouraging and investing in innovation increases productivity, growth, competitiveness and offers citizens a wider range of better paid jobs. The rapid development of information and communication technologies, the increased use of computers, the Internet and the revolution in microelectronics have allowed emerging economies to be in direct and close contact with more established business models and to share and take advantage of research and ideas. Today’s Mexico City has all the resources necessary to emerge as a major source of scientific and technological development. These include human, technical and organizational capital, solid government backing and world class universities and research institutes. The Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) and the National Institutes of Health, amongst many other prominent institutions, are performing cutting edge research and building intellectual capital. A strong scientific community intent upon a creative


STUDENTS- University of IBERO




economical development already calls the city home and relies upon a highly skilled work force, and a modern information infrastructure. A knowledge-based economy looks to the future to strengthen the abilities, capacities and adaptability of the people acting in this new economic environment. The Federal District is home to nearly half of the researchers of the National Researchers System (SNI) and the Institute of Science and Technology of the Federal District (ICyTDF), which oversaw the investment of US$34 million in research projects between 2007 and 2009, and is today providing links between business and the scientific community to encourage development. Progress depends on the patents which allow research to be marketed internationally. The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property recorded the issuance of 197 national patents in 2008, an increase that promises rewards in innovative new areas. Investment in research and applied sciences is key to the city’s future progress, and various efforts have shown that the government is aware of this fundamental truth. Worldwide, all developing economies that subscribe to this tenet and pursue knowledge-related activities have accelerated their growth significantly. Creativity is now an economic engine that supports the broad and lucrative exchange permitted by the advances in technological and scientific research.

Point of View


DR. leonardo Ríos GUERRERO Dr. Leonardo Ríos graduated with a degree in Chemistry from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). An engineer and teacher, he received his Ph.D. from the Claude Bernard University in France. As Director of Research and Graduate studies at the Mexican Petroleum Institute he was also Chairman of the Mexican Association of Directors of the Applied Research and Technological Development. Currently, Ríos is Director of Technological Development and Business Innovation at the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT).

Triggering economic growth through the development of knowledge, and creating an ecosystem for investors is a challenge the public sector faces in order to make the risk of betting on technology-based businesses an attractive prospect to entrepeneurs throughout the city.

“The city knows that it can be an important center for the medical sector, software, and information and communication




  What role should government play in promoting science?

CONACyT was created 40 years ago as an institution to coordinate and integrate science and technology. At that time there was talk of innovation but it was difficult to understand the relationship that exists between research and the quality of life of the citizens of the city. Today, it’s clear that knowledge needs to be the engine of the economy and it needs to be plentiful enough to be translated into marketable

There is still uncertainty about investment in science-based businesses, and It will be up to the local and federal governments to bet on certain findings and to demonstrate that they are, in fact, great opportunities.

applications. CONACyT’s role is to encourage policies so that research is not only public, but also private. In most countries that make a strong commitment to science, about two thirds of investment is private. The government needs to act as the catalyst that ignates these niche industries and that helps to inspire the really high-level human resources, from both colleges and businesses. The role of the federal government is to encourage national policies that promote innovation and seed and venture capital to create new businesses based on science. Both Google and Microsoft are projects born out of the University of Stanford. Local governments, meanwhile, also need to recognize and develop their own capacities to the fullest extent possible. The city knows that it can be an important center for the medical sector, software, and information and communication technologies. Mexico City created the Institute for Science and Technology, with a very interesting budget, to accomplish this task.

  Can you talk about the role of teachers and educators in building a knowledgegenerating economy? To generate knowledge at all, good teaching is a priority. We also need space for researchers in the industries that exist in the Federal District today. CONACyT has to articulate programs that link research and industry and we have to create an ecosystem of angel investors to sponsor projects that represent significant business opportunities. These investments should help build the universities’ capacity to develop their own businesses.

  What public policies have been developed to locate talent and then to link innovation with venture capital?

Last year, a new law for science, technology and innovation was enacted. We have a better infrastructure than before to promote these kind of issues. If we can generate private-public funds of funds (multimanager investments) for innovation, we can encourage investors who want to invest in technology-based businesses. And we need to bring in universities through an interface that allows for their great discoveries to be commercialized. In this way resources for these institutions and for further research will be generated.

  What needs to happen in the next ten years to tip all this potential in the right direction?

The current research ecosystem is such that curricular weight is mainly given to published articles, these generate attention. But in order to create an ecosystem of innovation, it is also important to think of the value of patents. We need to learn how to properly market the discoveries and the results of research. Protecting intellectual property will pay off. Within five to ten years we should have consolidated an innovative environment backed by Mexican entrepreneurs. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about investing in science-based businesses, and it will be up to the local and federal governments to bet on certain findings and to demonstrate that they are, in fact, great opportunities. If this doesn´t happen, we run the risk that investors and employers will not pursue them, and we’ll end up losing the growth that they could bring.

the KNOWLEDGE Economy Knowledge is recognized today as the greatest underpinning of any civilization. Since the Industrial Revolution, it is scientific and technological innovation that have pushed social and economical development. More and more, those making public policy decisions regarding economic growth have sought to increase cognitive potential as a catalyst. The model of the knowledge-based economy in the twentieth century has become almost synonymous with technological advances and the emergence of new industries.


t was with the technological revolution that started at the enf of

the 20th century that the idea of an innovation-based economy became widely accepted. The invention and widespread introduction of telecommunications and computers in everyday life came to change the economic, political and social development of many countries. Since the 1940s, important pillars of the economy, such as Friedrich Hayek and Charles Handy, have explored the advantages of applying knowledge to encourage production and to enhance quality of life. But it wasn´t until 1993 that Peter Drucker, an Austrian lawyer and consultant, who authored several works on organizational and information systems, coined the term “knowledge societies.” Unlike those focused on market structure or political and military power, these societies understand knowledge as a resource that can be marketed, exchanged, organized, or transmitted, ultimately presupposing a nation’s economic success. Creativity is a compounded agent in knowledge societies, it helps encourage productivity, growth and competitiveness, and it creates new job opportunities in higher value-added jobs, while looking after the environment. Economies that have subscribed to this tenet, both developed and emerging ones, have accelerated their growth rates. But there are preliminary costs. Knowledge-based economies cannot thrive in countries where literacy is less than 40% or where telephone density is less than 30%. The rapid development of ICT, the appearance of the

Internet, and the revolution in microelectronics have all accompanied reforms in the social system itself, accelerating the globalization that enables international exchange (which for 2000 represented an average of 47% of the GDP of countries examined). All of this means more production, technology and information in the hands of more people. ICTs are also responsible for the world’s transformation into a global village, and the exponential growth in human interconnectedness. Because of immediacy societies have quickly transformed their lifestyles steering clear of the anonymous society of the 20th century or the daunting gray modern city. Technological progress has allowed for a growing number of people to begin knowing each other and communicating instantly and directly. In Mexico City, growth of 70% in the area of information technology is expected by 2012. Mexico City is home to a privileged knowledge base. As the economic and scientific center of the country, and with the highest concentration of universities, research institutes and public and private companies, it offers every element necessary for full integration into the worldwide knowledge marketplace. The headquarters of many leading corporations make that integration even more likely. A knowledge-based economy seeks to eradicate social problems by strengthening skills and adaptability in as many economic participants as possible. Factors that today add value to a given region are talent and intelligence as principal, inexhaustible resources, that direct the generation of wealth. So much so, that by 2002, 70% of U.S. income came from its intellectual capital. Studies by the World Bank estimate that growth rates in most countries are attributed to intellectual productivity and not to inexpensive labor. Productivity is affected by a commitment to training people, the constant updating of knowledge and the empowerment of talent. Among the city´s many advantages is, precisely, its highly trained human capital. The Institute of Science and Technology of the Federal District (ICyTDF) began operating in 2007 as part of an effort to better integrate the city into the worldwide knowledge economy. The “City with Connectivity and Technology” project, launched in 2009, invested US$9.9 million in 104 projects underway by 85 graduate students. It produced 120 research articles, 45 patents and 45 intellectual property protections.

“These societies understand knowledge as a resource that can be marketed, exchanged, organized, or transmitted, ultimately presupposing a nation’s economic success.”

reflection of the city, with volcanoes in the background



societies have been articulated in both developed

and emerging



accelerating development

in the latter by as much as

traditional “ organillera”

Chef of the BrokA- Roma neighborhood

computer room- ITAM

Growth rates IN most countries are attributed to

intellectual productivity and not to inexpensive labor. Productivity is affected by a commitment to training people, the constant updating of

knowledge and the empowerment

Between 2007 and 2009, the ICyTDF granted financial support for a total of US$34.5 million for research projects in scientific and technological development. Projects at the National Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) received US$4.5 million and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) was supported with US$8.1 million. Research conducted at the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) was allocated grants totaling about US$1 million and the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM) received US$1.3 million. The initial generators of knowledge - universities, institutes and government bodies - operate under different frames of reference, but these are also interconnected and interdependent. They converge on the common interest that more resources for research and development in science, technology and education be on hand and ready to be put to use. This effort to encourage a climate in which knowledge can flourish and be translated into marketable applications is beginning to show results. Competition between companies, people and powers has increased considerably in recent years and this, at the same time, has enabled the cre-

ation of a network for collaboration between enterprises. The emergence of transnational corporations has been possible thanks to the layers of knowledge that do not follow traditional boundaries or borders. These not only generate employment, but have become the centers of an evolving global exchange. Forty percent of international trade is conducted in this way. Foreign direct investment has allowed the private sector - and not only the State - to create and maintain these important international relationships. Knowledge, unlike information, is difficult to obtain. Its integration is dependent on the interactive paradigm of technology, science, politics and even geography. Knowledge is constantly changing, but as hard as it is to assign to it a fixed structure, it is essential that the inhabitants of a given region are aware of its preeminence and value. They should recognize it in their traditions, in their innovative ideas, and in their talent to transform both into inteligent solutions. Human capital is the main resource that the knowledge economy must rely upon. Mexico City, along with many other emerging economies, is flush with this most vital resource for the growing international knowledge marketplace.

of talent.

  THe Example of India


ndia is at the center of the international knowledge revolution. This is not only due to the presence of transnational corporations but also because India has incorporated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to boost its overall economy. Between 1951 and 1968, the Tata Group opened and successfully operated the first Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to software services. In 1977, multiple firms based on new technologies emerged in the wake of IBM’s decision to cease operations in India. By 1990, the National Association of Software and Services Companies ushered in a new era of multinational corporations. But the Indian model was also successful because it simultaneously attempted reforms in other sectors such as health and agriculture, it pursued intellectual capital and exported talent instead of trying to export low-cost manufactured goods as is the model in so many other countries. India relied far more on developing consumption in its domestic market and on services rather than on industry. Focusing on domestic consumption actually shielded the country from economic volatility in the rest of the world and slowed the rate of increasing inequality. In fact, 30% to 40% of GDP growth in India over the past 30 years, 6% annual growth almost every year, has been due to increased worker productivity, rather than to increments in capital or labor. This can, in part, be attributed to smarter workers, working smarter.

  The Godfather of India Telecom


am Pitroda, an inventor and businessman originally from Titlagarh, Orissa (India), has been acknowledged as the leading advocate of the revolution in communications technology in India. An internationally recognized researcher, telecommunications expert and entrepreneur who spent 40 years working in the field of Information Technology and Communications, Pitroda’s relationship with human and national development is extensive.

“Innovation is concentrated on solving the problems of the rich, when it should those at the base of the pyramid.”


Pitroda led the campaign to bridge the gap between global digital divisions. During his tenure as adviser to the Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, Pitroda was in command of six commissions relating to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization, agriculture, and harvest of seeds for oil production. Pitroda was also the founder and first president of the Telecommunications Commission of India. Today he chairs the National Knowledge Commission of India which aims to boost the power of knowledge and to promote reforms in the institutions and infrastructure that have an impact on innovation. He also serves as an advisor to the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, on matters of public information infrastructure.

“Collaboration.” This is the word Sam Pitroda uses to address the new challenges facing global technological innovations. At one time it was possible for an inventor to produce an important discovery, locked alone in his study. Today, circumstances have changed, progress appears at a previously unimaginable speed and inventions seeking to transcend must be multidisciplinary. In Pitroda’s words, “Innovation needs to move in a new direction.” Today, the world’s best minds are concentrated on solving the problems of the rich, who do not really have many problems. Pitroda stresses that innovation should be sought now for the benefit of the poorest, those at the base of the social pyramid and whose problems require the abilities of more developed minds and better ways to resolve problems properly. The economic opportunities are many, he says, and amount to an untapped gold mine. At one time, defense-oriented technologies gave the best results but today it is important to reposition efforts toward other priorities: finding solutions for greening the planet and recovering lost species, for example. These challenges are enormous but there is human capital and technology to overcome them. “We need to change the paradigm of innovation to fit the moment we actually live in.”


Alejandro Córdoba González- Traditional Glassblower in Mexico City’s Xochimilco neighborhood




rich past



A History of Hard Science A long time-honored tradition of scientific research in Mexico City dates back at least as far as colonial times. In 1792, the Real Seminario de Minería, an imposing edifice created for the teaching of engineering and metallurgy, was founded as the first institute of scientific research anywhere in the Americas. The Prussian naturalist and chronicler of Latin America, Alexander von Humboldt, called the seminary one of the most important scientific institutions in the world.


ith the development of one of the first modern physics labo-

ratories, the Seminary was soon training students from countries all over the world. By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the economy of the Mexican capital was already heavily dependent on the production of scientific knowledge. More recent decades have seen a reinvigoration of nearly all of the scientific sectors that contribute to the economy in the capital. In the 1960s and 70s, the development of modern research began in earnest with the founding of the main centers of study and scientific development. The Mexican Petroleum Institute was created in 1965 undertaking cutting edge studies in the oil industry from its very first years. With research and technological development as its key objectives, it also strives to market results. The institute awards Ph.Ds and master degrees and specialized diplomas in Engineering and Science. Likewise, the Electric Power Research Institute (IIE), founded in 1975, operates for the purpose of promoting innovation through applied research and technological development and to increase the competitiveness of the electricity industry. The Mexican National Institute for Nuclear Research (ININ), founded in 1956, focuses primarily on radiation applications for the medical sector. It also has areas dedicated to the agricultural industry, particle acceleration and radiactive waste management. The organization is very similar in structure to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). According to engineer Octavio Paredes, former President of the Mexican Academy of Science, in the 1940s the National School of Agriculture, today’s Chapingo University (located 20 kilometers from Mexico City), was the hub for what was then called the “Green Revolution” that lasted until the 1970s. Among other things, genetically modified corn developed there revolutionized agriculture worldwide. In Latin America, similar bodies such as the Tropical Agricultural Research Center in Bolivia, created in 1975, have made similar advances in agriculture. Today, Chapingo University also concentrates on

Forestry, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Industries, Irrigation, and Rural Sociology among other disciplines. With the purpose of encouraging and consolidating scientific research, the National Researchers System (SNI) was created in 1984. The organization highlights member´s achievements and it focuses on setting standards that can be recognized internationally. It is also in charge of administering economic incentives that allow researchers to work more effectively. It includes advanced research in all recognized scientific disciplines and has been certified under the International Organization for Standardization. Dr. Jesús Álvarez Calderón, director of the SNI, points out that the perspective of scientific research has changed. In the 1980s, when the SNI was created, the purpose was to keep researchers in universities. Today, scientists are working across the spectrum of industry and business. To look at the private sector back then was to essentially stop being a scientist. Today it is synonymous with the development of a knowledge economy. Members of the SNI are working in every prominent research institute of the country and in all of the major universities. Mexico City is home to the highest concentration of these. Three of the most active scientific universities, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) and the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM), are here. There are also major research organizations such as the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) and the National Institutes of Health, the foremost medical science research centers in the country. The SNI was founded in 1984 with 1,396 researchers. Today’s membership stands at 16, 598. The National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT) has, since 1970, also encouraged and supported Mexican students and researchers in advanced scientific and technological research both within the country and abroad. “Research performed in higher education institutions has changed the kind of skillsets available in the country and continues to change the future of Mexico. The point is to go from being a cheap labor economy to become one based on services and better paid jobs,” says Paredes. “Scientific research is directly related to how we compete internationally in the global economy.” The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, which ranks 20,000 institutions every semester since 2004, puts Mexico in 24th place among countries with the best universities in the world, second only to Brazil in Latin America. Mexico City has the highest percentage of top universities in the country. Leading Mexican scientists agree on the importance of universities for the development of science in the city. In the words of Dr. Julieta Fierro Grossman: “For over 150 thousand years, we lived essentially as hunter gatherers. We were free to take what we needed from the world and damn the consequences. The pollution and destruction left behind could be simply

By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the economy of the Mexican capital was already heavily dependent on the production of scientific knowledge.

palacio de minería- Historic Center


  the institute

of science and technology T

he Institute of Science and Technology of the Federal District (ICyTDF) is a decentralized, autonomous research advisory body created by the Mexico City Government in 2007. Responsible for linking educational institutions with businesses and other parties, the Institute’s purpose is to promote scientif ic and technological development to have a positive impact on learning processes with the ultimate goal of improved educational achievements and social welfare. Through multiple grants and f inancial support, the ICyT tries to instill a passion for science from an early age and to avoid the brain drain that plagues other emerging economies. Since 2009, the ICyT has also been assisting researchers in applying for patents and to better position the results of scientif ic research for the market.

Dr. Julio G. Mendoza Álvarez Dr. Julio G. Mendoza Álvarez is a teacher of Physics at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies and Professor of Sciences at the University of Estudal de Campinas (UNICAMP) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 1991, he won the CMA Award in the Sciences field. He is currently the General Director of the Institute of Science and Technology of the Federal District.

the Institute is responsible for linking educational institutions with businesses, to promote scientific and technological development.   How important are science and technology to the development of a country?

Both are crucial to the development of any country because they generate knowledge and wealth, but also because they enable access to a truly global market.

  How can education encourage science?

That taste for science should be instilled from an early age. It’s very important to redefine the educational model, so that areas of specialization are established, the mindset of teachers changed, and technology integrated into teaching methods from the earliest possible moment.

ignored. But this mindset really ceased to function with the rapid growth in population. The only solution today is innovation. Our challenge is to link more innovative researchers, and the University itself, with industry.” The development of scientific knowledge requires four important bases: human, technological, and organizational capital, such as that provided by universities and research institutes, and social capital provided by government institutions. Mexico City comprises all of these. Mexico City is also the

  What is the role of universities in the development of science? The universities’ main contribution concerns the training of personnel generating active research. The ICyT supports university projects and provides financial aid to students. It also puts them in touch with the industries who have an interest in pursuing similar lines of research as those the students specialize in.

  What should be the role of the private sector in the development of science? The private sector needs to invest more in science and technology. In other countries, the government is contributing with about 70% of the resources backing research while private interests pick up the other 30%. Here, less than 10% of research funding comes from the private sector. Despite the programs already in existence, like the tax exemptions and investments in technology infrastructure ,there is still a lot to be done.

nation’s financial center (itself a major consumer of applied technology), that also provides a clearing house for private capital hoping to benefit from the full proliferation of new research and knowledge. Dr. Álvarez concluded that “research is an excellent teacher and encourages a knowledge-based society.” By positioning Mexico City as a source of knowledge, an important generator of income, employment and training in truly competitive fields is opened for citizens.

Mexican Scientists

are well known throughout the world. Through academic as well as private sector initiatives,they are coll aborating on some of the most important scientific research projects in the world today.

  The Great Canaries

Telescope L

ocated at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos in Spain, the construction of the Great Canaries Telescope was aided by the Institute of Astronomy, part of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in collaboration with the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics and the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology. Building the largest telescope in the world provided a unique opportunity for astronomers to improve laboratory infrastructure and to be involved with the development of technologies not seen in the city until then. The project also allowed researchers to work with renowned international institutes such as those in the Spanish scientific community and the University of Florida. The collaborative effort built the test instruments responsible for diagnosing the quality of telescope imagery, the OSIRIS camera and the FRIDA spectrograph. It extended the technological and scientific knowledge, not to mention the reputation, of the entire scientific community of the city.



test instruments- Institute of Astronomy, UNAM

Dr. René Asomoza Palacio Dr. René Asomoza Palacio is Director of the the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINESTAV). Asomoza graduated with a degree in Physics and Mathematics from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) and received his PhD from the University of Paris. A CINESTAV member for more than 20 years, he was Academic Secretary of the Center from 1999 to 2003.

The CINVESTAV is a public interest research center founded in 1961. With support from both the public and the private sectors, as well as international institutions, CINVESTAV’s primary objectives is to train researchers and teachers in advanced and graduate level teaching.   How have the mission and the dynamics of CINVESTAV evolved since its inception?

Scientific and technological research and development are today at the very core of every successful country. But in 1961, when CINVESTAV was created, this was not the case. Encouraging highlevel research and the training of teachers and doctors of science is something new. Our programs today are classified as meeting international standards set by the National Council for Science and Technology, and over the years we’ve become a lot bigger. We started out with 18 researchers, and we’ve doubled that number.

LABORATORY- Institute of Biomedicine, UNAM


  What percentage of researchers is concentrated in the capital? Forty six percent of SNI researchers are working in Mexico City. That’s the highest number of any city in the republic, attributable mostly to the presence of the top universities and research groups here in the city.

  Ten years ago, talking about innovation in the scientific community was rare. Today it’s a priority throughout scientific discourse. How did this change come about? It’s happened because today it can´t be questioned that investing in scientific research generated wealth and made the country more competitive.

  What role does CINVESTAV play in the relationship between the academic world, industry and government?

A successful example of linking these sectors was carried out in the Department of Cellular Biology, which developed a process for re-growing human skin to treat burn victims. Apart from this and a few other specific cases, efforts to link to this triple helix are not as tangible as they should be. CINVESTAV is actively seeking collaboration with industry to develop products and processes and we have government support and private funding for them.

    What direction should the city take to raise the living standards of the population? This area is being addressed by the Government and the Institute of Science and Technology through actions aimed at strengthening human and physical capital in the city. Ultimately the point is to generate new knowledge. These efforts in turn serve to address needs that improve the quality of life for all the city’s inhabitants and simultaneously to promote social welfare.

  A Major Advance in

Mexican BioTechnology F

or ten years, researchers in the Department of Cellular Biology at the CINVESTAV of the National Polytechnic Institute pursued a project that led to a treatment for first and second degree burn victims. The treatment reduces pain and the time required for skin regeneration by 50%. Research resulted in the first tissue culture technology developed anywhere in the world and has already saved many lives. Recently transferred to Bioskinco Laboratories for further commercial development, the treatment is today available as part of the package of basic services available at all IMSS hospitals and in many private hospitals.

Technicians- Engeenering Laboratory, unam


Point of View



René Drucker Colín René Drucker Colín received his M.D. from the School of Medicine in Saskatchewan, Canada. President of the Mexican Academy of Sciences from 2000 to 2002, today he director the Department for the Disemmination of Science at the UNAM. He is a regular columnist with several newspapers and magazines.

as long as a solid system to link science with the productive sector does not exist, a society can not capitalize its knowledge base adequately.  What is the importance of knowledge and science to human development?

In this century in particular, it’s notable that countries that have invested in the pursuit of knowledge have benefited from it and are today dominant in the global landscape. These economies are healthy and capable, and offer a better quality of life to the whole of society. Knowledge is absolutely essential to the economic and social development of all nations.

 When was knowledge and the right to it recognized as a public good?

Scientists have dedicated themselves to presenting their discoveries to their colleagues and to the general public. Today, most knowledge is generated by institutions supported by governments, which obtain their resources from the taxpayers. Therefore, knowledge has become the right of taxpayers. The methods used to make a specific discovery can be replicated to go even further and deeper. Scientists gain a certainty about what they’ve found and the public has access to more knowledge, which is treated as a public good.

  Does a solid culture of registration of patents exist in Mexico City?

We don’t have an adequate system to link science with the productive sectors of the economy. On the one hand, the country produces very few goods and, because this is the case, there’s no efficient structure that promotes the viability of the patenting of products that could eventually be sold in the market. Few people realize how the process passes through the hands

“Knowledge is generated supported by taxpayers, so that it becomes

of specialists in these related fields. That is our Achilles heel.

  How can we both support private companies and achieve better results?

It’s the state’s responsibility to create the conditions that allow companies to grow and feel supported. It’s possible to identify a hundred serious Mexican companies - small, medium and large - with healthy finances that are producing something. The government should bring them in closer to the universities so that assess-

It’s the state’s responsibility to create and support conditions that allow companies to grow and feel supported. ments can be made as to their technological feasibility, modernization and upgrades. Some time ago, I made a calculation that to technically assess and upgrade 100 Mexican companies would require an initial investment of one billion pesos. The first year, the government would provide 100% of venture capital, the second year, 50%, and by the third year the company would be on its own. Under this program, companies would have to hire two qualified peers


to follow up on the business and to help bring the project to successful completion. If we could push these first hundred companies we would have a program that could grow and strengthen an entire sector.

  We're a city of small and medium enterprises. In what direction should we move?

Early in the last century, a man went to see a carpenter and asked him to make a toy airplane that he wanted for his son's birthday. The carpenter, who had never tried it before, was happy with the result and continued to make airplanes, bigger and bigger. That small company eventually became what we know today as Boeing. 95% of all companies in Mexico are small and medium-sized enterprises. Many of these are family-run, and empirical evidence shows that this is not in and of itself a bad thing. Korea, for example, is a well developed country, but following the war, it was utterly devastated. It was the family businesses that took on the rebuilding of the economy. Now. years later, they are the ones that make the iPods, and some experts say Korea could live just off of the production of the iPod for the next 20 years. What this evidences is that we can’t solve the economic problems of the country in one fell swoop, instead we need to go forward little by little, supporting businesses as we can. In the long run, of course, Mexico should ideally have more large companies. High salaries are really only obtained through these larger enterprises and especially those incorporating the third industrial revolution in genomics, telecommunications and technology.

Scientific and Technological Consultation Forum KNOW LEDGE

The creation and use of knowledge demarcates the difference between development and underdevelopment. The most promising economies around the world follow a chain of values that consist of education, research, development and innovation. This chain drives wealth creation and growth.


he shift towards a greater investment in science is taking hold in Mexico City. Based on the premise that innovation is the main engine of a country’s development, in 2002 a new law establishing mechanisms for the encouragement of research in science and technology was passed. The law proposed gradual increases in federal investment in these areas to eventually reach 1% of GDP. It also established the Scientific and Technological Consultive Forum (FCCyT) as an autonomous body which could interface with the academic community and the country’s productive sectors. A catalyst, the forum allows Mexican and foreign companies to come in contact with the work of Mexican scientists. In a self-perpetuating cycle, enterprises are able to capitalize on the innovative technological development produced by the researchers they support.

Research and Development Funding For Bio-Products used in Mexican Agriculture


rupo Bioquímico Mexicano (GBM) has over 30 years of research and product development experience that strengthens agricultural production in Mexico and throughout the world. In 2003, GBM began to work on bio-products to improve the processes and quality of food. The results have helped to expand overall knowledge in the agricultural sector and to encourage innovation, increasing the company’s competitive capabilities globally. By obtaining records and brands, GBM seeks greater market penetration. This project is linked with several national and international universities, specialized laboratories as well as the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINESTAV) of the IPN, the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (COFEPRIS), and the Federal Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). So far, GBM has more than 250 bio-product registrations in the world.


DR. Juan Pedro Laclette Juan Pedro Laclette San Román is a biologist who earned his PhD from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and who performed Post-Doctoral research at Harvard University. Currently a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research at UNAM, he was also director of the institute, and a member of the Governing Board of the National Institute of Pediatrics, and VicePresident (2004-2006) and Chairman (20062008) of the Mexican Academy of Science. In July 2008, he was elected General Coordinator of the Scientific and Technological Consultive Forum (FCCyT), a post he currently holds.

with the passing in 2002 of a new science and technology law, the Scientific and Technological Consultive Forum was created.   What are the aims and objectives of the FCCyT?

The Forum makes recommendations to the academic community, government and business to boost scientific and technological development in a cooperative manner amongst these three sectors. The board is made up of various agencies such as the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINESTAV) of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), the UNAM and the National Researchers System (SNI).

  Why is it important to achieve a synergy between these different sectors?

We need to convert knowledge into an engine for development. Government funding for research at the universities that are generating new knowledge, when passed off to the companies, will result in processes that positively impact society and the economy.

  What programs does the FCCyT conduct in order to encourage innovation?

Along with the National Science and Technology Council (CONACyT), the Forum is furthering innovation and the dissemination of knowledge through a number of publications. We also encourage the creation of technology parks that better link the academic world with the world of business, through initiatives like Grupo Vincula, an advocacy group for science and technology budgeting. We’re also integrated with the National Chamber of Industry, the Employers Confederation of Mexico, the National Confederation of Industrial Chambers, the Academy of Engineering, the Mexican Academy of Science, the National Academy of Medicine,

Research and Development for Cirrhosis Treatment


eyond costly liver transplantations, there is no other treatment existent for cirrhosis. The National Autonomous University of Mexico, in cooperation with PROBIOMED and the National Council on Science and Technology, developed the IFC-305 drug to counteract it. IFC305 significantly improved the structural and functional recovery of liver tissue in laboratory rats, leading to awards from the National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Glaxo Wellcome Foundation in 1996. The product is currently awaiting registration to be launched to the open market in the hope of helping millions of people suffering from cirrhosis of the liver.

to “We need convert knowledge into an engine for development.”

the Mexican Association of Directors of Applied Research and Technological Development, the Mexican Association of Secretaries of Economic Development, the Presidential Science Advisory Board, and the National Network of State Science and Technology Agencies. The Forum sponsors the Veranos por la Innovación en la Empresa, a program to place undergraduate students from public institutions in Mexico, for six week periods, in companies with at least one innovative project that corresponds with the base of selected student work. The Forum is a strong advocate for a stronger budget increase in the science sector.

  Within Latin America, how does Mexico City rank in terms of innovation and technology?

Well, we’re at the top in terms of competitiveness. Patents are above those issued in Sao Paulo. Still, being ahead of Latin America doesn’t mean innovation is flourishin to the extent we would like it to. We are still lagging behind many other cities in North America and Europe.

  How much of the federal budget goes to science?

At 1.5% of the federal budget, we’re still only at 0.4% of GDP. That amount is well below the international recommendation of at least 1% and presupposes a terrible setback for the country.



RO/Bionics S. A. de C. V., in a joint project with the IPN, developed an electronic prosthesis that is light, strong and functional. The invention consists of three interconnected modules, a hand, forearm and elbow. These can be integrated according to the anatomical and physiological conditions of the patient. Each prosthesis is designed under strict guidelines for ergonomics, functionality and aesthetics.

Design and Development of a High Performance Infant Incubator


n 2006, Arroba Ingeniería, together with the Centre for Research and Industrial Design at the UNAM, built an infant incubator for newborns. The unit allows the continual monitoring of physiological activitiy of the infant, and includes devices for heating the air, managing moisture, oxygen and even sound levels. The unit is designed solely to protect the health of newborns and is expected to generate about US$5 million to further boost the technological development of new and better incubators.


PIRWI, a Mexican home furniture brand- San Pedro de los Pinos



atents in Mexico are issued and administered by the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), which recorded 197 national patents and 10,243 foreign patents in 2008. In the same year, 155,900 patent applications were processed worldwide. In 2009, the technical field that showed the highest growth in the world was for research conducted in nanotechnology. This was followed by work in semiconductors and then by digital communications application. In Mexico, in the same year, the most promising areas, at least according to patents issued, were in the fields of biotechnology, electronics, chemistry and physics. The Institute of Science and Technology of the Federal District (ICyTDF) was established in April of 2007 with the mission of assisting and invigorating the development of innovative research centers in the city and to encourage the application of knowledge. Further, the Institute identifies the city's needs and it advises the Federal District government on how to link these with solutions offered by scientists. The institute also acts to establish links between industry, business and research teams, and other parties where necessary. In 2007, the Patent Register Module within the ICyTDF was established to provide advice on the patent application process and how to better approach it. The ICyTDF assists applicants in the processes of registering intellectual property, and in locating public or business sector capital investment funds. While carefully considering the demands of the global market and pushing the city closer toward a more prominent position within that market, three years after the founding of the ICyTDF, about 280 research projects in the city were supported by private and public institutes with grants and investments totalling more than US$29 million. Sixty patents pending are the result of that work.

The scientific community in Mexico City is coming to understand the tools available to better protect, develop, promote and ultimately market their inventions. The Ciudad Saludable program within the ICyTDF is currently pursuing 26 projects in development with a budget of US$1 million, and has so far filed 30 applications for patents, and ten intellectual property protections for software, design, copyrights, and formulations. Likewise, the Ciudad Sostenible program, with 261 projects and a budget of US$22.5 million, filed nine patent applications, 45 intellectual property protections, and a further 45 patent applications. 45 intellectual property figures came from the Ciudad con Conectividad y Tecnología program, currently overseeing 75 projects on a budget of US$12.5 million. Between September and October of 2010, the ICyTDF expects 81 patent applications to be filed in Mexico, which will be in the fields of materials engineering and processes, a method and a device for adjusting the position of mirrors in a solar concentrator, and a system of linear displacement and mechanical positioning for nanometer resolutions, among other applications. In November 2010, the city will celebrate it’s 3rd “Science and Innovation Week.” Events in two prior years were attended by more than ten Nobel laureates who contributed ideas to strengthen the development of science, technology, education and sustainability in the metropolis. A project of special interest to current mayor Marcelo Ebrard, the week emphasizes creating and strengthening links between national and international scientific bodies and it is quickly growing to be one of the most important international conventions of its kind.

THE CITy’s science &



is growing to be an important international convention.

aof federal 2002investment law proposed gradual increases in science and technology, to eventually reach 1% of GDP, the international recomendation.


New heights

INNOVATION from Aculture change of



TECHNICIAN- Engeenering Laboratory, unam

Point of View

Civil Society

Guillermo Fernández Guillermo Fernández earned his Master’s Degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT) and of the Autonomous Metropolitan University. Since 1997, Fernández has served as Executive Director of the United States-Mexico Foundation for Science (FUMEC).

The FUMEC aims to facilitate bilateral collaboration on education, research and innovation, working on common interest issues that favor the economic and social development of Mexico and the North American region IN GENERAL.

    What role has civil society played in the advancement of science in Mexico City?

Civil society’s participation in Mexico City science is recent but growing. The USMexico Foundation for Science (FUMEC), for example, is relatively new, existing only since 1993. We’re a binational organization that is taking advantage of the best experiences of the United States, Canada and other countries in order to accelerate scientific and technological development in Mexico. The original idea came from George Brown, a US Congressman and former chairman of the Committee of Science and Technology. He provided the vision that was crucial to the collaboration between these neighboring countries in areas of science and technology. The Foundation allows Mexican technology-based companies to improve their technological capabilities, management and business. In Mexico City, we’re linked with the Institute for Science and Technology which develops programs for visiting professors and scholars with advanced degrees. We approach them and put them in touch with our affiliate businesses who may need their assesment. Increasingly, civil society is looking at education and research as one of the key elements of growth. Working from that angle, FUMEC promotes economic development based on technological innovation.

“The Foundation

allows technology-based companies to improve their technological capabilities, management and business.” Concentrating on the support of small and medium-sized technology companies, we are helping to build specialized human resources focusing on the environmental and health sectors. This has resulted in the creation of tools to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from Mexican industries and in early detection of infectious diseases that could cross the US-Mexico border.

    What kind of support does FUMEC offer towards a knowledge-based economy in Mexico City? One of the major steps taken by Mexico City with the Foundation’s aid is to

strengthen the support offered to technology-based companies with programs such as the Technological and Business Assistance System (SATE) and the TechBA Program. The latter is a business accelerator that uses the Foundation’s resources and those provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Government of Mexico City. The program works with companies of great potential for technological development in Mexico and connects them with one of eight different global business ecosystems (Arizona, Austin, Madrid, Michigan, Montreal, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Vancouver).



TechBA allows Mexican companies to compete globally selling their technology in different parts of the world. We have over 60 successful cases. These Mexican companies have so far have done US$106 million worth of business. They’re also creating jobs.

    What successful experiences in the US are being imitated here?

The first is good planning. The definition of projects and technological strategies has to start with the companies’ business plans. We have been developing these mechanisms in partnership with CONACyT´s innovative networks. This allows us to build far-sighted strategies with emphasis on securing business for the company. That fosters the creation of research projects, the training of specialists, and laboratory and infrastructure development. One experience that FUMEC has successfully imitated is SATE, which follows a model to support small and medium enterprises that have been test-run in the United States. SATE allows us to diagnose company’s needs and to examine how they can boost their competitiveness and efficiency. In the Federal District, for example, we work a lot with information technology companies. Another model we are trying to bring to Mexico is the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), a very successful program, developed with the support of the US Congress and aimed at funding advanced research within technology companies. Companies such as Google came out of this program.

    Can you mention some cases of Mexican companies succeeding in technological innovation?

There is Módulo Solar, for example, an energy company that is doing a lot of business in Madrid. Another example is Soisa, a company that is equipping aircrafts, which started out making just the cloth seats. Today they are furnishing everything from the seats to the kitchens and bathrooms. CIMA-CI is a Mexican company that developed logistics software for freight carriers. A US company asked to have their software installed and implemented but the US has different regulations and a different way of commercially using the software.

We sent the team to our accelerator in the Silicon Valley. They got coaching on how to implement the technology in the US and the deal was closed on good terms. That’s how we operate. Another case is Metalsa, unique in Mexico, dedicated to the manufacture of metal structures for the automotive industry. They began as a small company and have grown to a worldwide firm, with facilities in many countries with advanced technological capabilities. Nemak is another. They’ve specialized in aluminum heads for automobile engines and have had an impressive expansion because they’ve been able to consolidate their technological infrastructure.

    Where is Mexico City on the way to establishing itself as a knowledge economy?

Mexico City is very fortunate. We have many institutions of really advanced higher education, which is very important. The city also has the most important research centers in the country. Seventy percent of scientists in the entire country are here, as are the most important developers in the financial sector, the automotive sector and in the information technology sector. Mexico City is the place from which most of the companies in the TechBA program have emerged. There are about 150 companies working here with the most advanced Mexican technology.

    How does the Foundation link Mexicans working abroad in scientific and technological research with the innovative firms doing business inside the country?

There are thousands of well-situated Mexicans in the US and Canada that are working with companies and organizations in Mexico. To locate them, we work with the Institute of Mexicans Abroad, part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, through a program called the Talent Network. We’re able to identify the Mexicans that can potentially benefit Mexican companies and we assist them in working as consultants, with universities or with other companies so that collaborative projects can be generated. In England, for example, there are Mexicans specializing in designing combustion engines for cars. They are working with Ford’s engine design department and the Technological Institute of Chihuahua that supports the work being done at Ford Mexico.

Mexico City is the place from which most of the companies in the TechBA Program have emerged. There are about 150 companies working here with the most advanced Mexican technology.     Finally, from your perspective, what strengths does Mexico City offer as a knowledge economy?

It’s a city with a great tradition of innovation. At a time, the best technologies for the mining industry were developed here at the Royal Seminary of Mining. Andrés Manuel del Río discovered wolfram, which he named “tungsten”, while working at the seminary. Another very important effort has been the nearly 40 years of work done by the Institute of Engineering at UNAM. Scientifically and technologically, the Institute has helped to meet the needs of the city on issues such as water supply and minimizing the damage caused by earthquakes. We need to also acknowledge the work of the Technological Research Institute (IIT) at the National Laboratories for Industrial Development (LANFI). Since the 1950s, their contributions have had an enormous impact on industrial development in the Federal District as well as in the rest of the country. That’s just part of the long history of Mexico City as a knowledge economy. In recent years, there have been many advances in health issues, software development and information technologies, just to mention a few areas where Mexico City has contributed and will continue to do so.

Pharmaceuticals Mexico is the largest consumer of pharmaceutical products in Latin America and the world’s ninth largest drug consumer overall. Like in many countries, this important part of Mexico’s economy has grown rapidly, especially over the past twenty years.


he pharmaceutical industry as we know it dates back to 1820, when chemists such as Pierre Joseph Pelleterie in France began marketing newly invented medicines like quinine and strychnine. Only when the First World War seriously interrupted the supply of the medical products flowing to the US was the development of new methodologies to manufacture medicines and drugs really taken seriously in the Americas. Until the 1940s almost all medicines available in Mexico were still being imported from the United States and Europe. As the outbreak of the Second World War again slowed the shipment of these medical supplies, Mexico City was forced to encourage development in the pharmaceutical industry. In time, this led to the establishment of several national leading companies such as Laboratorios Silanes, ProBiomed, Psicofarma and the Instituto Bioclon. Since then, the market’s growth has been steady with new technologies increasingly incorporated into the processes of product development. Today, the National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (CANIFARMA) includes 173 member laboratories, and represents 90% of pharmaceutical GDP and around 1.3% of Mexico’s total GDP. Fifty years ago, the first vaccines and antibiotics to alleviate diseases such as tuberculosis, polio and smallpox were created. By the 1980s though, infectious diseases ceded their place to chronic diseases associated with poverty and new public health problems such as diabetes (the third leading cause of death in Mexico). This further drove the search for new and better drugs. “The 1990s were a particularly fruitful time for the pharmaceutical industry in Mexico which saw heavy investment in laboratory infrastructure and an increasing reliance on biotechnology in the manufacturing processes,” Jaime Uribe de la Mora, currently Director of ProBiomed, explained. The ability to patent all health related products and the processes with which they are created has become increasingly relevant. “Until recently, we couldn’t patent our bio-generics, because there was no regulatory structure that allowed it. The issue led Probiomed to back the creation of a specific law

to protect the development of these types of products. It’s impressive when one considers that no other country in the world has similar legislation. The next step is to try to universalize the rules so that the import and export processes stop being as complex as they are now,” de la Mora added. Mexico’s pharmaceutical industry has begun to seriously compete in the international marketplace. In 2003, Laboratorios Silanes opened a plant in Toluca, Mexico, with the most modern machinery in Latin America. ProBiomed recently inaugurated a biotechnology product development center in Tenancingo, in the Metropolitan Area of Mexico. But in the capital itself, the industry has grown with even more determination. “As in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, this is not only because of supportive pharmaceutical regulations in the capital, but because of the proximity of leading institutes of higher education and research centers. Universities have played a key role in the growth of the pharmaceutical industry, especially the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the Polytechnic Institute, both of which have implemented chemistry and pharmaceutical programs, and developed curricula to train young people seeking to further themselves along with the industry,” said Dr. Juan López de Silanes, President of the Instituto Bioclon and Vice President of Research and Development at Laboratorios Silanes. Progress in the pharmaceutical industry, beyond the generation of new drugs can also be observed in technical innovations that lead the industry in some areas. To the surprise of manufacturers everywhere, ProBiomed is developing anticoagulants like heparin and dietary supplements such as vitamin B12 with innovative manufacturing processes that are unique in the world. New technologies led ProBiomed to develop a recombinant DNA from which genetic proteins can be extracted. These are then manipulated and reproduced in a fermentation culture. With this procedure, ProBiomed has been able to mass produce and market the hormone erythropoietin which is important in the treatment of anemia. One of the main strengths of these new technologies is that they do not depend on expensive natural resources and so production costs can be kept to a minimum. Records indicate that prior to the ProBiomed labs’ production of erythropoietin only 2% of the population had access to the hormone, as each batch cost up to US$200 million to produce. To further enhance these technological and scientific advances in pharmaceutical processes and the dissemination of knowledge, Mexico City is striving to foster better links between businesses, academia and the government. It was in large part thanks to Sintex, a laboratory, that the Chemistry Institute at UNAM was created.. The CANIFARMA is working to bring more advanced partnerships of this kind to fruition.

“Universities have played a key role in the growth of the pharmaceutical industry.”


silanes PHarmaceutical LABORATORY

As Dr. Silanes puts it, Mexican talent needs to be recognized, but as often happens, instead of investing in our own human capital the investments go abroad. “The city has a sufficient critical mass to generate knowledge in high technology, as it does in the pharmaceutical industry. But as in many other areas, we need to employ our own human capital to generate more wealth and progress.” It’s been shown that the market for health and health-related products has grown by leaps and bounds at the national level. Strengthening the industry so that it is positioned to compete internationally is the current challenge, and therefore partnerships with more foreign pharmaceutical companies remains essential. The commitment to infrastructure and technological innovation, the development of new drugs for neglected diseases, like hepatitis E, which have been largely ignored by drug manufacturers in more developed economies, all lend urgency to the challenges facing Mexico’s pharmaceutical industry.

  Anti-Venoms from

Laboratorios Silanes


exico has some of the broadest clinical experience in the management and application of antibodies to patients who’ve been poisoned. Silanes Laboratories is a world leader in the production of anti-venoms. Many of these treatments were developed in collaboration with the UNAM, the Instituto Bioclon, and supported by the National Science and Technology Council. Anti-venoms developed include those for scorpion stings, spider and snake bites. These have not only helped reduce the mortalities that resulted from scorpion stings in Mexico, down from 230 deaths in 1995 to just 30 in 2004, but have also allowed the development of proprietary technologies for their manufacture. Alacramyn, an anti-venom developed for scorpion stings, is produced by injecting small doses of insect venom into horses so that they generate antibodies, which are then extracted from the plasma of the animal to be purified, modified, tested and finally delivered to the marketplace.

Records indicate that prior to ProBiomed labs’ production of erythropoietin

only 2% of the population had

access to the hormone,

as each batch cost up to US$200 million to produce.   LABORATORIOS SILANES


ilanes, a leading company in the pharmaceutical sector, was established in 1943. They currently produce about 100 prescription medical products, and hold over 80 registered patents. The leading manufacturer of oral anti-diabetic agents in Mexico, Silanes manufactures about 1.5 billion tablets per year, many of which are exported to more than 25 countries. In 1995, the company added new highly innovative areas, like diagnostics and a molecular biology laboratory. Research into biotechnology and genomic medicine has also since been added. With the incorporation of the Insitituto Bioclon into the company, Silanes added unique technology for the manufacturing of a special kind of antivenoms, called fabotherapics. In 2007, Silanes received the Socially Responsible Company certification from the Mexican Center for Philanthropy and in 2008 they were awarded the CANIFARMA Prize in the area of Research and Technological Innovation. Silanes has also earned several prestigious international awards and is a member of the United Nations Global Compact.



Technological developments in communications have had important application throughout history. The telegraph, radio and telephone were the first steps that quickly lead the world toward shortened distances and speedier business, technology and policy exchanges.


n less than a century, technological innovations allowed informa-

tion to flow steadily and ultimately transformed the world by making communication the primary tool of development. Today, a diverse array of media hastens the speed with which messages flow and has had a tremendous impact on the world economy. Cities continue to invest in the development of technologies with a clear purpose: the faster contact is made, the faster decision-making can occur. Mexico City’s telecommunications have been revolutionized in the last twenty years, during which time the country’s telephone network was modernized. Analog systems were upgraded and a fourthgeneration network today provides residents with the most advanced technology available. According to Telmex, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Latin America, “The Federal District’s network is among the top ten worldwide, not only in technology but in terms of capacity, restoration, coverage and presence of services.” Investment in telecommunications has proven to be essential for the development of major cities, and pays off in the creation of highly specialized jobs and improved quality of life. As new

communication tools are implemented, development and consolidation of their operation also takes place. Investment in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has accounted for about 14% of growth in Latin America between 1995 and 2004. ICTs in Mexico are estimated to have grown by 12% in 2007 alone. Following its privatization in 1990, Telmex invested in human and financial capital to keep the country’s phone systems at the forefront. Telmex has consolidated one of the most technologically competitive networks in the world. It’s a 100% advanced digital fiber optic network that handles restorations without human intervention, in 50 milliseconds. Facilitating efficient information flow, exchange and interconnectivity is one of the chief characteristics of tomorrow’s economy. Actors in developing economies enjoy far greater opportunities for growth and specialization. And the convergence of technologies such as computer networks and mobile phones has reduced the cost of information processing and accelerated the growth of computer networks. Developing economies take advantage of technological tools for strong advances in productivity. The information economy today stands independent of the economy of material goods, as noted by Matti Pojhola, professor of economics at the Helsinki School of Economics, it is “a global movement of weightless bits of information running at the speed of light.” Making these services available to all the inhabitants of the metropolis is of vital importance. In the view of Telmex, “Technology alone is not useful unless it is made accessible. Telmex is not merely for big corporations and big needs, we have aggressive service plans, public telephones, mobile and social applications. By the end

The Federal District’s network is among the top ten worldwide, not only in technology but in terms of capacity, restoration, coverage and presence of services.



ducation is one of the main fields to benefit from technological advances in telecommunications. In an effort to incorporate every part of the community into ITC development and to reduce the digital divide, as part of the Education and Digital Culture Program, Telmex and Fundación Carlos Slim implemented a program called Mochila Digital aimed at students. The program provides students in elementary and secondary schools with computer equipment, and teachers with the tools necessary to integrate digital technology into their classrooms and educational programs. The computers distributed among students are called XO and were developed by the One Laptop Per Child foundation, created by Nicholas Negroponte. The foundation’s purpose is to provide children around the world with better opportunities to learn, explore and express themselves through a personal computer. The units are designed specifically for children between 6 and 12 years of age in developing countries, with a direct connection to the Internet without need for more technical equipment. Energy consumption is less than a tenth of that of a common laptop. The computers can be used as a standard laptop, an aid for reading electronic books and as a gaming machine. Children come into contact with children in other geographical areas and can then form a body of common knowledge. The Virtual Herbarium, for example, provides young participants with an user-built catalog of plants in Mexico for easy comparison with plants and wildlife in other areas.




2 place nd

FOR INTERNET USERS and penetration in

latin america

Source: Rand Corporation, Science and Technology-Based Regional Development for Mexico City: a Project Mid-Term Report, Mexico City, August 2008.

of 2010, we’ll be providing more than 3000 public sites with open access to the Internet.” In Mexico City, in order to ensure access to information, 600 free Wi-Fi sites were opened and by January of 2011 that number will reach 1,000. In today’s Mexico City, free Internet access is available in various parks such as the Alameda Central, all of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Polanco corridor, and the area surrounding the National Auditorium including the significant concentration of museums there, as well as in several restaurant chains, airports and bus stations. To the extent that a city has the ability to develop a true digital culture, it is also then better able to compete globally. Access to the ideas used in other economies generates economic value. Sixty percent of the foreign direct investment in Mexico is made in the country’s capital and nearly 90% of the software used in Mexico is still imported. The company also noted that the growth of a knowledge-based economy is not only about bringing the latest technology to the city, but about searching for the best applica-

contributes an estimated

70% added value to the economy tions to respond to specific problems of the population. Taking advantage of investment lies in the capital and in the technologies available throughout the world. Efforts like Telmex’s Center for Technology Assessment and Development, which tests technological tools for standards, specifications, capabilities and requirements, allow some of them to eventually be incorporated into the operational network. The Center, in Mexico City, consists of 20 laboratories, and manages more than 200 technology platforms to perform about 800 assessments annually. Telmex is certain that “Through this process of technology selection, we’re able to adapt technology to the conditions and specifications of the networks in Mexico.” “Mexico city’s network is years ahead of what it has been used for so far, so we’re prepared for the future. It’s a network at a very high technological level, with a great capacity for decisive growth,” Telmex concluded. “Without investment in new technologies we’re not going to have access to what these allow us to achieve. We have security, quality, coverage, and technology. And we also have the people who can operate that technology.”

Point of View

Private Sector

ENRIQUE SIMÓN RUEDA Enrique Simón Rueda is the sales OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) manager for Microsoft in the Latin American region. For the last years, he has been working in finding and implementing the best technological practices for education through the use of information technologies and communications.

The Digital Learning gap is an issue that affects all cities striving to achieve an equalitarian development horizon.

“It’s been demonstrated that a 10 point increase in broadband brings to governments.”


    Microsoft provides technological solutions all over the world. How has Mexico City benefitted from some of these? This city really demands solutions up front and it generates them too. Microsoft Mexico has developed successful strategies that have then been implemented in other countries. I was in charge of the Casa Digital project here, for example. That project was initiated two years ago along with INTEL and the National Fund for Housing Institute (INFONAVIT) and it ended up becoming an important public-private partnership with Microsoft in the lead. Since the program’s inception, every new home delivered to its new owners


comes equipped with a computer and an infrastructure including a server within their new community. Through a digital connection, users get access to all of their local service, pay rent and other fees, advertise and shop.

  This kind of technology has to reach lower income areas troughout the city

Totally. The Casa Digital program has been implemented already in working class and lower income neighborhoods that don’t usually have access to technology. The positive impact has been enormous. It’s a sustainable program, not just a philanthropic one. Public policy is actu-

ally being generated from some of these programs where we’re putting technology into the hands of residents who otherwise would simply not have access to it. We get them preferential prices - on both computers and Internet service- through partnerships with manufacturers, and we provide financing at the same time.

    What other technological models have been generated at Microsoft Mexico for the rest of the world?

We have a fantastic program for small businesses called Mi PYME Crece, which helps small businesses grow. We’re reaching 4.2 million of small businesses, and with the sup-



port of the Department of the Economy, we’ve developed a content guide for the creation of small businesses. It includes everything from strategic operation, leadership, customer service, business proposals and technological training. The experience is being replicated in Chile, Argentina and Peru, which is further proof that being consistent with the planned use of the technology creates new opportunities and allows any country to generate even further alternatives.

  How has connectivity and access to technology grown over the past ten years ? Ten years ago, city residents were still getting used to the cell phone. Today the public is adopting what we call a “digital life.” That is, they’re online all the time, they’re connected with friends, colleagues and family. Nearly 40% of more than one hundred million Mexicans are using the Internet and this year, about six million new computers will be purchased. Microsoft is working with different types of financing so that the greatest number of people can be in touch with technology. We’re also releasing a new strategy called BPOs, Business Productivity Online, through which consumers can acquire short term MSOffice or operating system licenses and renting them at significantly lowers costs than buying them.

    How has Microsoft responded to the issue of equity in access to technology in Mexico City? For Microsoft, reducing the digital gap has to be based on education, connectivity and accessibility to technology for all socioeconomic levels. The reduction in this gap is a priority for Microsoft. A vision of sustainable initiatives and programs for the medium and the long-term led us to work with the state and federal governments. Strong investments

for students in the city are making technology more accessible. Microsoft is providing tools and content at no cost for students from elementary to university levels and, along with the Department of Education, we’re also providing training for teachers. We’ve developed technological models to provide students with connectivity in many different regions, from the most isolated, rural areas, to any city, so that all students get access to an online education. Our strategy of Technological Neutrality makes all of these models and platforms interchangeable, we are able to operate them all. We’re completely open to encouraging and promoting the development that spring from these communities without putting obstacles to their entering the world of technology.

  Compared to other major cities, particularly in Latin America, how does Mexico City stand up in terms of technological infrastructure and connectivity?

Mexico City has realized that a digital reality is very important. We can’t continue to lag behind in technological and digital culture. And the best practices and initiatives that take off in other countries soon come to permeate the culture here in Mexico City. Ten years ago, it was rare for someone to have a mobile phone, now it is impossible to not have a computer. The government aknowledges that it’s not only fair but necessary to develop public policies to eliminate the digital learning gap. A second and vital goal is for entrepreneurs and small businesses to be technologically advanced.

      Why is the investment in communication technologies so essential to economic development in Mexico City?

It’s been demonstrated that a 10 point increase in broadband brings significant

savings to governments and helps to generate and develop better jobs. The return on the initial investment is much stronger than what you get from building a road. The returns of introducing technology to more businesses, and the tools to achieve higher productivity at lower costs, are enormous. It’s also been proven worldwide that investments in technology can shorten a development process that otherwise might take five years down to just three. Mexico City has some very strong projects within the digital agenda. The right public policy will lead to greater investment in information technologies.

The casa Digital program, through which houses are equipped with computers and Internet service, has been implemented in lower income neighborhoods that don’t usually have access to technology.



National Archive

Mexico’s National Archive (AGN) is the most important repository of historical

documents in Latin America. Operating as an archive since 1982, the collection manages, conserves, restores and disseminates 52 linear kilometers of documents crucial to the memory of the nation.


he AGN allows citizens and researchers to consult Mexican history documented in the archives, and reinforces a policy of transparency and free access to information. Together with the Federal Institute of Access to Information (IFAI), the AGN has the responsibility to formulate, direct and execute the policy of the head government archivist. Although each state collects its own historical documentation, the AGN determines which documents will be acquired, preserved and disseminated, primarily by coordinating the National Archives System. The AGN facilities in Mexico City serve as a library, open to researchers and students mainly, but also to any citizen who wishes to consult any of the files. In the Vault of the National Archive, the earliest records date from the sixteenth century. The collection consists of more than 740 batches, sections and series classified into nine groups. There is also a newspaper library and a bookstore. In recent years, the archival work of the AGN has gained greater visibility as the amount and importance of its documents is essential to the country's history. Today, the main projects of the AGN are related to providing wider access to the collection. According to Managing Director Aurora Gómez Gal-

varriato, the AGN has begun construction of an annex to the existing 150 linear kilometers housing the collection, that will include a museum to better display and protect the most valuable documents. While demonstrating the country’s diversity and richness, the annex will also present foreign records and photographs that are rarely seen by the public. The museum annex also plans workshops that invite visitors to better explore Mexico's past, and thus to better determine what the future of the country will be.

The Government is supporting the AGN’s digitization of the Official Journal of the Federation.

The documents in the Maps collection are of high artistic quality and some have been recognized by UNESCO as part of the


“Memory of the World” collection.

The building that houses the National Archive is a historic gem in itself.

Conceived in the panoptic style during the Porfirio Díaz presidency, the building was first opened as the penitentiary of Mexico City and operated as such from 1900 to 1977. It was was best known as the “Lecumberri Palace,” and housed political prisoners, dissident intellectuals, drug traffickers, murderers and common criminals. Among the most notable prisoners were the Mexican revolutionary general Francisco “Pancho” Villa, muralist painter David Alfaro Siqueiros, marxist writer José Revueltas, Cuban gangster Alberto Sicilia Falcón, strangler Goyo Cárdenas and students from the protest movements of 1968.



he AGN has begun the process of digitization to perpetuate and share the collection worldwide. Scanned documents receive virtually no re-touching and the digitization process allows researchers to understand which collections are the most requested and popular. The project was initiated in the early 1990s, however, the results obtained at that time were substandard, mostly due to a poor quality of scanned images. Anyone consulting the collection had to continue using the original documents. Since the AGN purchased and implemented the Ciranda system, it has managed to accelerate the process of digitization of the archives, while also optimizing the quality of scanned images. Director Galvarriato Gómez affirms that while efforts to fully digitize the AGN have been underway for some time, the Government of Mexico City has also begun supporting this work. “The city government is now collaborating in the digitization of the Official Journal of the Government as one of their programs for the Bicentennial. The idea is that once it is completed, the Journal will be circulated throughout the network.”

While scanning the largest possible sample of records, because the collection is enormous and the process costly, it has been necessary to prioritize documents for scanning. "There are priorities for digitizing the documents. The first goes to those of clear origin and those which are consulted more frequently. The second priority is to determine which documents are most vulnerable, those which might be lost or damaged, as in the case of nitrate and acetate plastic photo archives. With the digitization of the original documents, no photocopied archives are needed, so those consulting the collection may now take a PDF file. The third criteria is dictated by archivists and specialists who determine which are the most important historical collections,” she concluded.

The number of images submitted to the digitization process is about eight million thus far, of which four million were scanned last year.

Mexico City, June 2010

Gabriella Gómez-M ont Valpeoz Senior Ted Fellow, Founder of Tóxico Cultura, Writer and Visual Artist


hat exists is this: a city. A formidable city. An endless urban landscape, composed of layer upon layer of history, continuously recreated by its own hand. Mexico City. The oldest metropolis on the continent, the place that becomes whatever you expect of it, and that, at the same time, is never completely what you thought it was. And beneath its changing nature, since its very foundation, resides a complex geography that for some reason has always had the quasicathartic capacity of exciting fabulous visions in the eyes and minds of the people that behold it. The founding myth of Mexico City tells us that the Mexicas - the original inhabitants - had wandered for several years, led by Huitzilopochtli, one of their primary gods, in search of the Promised Land. It was in this green valley surrounded by volcanoes and mountain peaks that they saw the sign they had been waiting for: an eagle perched upon a cactus, with a snake in its beak. No matter that they had a lake to contend with: they finally laid down their traveling gear and proceeded to build Tenochtitlán, a floating city that rivaled any European city of the time in scope, beauty, culture and regional power. It is said that centuries later, on the 8th of November, 1519 to be exact, this unfathomable city left Hernán Cortés and his



troops agape at the sight before them. Again, a vision of a promised land called out: a conquest not only of the geography, but also of a people stirred in Spanish minds and was unleashed; constructions were razed, new buildings projected, a colonial city - very different, but just as impressive as its pre-Hispanic version - was created of its own past, with the stones of onceupon-a-time. To this day, a snake’s head will mysteriously jut from a European-style building. Because, merging and clashing, the years advanced and the city shifted and spread, changed, and continues to spread and shift as I write, with elements of all of its former selves playing out in different ways and resulting in vastly different social territories. Today, it is a city that still belongs to many of its own epochs at once, in a continuous re-visitation of its own definition. A city is growing, yes, it is growing still. At once, difficult to comprehend in its totality, the city is endlessly enigmatic because of it. It is an image of both promise and excess, of social ecologies pregnant with paradox, almost anachronistic unto itself. An (im)possible city. A formidable city. It is. And no, it is not an easy city. It never sits quietly. It never fits obediently inside the structures of simple definitions. It is unruly. It is challenging. It demands attention while you walk its streets, just as it demands a certain degree of improvisation and creativity on a daily basis and at every turn. (To understand what I mean it is only necessary to look out of the airplane window as one flies in during the night and behold the sight below. No more explanation will ever be needed. Because, paradoxically, one will understand that no explanation is ever possible.) And a city like this is a cauldron. When I meditate on the malleability of these seemingly solid structures I often remember the deeply insightful and hugely passionate


Lewis Mumford - important urban theorist of the 60s - speaking of an idea that I would hope is irrefutable: that cities should not only be built for the human body, but also for the human imagination. “The city that promotes art is art too; a city that creates theater is in itself a play. We have understood it all wrong if we believe that a city’s function is to organize communities and social structures with pragmatism and velocity: the principal function of a city is to convert power into form, energy into culture, inert materials into living symbols of art, reproduction into social creativity,” he would say. This is one of the topics that intrigues me the most: how to create city through culture; and how, in turn, culture is incubated in the structures and spaces that surround the human body. Because today, it is undeniable: innovation seems to thrive in certain types of social and topological nodes. The arts, for example, seem to agree with urban settings (a “concentration of human capital” as some theorists have noted) and cities in turn reap astounding economic and social benefits from artistic communities and structures. Or certain types of cities at least: studies have shown that high indexes of tolerance, diversity and social openness become magnets for independent-thinking people, and coincide with the flourishing of creative industries and innovative enterprises. Complexity has its value when understood correctly. This is why I so strongly believe that Mexico City has the inherent potential to become one of the great creative capitals in the world. Mexico has always mesmerized and seduced people with its offerings and its diversity, with all of its possibilities. Humboldt desired the Aztec calendar; Breton praised its “convulsive beauty” and famously called Mexico the most surreal of all countries. Artaud also voiced his undying passion for these lands. Eisenstein’s famous imagery was forever marked by what he encountered here. Goeritz, Modotti, Weston,



Lowry, Noguchi, and many others decided to call it home for some time. And as its capital, Mexico City has always been a creative cauldron - as it continues to be. Today, a good number of our renowned filmmakers, artists, designers, writers, photographers, and more, have taken center-stage on the international scene, one has to give but a cursory glance at a listing of world-class museums or film festivals to confirm this; from MoMA to Cannes. There is also a raw talent and enormous creative hunger moving through the newer Mexican generations, savvy about international trends at the same time that they grow up surrounded in a vastly original urban scenario, in a city that is many cities at once; a place that demands the mind to be alive and stay awake. Simultaneously, but definitely not by coincidence, Mexico City is still an obligatory stopping point for the world’s most famous musicians, artists and thinkers. Culture abounds. Mexico City has the continent’s largest university and more museums than any other city in the world. It gabriela gómez-mont valpeoz divides her was recently named one of the great time between words and images, always interested in working at the fluctuating culinary capitals of the planet. All border between disciplines. She has received number of international awards and of this together makes for a tanta- agrants in different creative fields, such as a year-long grant at Fabrica, a prestigious lizing combination of possibilities, art laboratory based in Italy. In 2004 at the threshold of what could be, of Gabriella co-founded Cine Abierto (dedicated promoting independent cinema) and who we could become, of the type to Laboratorio Curatorial 060, an experimental and multidisciplinary collective interested of city that could still be created. in questioning the ideas that define and But we are, with no doubt, also at contain contemporary cultural practices. a critical crossroads. In the midst of Gabriella also writes for various magazines world-wide, has been guest-editor for the recent international crisis, in the several issues of different international publications, and is the founder of Tóxico middle of a complex political and Cultura, an independent cultural project social reality, there are two choices: based in Mexico City. Tóxico not only curates workshops, lectures, exhibitions and to think of culture, art and creativity screenings, but it also functions as a as a superfluous component - just a multidisciplinary hub and think-tank.


pretty face, the cherry on the cake so to speak - or to understand how important it is for countries like Mexico to develop a healthy creative scene, at the very marrow of the system. I would like to see the bureaucratic structures created to support the art & cultural sphere become as creative as the people and platforms they are meant to support. I would like to see old laws challenged and new laws passed that are capable of engendering fertile breeding grounds for greater ideas and imaginative enterprises - instead of acting as hurdles to be surmounted. I want to see how this formidable city harnesses and channels its unstoppable energy into the creation of a myriad of innovative channels, at the same time that it forms itself in a continuous and endless synergy. There are still many national issues that stifle the generation of knowledge instead of furthering it. We must better understand these well-springs of creativity and try to mobilize them, with the true, practical and deep understanding that these are the great source of competitive advantage and economic benefit that will give rise to new economic growth. Yes. We must build fires that spark a new national creative ethos: an incomparable belief in the importance of human imagination and community, of the value of ideas that are capable of improving living standards not only by enriching the visual culture that surrounds us, but also by letting the imagination release all that is stagnant. This creative ethos needs to be multi-faceted in nature and public policy should nurture it. Innovative programs and

“Cities reap astounding economic and social benefits from artistic communities.�



incentives should mobilize energies and give those same energies their proper space in the formation of things; but it must also be born and developed at the grass-roots level. We need to foster a climate of critical, independent, and creative thinking throughout all levels of society and its structures. Because creativity is not a luxury. It has never been. Important economical and social shifts are taking place internationally, and it is of upmost importance for Latin America to rely less on being thought of as a manufacturer and a cheap-labor economy, and more as a creative, generative population with a rich historical - and contemporary - culture. The importance of knowledge as capital, of information societies and creative industries, has been proven again and again, the world over. Many countries have started to understand just how powerful the results can be: in England, for example, these “creative industries� now account for almost 8% of yearly GNP, and grow at a faster rate than the rest of the economy. So, it is time for Mexico City to take the next step. We have healthy doses of all the necessary ingredients to become a landmark of culture and creativity. Our city is a collective enterprise, the sum of us all. I see the capacity to respond creatively that is woven into the very fabric of our society, in the very way people invent a life for themselves within these gargantuan spaces. Because what exists is this: a city. A formidable city. An (im)possible city. A city creating itself as we speak. Let us learn how to use its impressive force and complexity to our own advantage. The way we imagine the world is the basis and blueprint for the world that we live in. Everything out there always has its start somewhere inside the mind. The mind is creating possibility. And while the mind is at it, creating city too.


In 2002


a new law

societies have been articulated

establishing mechanisms for the encouragement of research and development in science and technology was passed.

in both developed

The law proposed gradual increases in federal investment in science and technology, to eventually reach 1% of GDP.

and emerging

economies accelerating development


in the latter by

as much as

in Mexico city,

Today’s Chapingo University

“The Federal District's

network is among the top 10 worldwide, not only in technology but in terms of capacity, restoration, coverage and presence of services. It’s a 100% advanced digital fiber optic network that handles restorations without human intervention, in 50 milliseconds.” Technical and Network Management at Telmex.

(located 20 km from Mexico City), was the hub for the “Green Revolution,” which lasted until the 1970s. Among other things, the genetically modified corn developed there revolutionized agriculture worldwide.

growth of 70% in the area of information

technology is expected by




In the capital, the PHarmaceutical industry has grown with determination, not only because of supportive regulations, but because of the proximity of leading institutes of higher education and research centers. - Dr. Juan Lopez de Silanes

In 1792, the Real Seminario de Minería was founded as the first institute of scientific research anywhere in the Americas. Alexander von Humboldt, called the seminary one of

the most important institutions anywhere in

the world.


Mexico’s National Archive

is the most

important repository of historical documents in latin america Operating as an archive since 1982, the collection manages

52 linear kilometers of documents.

The ARCHIVE has begun the process of digitization to perpetuate and share

the collection


of researchers in the entire country are in the city as are the most important developers in the financial sector, the automotive sector, and in the information technology sector. – Guillermo Fernández

layers emerge P r io r


betsabeé romero is an  whose career has included over 30 solo exhibitions around the world. her work has been shown in New York, France, Australia, Cuba, Brazil and Puerto Rico. Her urban intervention projects have been seen in cities as diverse as Toulouse, Los Angeles and Chicago. Romero’s corpus starts up with mexican folklore and popular urban culture, including abandoned cars that are a recurring theme in her body of work. Mexico City is an “assemblage of cities.” It’s impossible to see it from but one perspective. Prior layers emerge and new layers go down atop the old. And such processes that have often been violent, one has to assimilate and perceive in an every day manner. This has generated in me a laboratory of inquiries and experimental artworks that question how those bonds break. How, at certain historical moments, culture converts to resistance, and how, also, is it then entwined with that which is at the surface. The city scratches itself and the scars emerge everywhere. There is always a goddess being excavated or a building being erected. The largest tree covers a palm tree that is older still. Always friction prevails in the visual, the cultural and the symbolic.

San Idelfonso


a n d n e w l ay e r s go d o w n ato p t h e o l d

BetSabeĂŠ romero

Mexico City has public and private schools of the highest reputation as well as the best and largest university in Latin America, UNAM. The city’s education system promotes research and innovation, and has continued extending its reach to more and more students each year. Likewise, programs and assessments have improved and standardized the quality offered across the board. Internationally competitive and increasingly productive, Mexico City has emerged as a major center of learning in the hemisphere.






EDU CA TION Ibero-American University

P. 



 INTERVIEW with Mario Delgado Carrillo, P.72 Secretary of Education for the Federal District

PROGRAMS IN EDUCATION P.74 HIGHER EDUCATION P.76 INTERVIEW with José Narro Robles, P.80 Rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico

QUALITY TESTING in Education P.84 INTERVIEW with Blanca Heredia Rubio, P.86

Points of View

Former Commissioner of the Political Development Unit of the Department of the Interior


MODEL INNOVATORS in Education P.88 INTERVIEW with Fernando Mejía Botero, P.92

Academia Civil Society

Director of the Center for Educational Studies




P.96 P.98 P.102



Rectory Building- UNAM




is the main pillar of a knowledge-based economy. Indispensable to the creation, sharing, dissemination and effective use of information, a comprehensive education builds skills, values, and knowledge.

Education encourages capital resources, and acts as a driver of innovation in every other sector of the economy. All of these factors combine to affect the well-being of a people. Those who are well-prepared demand higher quality in all goods and services and this, in turn, stimulates the growth of technology and improves production processes throughout the economy. Everything points to the same word: educate. Mexico City is the center of education in Mexico. The best schools and higher education institutions are based in this city: the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), still the most important university in Latin America, remains in the top 200 universities worldwide according to the Times Higher Education ranking. The Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM), the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) and the National Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM) are also highly ranked universities. And in 2009, the Ibero-American University won recognition from the Federal Department of Education and the National Association of Universities and Higher Learning Institutes as the best private university in Mexico, and the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) was ranked among the top 1,000 universities in the world. One positive result of hosting so many top schools is that the city is home to two thirds of the researchers of the National Researchers System (SNI). Maintaining high academic standards is a priority in the city, but simply adding schools and universities is not enough. Since 1955, international standards have measured the academic achievement of cities around the world. Since 2000, the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) test has shown that 50% of the variance in student test results in Mexico City is due to socioeconomic differences.


Institutions of Higher Learning in Mexico City. %

Proportion and distribution of institutions of higher learning in each borough. Includes campuses, individual departments and research centers

(00) Number of institutions per borough



Gustavo A. Madero (38)

educational institutions

2.91 Azcapotzalco (11)

Miguel Hidalgo (47)




1.58 Venustiano Carranza (6)

Cuauhtémoc (92) 2.91 Iztacalco (11)


0.52 Cuajimalpa (2)

Álvaro Obregón (31)


Benito Juárez (52) 2.91 Iztapalapa (11)

8.46 Coyoacán (32) 0.26 Tláhuac (1)

0.79 Magdalena Contreras (1)


0.52 Xochimilco (2)

Tlalpan (38) 0.26 Milpa Alta (1)

SOURCE: National Association of Universities and Institutions of Higher Learning. Data updated, 2009. Includes Primary and Secondary Education, Undergraduate, Specialized, Graduate, Doctoral and Post Graduate Education.



Thanks to the implementation of standardized tests, many faults in the education system have been aknowledged and addressed. After identifying problems and solutions, the city and federal governments and other public and private agencies have been given the task of implementing support plans, trying to unite the different social actors, and carrying out reforms. The goals set are those of gaining more educational coverage, eradicating inequality and improving the overall quality of the education system. Today, projects aimed at meeting these educational demands and raising the academic level of all students in the capital are seeing considerable success. But one of the biggest problems is still being able to afford to stay in school. Economic circumstances force too many students to work to help their families. To reduce the dropout rate, on the advice of the Education for All-Fast Track Initiative (2002) which calls for free, universal basic education, the government has implemented programs for economic support, like Prepa Sí. It has also increased the number of scholarships and loans to low-income students. Likewise, Mexican civic initiatives such as Mexicanos Primero represent new attempts to bring education to the most marginalized areas of the city. Positioning the city to evolve along with the rest of the world requires linking education sector policies with those of the labor market. Innovations in learning techniques and the use of advanced technologies to achieve an education that can reach more people is of the utmost importance. It’s also vital to train teachers and to detect and promote the most promising talent that, until recently, was neglected. Mexico City’s educational landscape is encouraging. Projects are closing the gaps in education by constantly mobilizing new resources. The struggle to decentralize the system and to further cooperation among institutions and agencies in order to improve overall educational quality is showing real results. All of these efforts, combined, will have an impact not only on Mexico’s economic growth, but also on the realization of a more equitable Mexico for years to come.


Point of View


Mario Delgado CARrILLO He was appointed by Mayor Ebrard Casaubon as Minister of Finance for the Mexico City Government in 2006, making him the youngest person to ever hold this post in the history of the city. His vision and understanding of the city’s areas of opportunity have inspired him to develop some of the most important programs: Prepa Sí, a very successful education program today, has diminished the school desertion from 21% to 6%, benefiting more than 200 thousand students in high schools. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Urbanization 2010, considered the world´s foremost integrated ‘intelligence’ network of innovative thinking and idea exchange on global issues.

Through better management of debt and healthy public finances, the City has been able to increase its investment in education.

“New technologies are always

containers and transmitters of information.”

    How have the city’s public finances performed and how does this relate to education in the city?

Mexico City’s public finances show good health and are one of the major contributors to the financial well-being of the rest of the country. Contributing a full 20% of GDP, the city’s finances account for 21% of the national economy and a full 55% of federal tax revenue. In 2007, all of the city’s debt was refinanced through installment loans that hadn’t been available since 1939. Through better management of debt, the city received better access to competitive rates of financing. In turn, the increase in educational investment made it possible to improve teacher salaries and to purchase educational materials and new technology to facilitate the learning process. During my term as Minister of Finance, I was eager and convinced in the promotion of fiscal incentives to support technology and real estate projects. Despite the global economic downturn, it was a great challenge to have increased the public resource investment by 20% in infrastructure, which led to the most significant construction in

the country of the last 15 years, a 24 km subway line, as well as the biggest social agenda in the country. Private investment, on the other hand, has increased by 12 billion USD, which due to fiscal incentives and a financial innovation scheme have allowed for the largest investment program in the history of the City. This strong financial scheme has placed the region in 1st place of competitiveness in the country (according to ITESM and IMCO) as well as the most transparent state (according to CIDE). It was clear that we needed to have a budget which considered gender, minorities and human rights. Today, Mexico City has an all-embracing agenda, the most complete in the country, focusing on the elderly, single mothers, and the most vulnerable; allowing for these groups to be eligible for fiscal discounts. And, certainly, on education. Digital Classrooms are one of our most important projects in education. Currently there are more than two thousand in the capital, computers with broadband connectivity have been installed in public school classrooms. The program aims to give all students access to the web and to

prevent any gaps in student performance. Mexico City is the first city in the country where all public primary schools have digital classrooms, that guarantees a digital education to millions of school children.

    How important is the role of education to the economic development of a country?

In Mexico, some 9.8 million young people are presently aged between 19 and 23 years. That’s the ideal age to start college. However, only 26% have access to accredited institutions of higher education. In 2000, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development pointed out that developed economies maintain educational reach at above 50% of the population, a point that was well noted in developing economies where educational coverage tends to be much lower. Education provides countries with people qualified to perform in whatever capacity their ambition leads them, and in turn, they generate quality services. Thanks to education, societies produce skilled, talented human capital that is useful not

EDUC ATION only inside the country, but also abroad. Through education, people can propose suitable solutions to address all of the social, economic and policy issues that Mexico faces today.

    What’s been the impact of the city government’s “Prepa Sí” program on the new generations of students?

From the primary level, students gradually begin to drop out of their studies for a number of reasons. Prepa Sí has benefited more than 120,000 young people in Mexico City who were able to continue studying at the upper secondary level. The program has reduced the overall dropout rate in the city by creating opportunities for those students who, under other circumstances, would simply not be able to stay in school. Prepa Sí encourages them to live healthier lives and to stay away from problems like violence and drug use. The project also provides encouragement to get them into university where they can get the necessary tools to succeed. The government’s commitment is ensuring the future of the young people who could become professionals, because the continuity of Mexico City’s development depends on them.


there is no such thing as a city of knowledge where only one socioeconomic level is benefiting from all the improvements and development. omy. Students, in their own right, determine the cognitive growth of our society. At times the government doesn’t have sufficient resources to finance new projects or programs, so the role of private initiative is going to be essential. Lastly, it’s also necessary to encourage investment in science, technology and information. Suitable infrastructure is essential to the development of a knowledge society. This needs to include a network that everyone can access and that provides continual feedback. Reducing the digital gap between social-economic levels and between generations is also important. Only then can we think about really building and paving the way towards the goals that we’ve planned.

    What actions should be taken to make Mexico City into a knowledge   In your opinion, what would be the capital? advantages to Mexico as the Knowledge First we need to strengthen the educa- Capital of Latin America? tional system from the basic levels on up. A city cannot become a knowledge economy if its people lack appropriate education. The government has to generate opportunities and create spaces for education, but beyond that it also has to encourage those who are already inside classrooms to continue their studies. Here you can see the relevance of the programs my office has led such as Niñ@s Talento, Prepa Sí, and University Prepa Sí. We also need to work in coordination with all the economic sectors in the city because there is no such thing as a city of knowledge where only one socio-economic level is benefiting from all the improvements and development. It’s necessary to promote interaction between private enterprise and government. Legal and fiscal incentives and investment opportunities need to be facilitated. And we need to include the academic world, researchers and scientists, who will be the engine for policy change in the knowledge econ-

That Mexico City could act as the head of Latin America would involve a number of advantages. One of them would be in having the resources and the extras necessary to meet the needs of the population, so that one could speak of a suitable level of internal development. This means that we’d have an educational reach to meet the demands of the entire population, both at basic levels and even in terms of higher education. Moreover, being at the leading edge in knowledge implies that the science and technology sectors are internationally competitive. This ties in a lot with what I’ve already said, but you can’t talk about development in these two areas without significant advances in education. For sure, they require rigorous quality standards and a high concentration of research. To be a leader in fields like these means that you can promote significant cultural and scientific exchanges, and provide advice and information to other countries.

To be included among the principal cities in the region would also attract more foreign investment to areas like science and technology, which often require more resources. Mexico’s capital is already the biggest recipient of foreign direct investment in the republic.

    Why is it important that policies in education, science and technology be included within economic forecasts?

The inclusion of these three areas in decision making over economic policies increases the competitiveness of the city. These three areas, together, can lift the entire country. Education should be at the heart of public policy, for it is through education that social issues can really be addressed. Similarly, the development of applied science allows us to improve the quality of life and to encourage the transformation to a knowledge economy. It is necessary to link innovation with the private sector; that was one of the reasons for the creation of the Institute of Science and Technology.

    What makes new technologies so essential in the transition to a knowledge economy? New technologies are always containers and transmitters of information. One can not imagine a knowledge-based economy where information is cloistered and can be seen only by a select few. New technologies necessarily lead to more transparency and accountability. If everyone has access to information then you can think of a society in a state of continual constructive criticism, where everyone contributes their own experience and knowledge. The development of these new technologies involves infrastructure at the front end of society but it is also reflected in a higher standard of living throughout the population.

Programs in Education 74

The most successful city governments in history have focused intently on the training of city residents. Education has proven essential to economic growth and development and to any city’s integration into the global economy, parallel to the history of urban proliferation there is a history of great universities and schools, attracting visitors from the world over.


Ith the highest concentration of public and private schools in the country, Mexico City offers the most extensive educational opportunities. The Federal District, unlike Mexico’s states, receives the entirety of its education budget from the Mexican federal government. City government plays an important support role in supplementing and complementing the educational system. Sometimes noticeably inelastic at the primary level, the Mexico City school system hosts a student body where the particular needs of students are as diverse as the students themselves. The academic profiling of students has been neglected, including that of gifted children. In spite of their capacities, many students face the risk of dropout, often by pressures to contribute to family incomes. All of this bears witness to a marked inequality of opportunities, providing further proof that poverty is related to a lack of possibilities in higher education. The government of Mexico City is aware of these problems for students and also of the tremendous challenge they portend for the country’s future. In 2007, the city began to implement a series of targeted education programs to address these issues. Much of this work has been done with the support of other institutions such as the National System for Integral Familiy Development (SNDIF). Having established a goal of raising the average schooling of the entire population of the city to 12 years, the government launched a number of initiatives to support residents and students. Vouchers for the purchase of school supplies and uniforms, providing school meals, scholarships for students from high-poverty areas, and the establishment of digital classrooms were among the plans initiated. But the most successful have been programs that are not well known outside the Federal District. “Mexico City’s greatest achievement in terms of education has been in extending coverage to more students,” says Lucrecia Santibañez, pro-

fessor and researcher at the Center for Economic Research and Education (CIDE) and Director of the education area at IDEA Foundation. “Mexico City has 100% coverage in basic education. Right now, the challenge is to provide more opportunities, especially to those at the middle-school level - to prevent them from dropping out.” To address the dropout rate, in June of 2007, the government of Mexico City created a Guaranteed Education Trust which makes grants through four programs designed to keep more students in school longer and to broaden the overall reach of all education programs in the city.

Mexico City has

100% coverage in basic Education. the challenge is to provide more opportunities to those in

middle &

High school.

Quality of life and knowledge, that is the main contribution. NIÑ@S TALENTO Contributions made by the Niñ@s Talento program to the beneficiaries(%).

They’ve helped me to improve the skills I already knew I had”


iñ@s Talento supports young students of exceptional talent who reside in the city. Students between ages of 6 and 15 years and with a grade point average between 9 and 10 can qualify. With the early identification of academic potential, the program aims to encourage the development of learning and to optimize skills by offering classes in arts, sports, and cognitive development. Students also receive an annual grant to cover school supplies and transportation expenses. In the 2008-2009 school year, the program financially backed 101,515 students. The 2009 budget was about US$24 million. Fifty seven percent of students are enrolled in academic areas, 22% in arts and 21% in sports.



It’s helped me to socialize more and to be friends with more people”




They’ve helped me out in my family life”

It’s helped me learn new things”







SOURCE: Second Survey of the Parents of program beneficiaries in the Niñ@s Talento program. Evaluation Director’s office. Guaranteed Education Trust (2009).

After their first year, both programs were deemed satisfactory having met and exceeded their respective goals. Niñ@s Talento has served over 120,000 children. Prepa Sí represents almost 50% of the total expenditure on social programs for education and has been an important tool to address the inequality of opportunity within Mexico City’s educational system.

  Prepa Sí


he Prepa Sí program focuses on preventing students from dropping out of school for economic reasons. Among the most common reasons for not finishing school was the need to earn money to supplement family income. Prepa Sí is designed to reward students for attendance at levels comparable to what they might earn working in the private sector over a ten month period. Raising the academic level of those same students is another important focus of the program. In December 2007, overall average scores of students enrolled in Prepa Sí hovered at 7.65. By June of 2009, students enrolled in the program averaged 8.27. As of late 2009, the number of students enrolled in Prepa Sí was 236,426, of whom 50.2% were women.

Continuing High School Percentage of students who continued their high school studies in Mexico City (%).


NOTE: The percentage is based on the 180,362 participants in the Prepa Si program.



83.3 81.9 79.3


School 2000 Year 2001

2001 2002



2002 2003

2003 2004

2004 2005

2005 2006

2006 2007

2007 2008

2008 2009

SOURCE: SEP, the E.U.M. Educational System School years 2000-2001 through 2007-2009. Information is from the Operational Area and System Incentives Program for Universal Secondary Education, Prepa Sí (2009).

Another important initiative is

the Educational Guarantee Program

Va segur@ is an accident insurance program that covers medical ex-

which has focused on children forced to leave school after the death of both parents. SOME 2,696 students receive financial support of about US$65 per month. The costs to the city are not low, but students without the support of parents have the highest risk of dropping out. The 2008 budget for this program was about US$1 million.

penses up to about US$1,200 and lends to the peace of mind of students and their families. With the belief that education is crucial to increasing labor productivity, incorporating technological innovation, and strengthening the competitiveness of the overall economy, Mexico City has targeted these investments in education as the best option for all of the residents of Mexico City to reach a sustainable, fair, and equitable place in theIR world.


Higher Education The university, in addition to holding a time-honored place in western history, is a strong indicator of the health, well-being, and economic prospects of any city fortunate enough to host one. Emerging in the Middle Ages to meet the very different needs of the people, institutions, and aspirations of that era, today’s universities deal with the complexity of an ever-changing world. Mexico City’s academic environment is just as diverse as that of any major center of learning, and it is illuminated by that same long history. Mexico City universities are leading Latin America in just about every area of higher education, and compete on the world stage in more than one discipline.


Ities have always been places where people from different backgrounds converge, and in the mingling of so many personalities and personal histories, each confronts individual challenges and collective opportunities. Universities play a key role in integrating all this diversity of thoughts and aspirations, transforming them into knowledge that is then collectively available to the benefit of all. Mexico City, enormous and multi-faceted, hosts the largest university in Latin America: the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), ranked among the best 200 Universities in the world, along with Harvard, Oxford, and Fudan University in China. Known in the collective imagination of the city as the “maximum house of studies,” the UNAM is also the largest single generator of scientific knowledge of the country. In 2009, the UNAM was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Communications and Humanities, in recognition of its position as the leading academic institution in the Spanish-speaking world. With top academic standards, this highest seat of learning also maintains elevated admission standards. In one of the world’s most populated cities, though, the number admitted is still exceptionally high. In 2010, no less than 10,350 young people were accepted as new students into the UNAM community. The second largest university in Mexico, the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) is ranked in the top 25 universities in Latin America. With strategically located campuses at the four corners of the city and a fifth facility in the suburbs, the UAM offers 66 undergraduate degrees in fields as diverse as humanities, sciences, engineering and health care. The other bastion, to complete the triad of colossal public higher education institutions, is the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), which has been a leader in education and research particularly focused on technology for the past 74 years. Every city expands, convulses and gives rise to the new spaces that it requires for the coexistence and the elaboration of new ideas. In response to the growth of the capital, the government of Mexico City inaugurated a new public university in 2001. The Autonomous University of Mexico City (UACM) seeks to meet the educational needs of the population not already benefiting from other public educational institutions. With smaller facilities, staff and students, the Center for Economic Research and Education (CIDE) and the College of Mexico (Colmex) are both extremely important in their contribution to the knowledge base of the city and the country. These public institutions have minimum fees and rely, in part, on public budgets and private contributions.

Beyond the realm of public higher education, Mexico City also offers the best national private universities. In 2009, the Ibero-American University was recognized by the federal Department of Education and the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES) as the best private university in the country. Well known for the quality of the education provided is the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM), which ranks eighth among the best universities in Latin America. ITESM has three campuses in Mexico City. Among many other colleges, the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM) also stands out. A small but excellent private university, the ITAM is a leading research center in the economic, technical, political and administrative fields. Its students are characterized by a very high level of academic achievement and a strong orientation toward research. Its Center for Economic Analysis and Research, headed by Ignacio Trigueros Legarreta, and its Center for Applied Economics and Public Policy, headed by Ricardo Samaniego, remain influential in many aspects of decision making and public policy in the country.

reading room- ITAM

“Because of the quality and the offerings of all of these institutions, including the scientists, teachers and researchers, Mexico City is the best place in the country to be educated,” says Enrique Fernandez Fassnacht, General President of the UAM. He also notes that the reach of higher education compares with that of developed countries, “it hovers at around 45% of the young people in the capital between 19 and 35 years of age.” The wide range of higher education options and facilities provide Mexico City with a wealth of intellect that keeps the city well abreast of the world’s largest cities.



Central campus- UNAM

DR. SERGIO ALCOCER Dr. Sergio Alcocer received his degree in Civil Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Texas. Former Director of Research at the National Center for Disaster Prevention, Alcocer is a member of the National Researchers System, President of the Mexican Society of Structural Engineering and Secretary General of the UNAM.

“UNAM is the jewel of Latin American higher education.” Ranked as the number one University in Latin America, the UNAM stands for the most revered ideals of higher education, including academic freedom and autonomy.   What advantages are there to the university's autonomy?   How is the UNAM positioned with respect to the great uni-   versities of the world? By definition, it imbues the university with the ability to govern The UNAM has traditionally been one of the poles in the development of knowledge in the world. There are fields of knowledge that are on par with other major universities. Our main strength lies in scientific, humanities and social sciences research. Among our most outstanding departments are engineering, philosophy and literature, history, law, medicine and architecture. The UNAM continuously invests in infrastructure, laboratory equipment and open areas of multidisciplinary work in topical issues such as energy, climate change, care and treatment of water and immigration, to name just a few of the subject areas in which the university is working at the cutting edge worldwide. We have been ranked as the number one university in Latin America for the last several years. We are at the level of the best university in Brazil, from Sao Paulo, and the best Spanish universities.

  Why is it important that the UNAM’s home be in the city?

A modern capital has to base its economy on efficient high-end technological services. The university prepares students for careers that develop these services and technologies. Thus, the university strengthens the economy of the city and contributes to its overall position on the world stage.

itself and to determine, without external influence, its own actions and academic work. This does not mean, though, that the UNAM operates with a sense of detachment from what we do with the federal budget.

  How does the UNAM disseminate the results of the research and investigations conducted there?

Through the traditional methods of scientific production: we publish articles in Spanish and in English in international journals. We also publish over 100 magazines within the university. And our researchers are constantly linked with their counterparts from other universities throughout the world.

  How does the UNAM face the increasing demand?

We have a huge problem with admissions. We can only accommodate between 10% and 12% of those who pass the competitive selection process. It’s urgent that the federal and local governments work to offer more alternatives to the young people who are unable to enter. We’re offering undergraduate and even post-graduate distance-learning in almost all areas of study. Enrollment in these areas is growing and it’s a challenge to develop it more and help solve the current admissions problem.

Dr. José Morales Orozco Former head of the Jesuit Order in Mexico, Dr. José Morales Orozco is the Rector of the Ibero-American University in Mexico City.

“We want students to feel responsible for the

future of Mexico.” 78

The Ibero-american University was recently recognized as the best Private University in the Country. Doctor Morales Orozco has been an advocate for subsidies for private higher education.   How and why was the Ibero-American University founded?

The Ibero was founded by a group of Jesuits in 1943 with the purpose of furthering excellence and a patriotic sense of commitment to Mexico. Our value is in our graduates.

  How does the existence of Ibero complement Mexico’s public university system?

Private universities are supportive of education throughout Mexico in terms of coverage and quality. In its origins, the UNAM was an important backer of the idea to create the IberoAmerican University.

  Is private higher education subsidized more heavily by the government in other countries?

Throughout Latin America and elsewhere in the world, the State supports private education. In countries like the United States, the federal government subsidizes private education through scholarships and research funding for projects, but in Mexico this still does not occur. It should be noted that it’s actually much less expensive for the government to put a student through private higher education than to keep supporting public education as it currently functions.

  Is there any initiative to rethink the system of government incentives to higher education?

Yes. Until last year, private universities had to pay their scientific personnel even when they joined the ranks of the National Researchers System. Today we have achieved that the National Council of Science and Technology provide the equivalent of 30% of our spending exclusively to scientific research in private institutions. The subsidies need to be based on the quality of projects and not on whether the institution is public or private.

  How did the Ibero win recognition as the best private university of the country? Our excellent accredited academic programs, our research projects and our infrastructure, the degrees held by our teachers, the number of university patents we file and the number of articles published by our graduates place us above other institutions.

  Which capacities do we need to build on, through higher education, for the years to come?

Technical courses that meet the very specific necessities of the working world, especially in areas related to electronics, robotics, and mechanics need to be developed. We must be very attentive to the needs of business, and over all, to the actual needs of the country.



he National Center for the Evaluation of Higher Education (CENEVAL) is an independent, nonprofit organization, created in 1994 by the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES) to investigate high school and higher levels of education in Mexico City. Its mission is to assess the quality of education through the application of two types of tests: the National Income Exam (EXANI-I, II and III) and the General High School Exit Degree (EGEL), now required for 38 advanced curricula. The tests are designed to alert students as to the knowledge and skills they have acquired during their training. Currently used by more than 200 upper secondary education institutions and by nearly 600 universities, the tests assess about 90,000 graduates annually and one in five Mexicans have taken one or the other test. The tests are required for all diplomas and their importance is increasingly recognized internationally.

In 2007, the INEGI reported a population of 2,150,146 with university Level and technological education throughout the country, of which:

1,089,100 1,061,046 ARE MEN






Finishing the degree comes to about US$ 78.62

On average, to study Law in a private university in the city will cost.


he TecMilenio University was founded in 2002 by the ITESM university system. Conceived as a new initiative for educational quality, TecMilenio incorporates advanced technologies in the classrooms and bases certification on adquired competencies. The certification process is conducted by agencies outside the university, ensuring employment opportunities for graduates, 71% of whom are hired before they graduate. TecMilenio’s programs are offered in three modes: classroom, executive and online, which allows students to study while remaining employed. Classroom work promotes student interaction and is designed to encourage collaborative work, but students spend equal time in the executive and online programs. TecMilenio’s other strengths include reduced costs to students and comprehensive programs with a practical orientation aimed at providing solutions to contemporary problems. The university offers continuing education programs including graduate seminars and courses. It also has exchange agreements with 87 universities in 32 countries around the world. There are currently 33 campuses and six sites in 21 Mexican states, one of them in Mexico City. TecMilenio also has two high school programs, 11 corporate universities and five educational technology parks.

US$5,300 per semester. A degree can be earned in about nine semesters.

The UNAM is the only Latin American university among the top 200 in the world. Only two Spanishspeaking universities fall within this ranking, the UNAM and the University of Barcelona.

Point of View


Dr. José Narro Robles Dr. José Narro Robles is a physician and the current Rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where he has also held the positions of Director and General Secretary of the Department of Medicine. In public administration, Narro Robles served as General Director of Public Health and of Medical Services, both for the Federal District. He was also Secretary General of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), and an advisor to the World Health Organization. Narro has published 56 research articles in scientific and medical journals.

The UNAM is the most important center of higher learning, scientific research and investigation, art and culture in Latin America. Dr. Narro, as current rector of the university, has argued convincingly that the generation of knowledge fuels the engine of progress for a knowledge-based society.

“I believe in education as the great lever of transformation.”

    What was the driving force behind the creation of the UNAM? It has gone through many stages and responded to numerous national projects. Throughout its history, you will find science, culture, humanities, and an enormous number of women and men who made essential contributions to what is, today, the university. The UNAM was technically established over 450 years ago and has secular roots. Just 100 years ago, though, a proposal of teacher Justo Sierra, following the project of Mexico of the twentieth century, saw the university re-dedicated as the National University.

Today, the UNAM has a clear commitment to three important activities for the country. The first one is to teaching. Every year more than 20,000 young people finish their undergraduate education, in 85 different fields. We also educate new teachers, doctors and specialists in post-graduate degree programs. Our second commitment is to the research programs. One out of three scientific articles published in Mexico is authored by someone from the UNAM, and many of these are published internationally too. The third commitment is to the dissemination of culture and to the creation, sponsorship and promulgation of countless cultural activities.

    Mexico is a country of many contrasts. What is the role of education as a transforming force?

I believe in education as the great lever of transformation. It’s not possible to find a country with low levels of education and high levels of development. In 2010, when we talk about a knowledge economy and society, it is with the understanding that education, the generation of new knowledge and its subsequent transformation into goods and services is fundamental. Mexico, in spite of all of its contrasting conditions, must still make a great effort to push education to higher standards and to universal coverage.

EDUC ATION     What factors have converged to make the UNAM into the most important university in Latin America?

The UNAM is part of the country’s cultural heritage. We host and are responsible for the National Library and the National Newspaper Library. We also operate the National Astronomical Observatory. We’re entrusted by the greater population and the federal government to run the Seismic Network, the tidal gauges and many of the national collections of flora, fauna and minerals. All of this combines to make us the great university of the nation. I’m also convinced that what has made the university great is its students, professors, researchers, cultural workers and other employees who daily flock to the university to do their part in keeping up our reputation. Extraordinary scientific and humanistic events have taken place here. And we are always preparing for tomorrow. The key has been the combination of an extraordinary community with an institution whose fundamental principles are those of academic freedom, liberty of research, autonomy and plurality. It’s a house of study where everyone fits.

    What needs of the Mexican people does the UNAM respond to and how?

The university owes its existence to all social classes. Among our students and our

The university owes its existence to all social classes. Among our students and our teachers, all of the cultural, economic, and ideological backgrounds are represented.


teachers, all of the cultural, economic and ideological backgrounds are represented. The UNAM has always been very clear that its commitment is to the country, and it’s contributed significantly to the transformation of Mexico. That commitment has been to the benefit of the whole of society and it’s directed at giving back in the same way that resources have come into the university. We can see it in the history of the twentieth century. There were no successes in education, health, infrastructure development, culture, art, basic and applied science, where university graduates did not play a prominent role.

    What is your view of the current state of science and technology in Mexico?

Mexico still needs greater awareness of the importance of scientific research and the humanities. We need to make more effort to allocate larger budgets to it. And we shouldn’t forget production in the areas of culture and fine arts. A knowledge-based economy requires informed, prepared, and educated individuals. But it also needs creative citizens: artisans, artists, entrepreneurs. Mexico has always been an innovative country, and to solidify this we’ll continue to rely in our universities. These must be able to fuel our drive towards innovation.

    Can you talk about the scientific research conducted at the UNAM?     What should be the role of the UNAM We’re committed to scientific and human- and other institutions of higher educaistic research. But the question that is per- tion in facing the challenges of globalihaps the most valuable is how we can zation and the current scientific and manage to transform new knowledge into technological revolution? useful solutions. There are, of course, many answers. We have links to the productive sectors, public and private. That’s one way to apply knowledge. There are a huge number of cases where the university works with consultancies to produce technical reports that address specific issues and come up with fundamented answers. The Mexican Petroleum Institute, the National Water Commission, the state governments, the Mexico City government, all come to the UNAM for advice based on research. We work with the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives and the Senate. We also have strong links with the business world. A student who attends graduate school should be able to find a desirable position in business where he can apply the knowledge he has acquired here over the years. Many of the developments that have come from the universities eventually go into private production and in the end have benefitted a lot of people. Good examples are pharmaceuticals and heart prostheses. These are just two of various examples of knowledge production that was later transferred to the betterment of the entire society.

We need to approach life with optimism and realism at the same time, with an attitude that allows us to understand what is happening to us. We’re better informed than ever, but along with that we also have enormous problems of inequality. It’s not understood how, in the midst of all of this progress there is so much poverty and 800 million people don’t even know how to read and write. But to transform the world is no simple task and universities need to promote the values appropriate to this systemic change. Part of what is happening to us today has to do with the loss of essential civil and secular values. We have been weakened, for example, in solidarity. We’ve become a selfish society, conceding too much to the value of money. Success is based on how much of it we can accumulate. We need to convey to students the wonder of knowing more, of having access to disciplines that make human beings different: art, culture, literature, poetry, science. The education system has a tremendous commitment to society as a whole, especially higher education institutions such as this university.



industrial design workshop- Ibero

talent on FOCUSING




Quality Testing in Education



DR. CARLOS MUÑOZ IZQUIERDO Dr. Carlos Muñoz Izquierdo has taught in the graduate programs at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the National Polytechnic Institute and Harvard University. He directs the Research Institute for the Development of Education at the Ibero-American University in Mexico City.

Quality testing in education has become an important tool in strengthening competitiveness in the sector and setting standards that are equivalent the world over.   Is it important that Mexico be subject to PISA, the international test for quality in education?

The success of Mexico’s exports depends largely on the country's competitiveness, and this in turn is strongly influenced by the quality of our education. It’s therefore necessary to compare this quality with that provided to residents of the northern hemisphere. It’s the only way we can measure the effort needed for our education system to meet the standards that are in force in those countries.

  What are the advantages and disadvantages of applying PISA in Mexico?

The great opportunity presented by the tests is the information that Mexico receives about the direction towards which curricula should be directed and applied at different levels of the educational system. This allows us to ensure that the quality of our education system meets specific requirements. The disadvantage is that the results can be interpreted in a severely negative way, pointing out only the defficiencies of our school system.

 Why submit the quality of Mexican education to international standards?

If these tests measured only our own standards without regard to those of the international community it would seem absurd to develop them. Mexico is not isolated from other countries. What is important is that we ensure that all students fully understand the results of the tests. That might involve translating them into or from various languages to avoid the cultural bias inherent in these international measurments. Standardized tests are necessary to ensure that the curricula are aimed at developing the skills that proved the weakest so that teachers can focus on improving these defficiencies.

  What purpose does a standardized test really serve when applied to education?

The purpose is to compare the results of education based on criteria established in the curricula, and to be able to distinguish them by comparing the learning of each student with respect to the other members of the group. Standardized tests can only help to improve the quality of education if they are properly disseminated and administered.

“The success

of Mexico’s exports depends largely on the country’s competitiveness.”

The time when a country could think of itself as an entirely separate entity is long past. Through trade, culture and all manner of exchanges, countries are increasingly interrelated, not only with the neighbors with whom they share borders but, today, with totally different countries on the far sides of the planet. The demands of globalized business and trade present new challenges for young people anxious to compete in this new international environment.


Ducation has been a priority for civilizations that hope to capitalize on their own resources and talent. Ensuring that young people, irrespective of their nationalities and the concerns of their governments, receive an education and access to a world view compatible with today’s global development is among the top priorities of many nations. The first truly international tests of academic achievement were developed in 1955, and focused on reading, math and science. Though tests today can be far more comprehensive, the same goals of quality and parity across international borders are being sought. The evaluation of education quality in Mexico is used to indicate flaws in the system and to highlight areas that need improvement. The three main educational quality exams are the PISA, EXCALE and ENLACE tests. The first is international, and the other two are domestic. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was implemented in 2000 and is administered by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) every three years. The test reflects the knowledge, skills and abilities that students must master in order to be assessed at levels ranging from “excellent” to “poor”, which represents the minimum needed by students to participate actively in most developed economies in the world. The PISA evaluates learning in the areas of reading, mathematics and scientific understanding. Successful students not only have proper knowledge on these fields, but comprehend them thoroughly and know how to

BETWEEN 2006 AND 2009



STUDENTS went from failing marks to levels of

“Good” and “Excellent.” PUBLIC MIDDLE SCHOOL number 3

use them as a tool in the real world. The PISA is continually redeveloped to respond to changes in the international environment. In 2003, the PISA added a “problem solving” section to further analyze the level of comprehension and the students’ ability to apply it. Each student completes a two hour written test consisting of both open questions and multiple choice questions. In total, students spend six and a half hours reviewing material, and completing a personal questionnaire about themselves, their background and family situations.

The first truly international tests of academic achievement were developed in 1955, and focused on reading, math and science. In 2009, 65 countries participated in this program. In Latin America, the PISA test was administered in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Colombia. The educational situation in Mexico is not ideal. The challenge has been to develop solid programs to improve educational results across the board. As part of this effort, the Quality and Educational Achievement Test (EXCALE), designed in 2002 by the National Institute for Educational Evaluation (INEE) has been administered to students. The test is designed to measure achievements in basic education. Applied every four years, the results of the EXCALE tests allow an analysis of student achievement in math, Spanish language and natural and social sciences.

The same happened in mathematics, where


students between 3rd and 6th grade obtained “good” and “excellent” results Similar concerns are reflected in most of Latin America. As in Mexico, institutions dedicated to improving the educational level have arisen. Among these are the International Institute for Educational Planning in Argentina and the Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas Educacionais in Brazil. Another major effort in Mexico has been the National Evaluation of Academic Performance of Schools (ENLACE), which is administered under the auspices of the National Educational System, and which has been implemented since 2006. ENLACE tests are standardized and applied annually, census-style, to provide an individual diagnosis of the education level of each student. Aimed at students of basic and upper secondary level, ENLACE tests are given in both public and private schools, and evaluate knowledge in the areas of math and Spanish language. They indicate the extent to which young people can implement the lessons learned. These tests have shown substantial progress. Between 2006 and 2009, in the Spanish language area, 1.1 million students went from failing marks to levels of “Good” and “Excellent.” The same happened in mathematics, where 1.3 million students between 3rd and 6th grade obtained “good” and “excellent” results. Over the same period, between 2006 and 2009 in the area of mathematics, levels of “insufficient” and “elementary” for high school students decreased by 5.2 percentage points. Although Mexico City has the highest rate of “good” and “excellent” results in the country, it is also clear that there are still many challenges. The need for continued progress, in the medium term, is evident because an educated population is the engine that mobilizes and promotes urban, cultural, and social development.


Point of View


dr. BLANCA HEREDIA rubio Dr. Blanca Heredia Rubio was appointed Director of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2007. Until recently, she was Commissioner of the Political Development Unit of the Department of the Interior.

Mexico has the highest spending on education amongst OECD members, but the link between public investment in this sector, quality in education, and employment possibilities still exposes serious inconsistencies.  Has there been progress in education in Mexico City over the past 50 years?

The population has grown a lot. Meeting the educational needs of the population and this very powerful and dynamic demographic has involved a major effort. In terms of reach, the challenge has been met with some important victories. The whole primary education has been covered, but there are still shortcomings at high school and university levels. Among OECD members, Mexico has the highest spending on education, whether measured as a proportion of gross national product, total wealth generated, or as a percentage of total public expenditure. Still, there remain major deficiencies to be overcome in education quality.

 Why is it that advances in coverage and in educational spending have not driven categorical economic growth?

There are indicators suggesting that education is a factor that drives the country's economic growth, others suggest that what happens is the opposite: it is the economy that drives education. Under either hypothesis, it is not a quantitative investment in education that determines the productive possibilities that a person can achieve but the quality of education. It is this second factor which makes education profitable, generat-

“Talent in soccer, like

talent in mathematics and in creativity, is much better distributed than income.”

ing wealth - more academic positions, more widgets, more software programs, per unit of time - and better opportunities. This presupposes a big problem for the country: both the statistics obtained by the OECD's PISA program, as well as those acquired through national tests like ENLACE, reveal that Mexico has serious problems in educational quality. It’s well known that about 50% of students are below the minimum acceptable standard for academic progress. And those results are not attributable to insufficient spending. The problem is that money is invested in the physical improvement of space and not in the quality of education as such. Here we can find a primary explanation for the small economic growth of the country over the last 30 years. If the economy is weak

and generates little employment, if education does not assure a better job, then the incentives for young people to invest their time and energy studying are definitely weakened. That is the causal link that is not working efficiently. We’re turning in a vicious circle.

 By this logic, would an improvement in the quality of education suffice to boost economic growth? My hypothesis is that there is a serious factor that negatively influences the ability of the investment in education to convert to a higher economic growth, irrespective of quality. In Mexico, for a complex set of reasons, merit doesn’t pay. Social origin is more important here than in other countries and it conditions perspectives on de-

EDUC ATION velopment and professional expectations. Between the 1940s and the 1970s, thanks to the country's economic growth, this situation receded. Talent and effort began to be taken into account. New jobs opened and that helped to ease the dynamics of social mobility. Climbing the employment hierarchy became a lot easier. When the crises hit in the 80s and 90s, the fate of every Mexican revolved around who their parents were and how they were positioned in the social landscape. The situation of those years, like in the current one, dictates that the most important factor when it comes to access to excellent education and good jobs is one’s origin. Ability and talent have little to do with it. In the macro view, this rigid social stratification generates an unfavorable situation for economic growth. Those who come from disadvantaged socioeconomic situations are really not likely to develop or improve their income.

 What is happening to talented people in Mexico? The best of them, the most talented, responsible and capable, are leaving the country because the situation limits them. These are people who won’t conform with the situation here. They aspire to more and won’t rely on the opportunities for growth offered in Mexico. Others have joined the ranks of the informal economy and, unfortunately, some of them are involved in criminal activities.

 If we want education to become a catalyst for economic growth, where should we focus our attention? My opinion is that we should be taking appropriate actions to see that the money spent on education is not falling into a bottomless pit, by solving other problems first. Among them, undoubtedly, is the structural socioeconomic relationship that I’ve al-


ready put forward, in which merits won’t get you very far. We’re integrated into an international economy that exalts the idea of talent. As a society, we enter this game lacking the mechanisms to discover and promote outstanding individuals. The fact that we’re recruiting talent based on income, besides being incredibly unfair, is also shooting ourselves in the foot. It is as if we were looking for the most talented soccer players only at expensive schools. Talent in soccer, like talent in mathematics and creativity, is much better distributed than income.

 How can we begin to link that talent with the business world? We have to think of how are we going to link the educational system with the workforce. The disconnection between both is a serious matter. We have a productive sector with a range of needs on one hand and, on the other, an educational system that does not correct the prevailing incentive structure. Almost 50% of the people enrolled in university education are in administration and social sciences, but this country needs engineers, for example. It is understandable that education is not only there to train a workforce, but at the same time, an educational system that ignores whether or not its alumni can later get a job is doomed to self-destruction.

 How can we achieve a healthy relationship between the two sides?

There must be an extended investigation into the needs of employers and what kind of people they seek at the time of labor recruitment. Then we have to promote programs in which companies commit to hiring a certain number of graduates who meet the requirements previously established. There is work to be done in the areas of communication to improve the channels and the information systems. Often

Among OECD members, Mexico has the highest spending on education, whether measured as a proportion of gross national product, total wealth generated or as a percentage of total public expenditure. enough, Mexican companies rely on foreign suppliers and labor because they’re not aware of the existence of Mexican resources that could meet their needs. Awareness of what’s happening in the universities needs to grow. Such initiatives should come from both public and private sectors. The government cannot sustain all these development programs on its own.

 Is it important for Mexico City to work hand in hand with international agencies to plan and achieve education goals?

International experience, knowledge and expertise are essential. I believe, without a doubt, that without clarity on what we want to achieve, it is difficult for anyone else to help us out. In the concrete example of Mexico City, we have a concentration of human capital and knowledge that could be far more productive than it is. But we’re not able to articulate a focal point of knowledge or human capital at the highest levels for the entire city in every sector. We have to map our strengths and create a strategy to build on those strengths. We need to make an assertive bet at the sector level in order to improve.


In the new knowledge economies, technology will be The aim of these models of innovation is to use technology to develop used by educators as a tool to expand the effective- cutting-edge educational methodologies to link academic training with the ness and reach of every educational initiative. Applica- real challenges of business and industry. This goal can only be achieved tions to serve this sector will be more finely atunned by developing Mexican talent to compete with international standards. to today’s needs. New didactic models are being develEducation and Digital Culture oped and put to practice with exciting results.


n Mexico City these efforts have become a reality. One example is the Technological Institute of Telephones of Mexico for Information Technology (INTTELMEX IT), which opened in May, 2010. In its first year, the institute aims to train 1,000 professionals ready to conceive, and then develop technological solutions that meet the production needs of the country. The institute stresses the importance of an effort like this: “New technologies, especially those related to connectivity and software development, help to create alternatives that change the economy more efficiently and without requiring a large capital investment. The fundamental capital is intellectual.”

To build a strong knowledge-based economy in Mexico City, technological innovations are necessary at every socioeconomic stratum of the city. According to the institute, there is a paradigm shift in the world economy, a change that allows, for the first time in history, large masses of people, without much physical capital to have access to progress and development. Training anyone interested gives them the encouragement to bring original ideas to life and to achieve a parity with global standards. This is not only the work of the Department of Public Education, but also of the private sector. Businesses benefit by investing, through their foundations, in the development of professionals fully trained in the digital culture, who, in the short term, can integrate their forces into technology-based Mexican companies. The Program for Education and Digital Culture of the Carlos Slim Foundation and Telmex is one good example of the public-private partnership in action. The program reproduces procedures developed at the Media Lab at MIT, pioneers in the field of childhood education in computing and robotics.

  Staying in School


CLASSROOM INTTELMEX IT- Historic Center INTTELMEX IT offers training and a certification in Information Technology and Communication (TICs) at the level of expertise. The studies are supported by the Department of Public Education (SEP) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The value of an institution like this is tremendous because it allows professionals interested in these crucial areas to train in Mexico, focusing on national needs. The institute emphasizes the need to keep Mexican professionals from leaving the country by giving them a way to improve their lives.

ne of the major educational challenges across the country remains convincing students to stay in school rather than seek employment while still young out of basic budgetary necessity. To this end, private initiatives to financially encourage good students to continue studying are of the utmost importance. There are currently several foundations that support youth education and encourage higher education. The Telmex Foundation was created in 1995, starting activities in 1996, and it has provided scholarships to 222,737 students from across the country. Almost half of the total, 103,019, have been residents of the Federal District. The scholarships consist of financial support to qualified students in public and private universities. Scholars are also awarded computers with Internet access and optional courses and activities to support them in essential development areas. These initiatives also aim to expand the program coverage into education. Some of the new efforts include the program of early education and training, designed to train childcare workers. Generally, those who care for children are trained in hygiene and safety, but not in cerebral development, in the way children develop through cognitive stimuli. Telmex is commited to this task.

  casas tELMEX


asas Telmex are a comprehensive educational development space devoted to the education of children, youth, teachers and parents on subjects as diverse as science and technology, universal values and aesthetic appreciation. Advanced teaching practices are designed to complement school education and to promote technological understanding and use across the country. A total of 13 Casas Telmex, including five in the Federal District and the greater metropolitan area, provide educational services free of charge in areas with limited economic resources. In the metropolitan area, 1,018 computers and related equipment have benefitted 12,566 people. All Casas Telmex include fully outfitted computer labs, study areas and multiple purpose rooms, as well as textbooks, digital microscopes, educational toys, robots programmed for children, safe internet access, and challenging educational games.

  Aula digital tELMEX


he Aula Digital program of Telmex was conceived as a space for innovative teaching practices and learning that combines educational content with digital technologies. The training of both students and teachers is optimized through the use of equipment donated by the Telmex Foundation. Fifteen digital classrooms equipped with 1,171 computers are currently available in greater Mexico City. Operating within primary and preparatory schools, the classrooms are available to 104,518 students and teachers.

  Biblioteca

digital TELMEX The Telmex Foundation has provided scholarships to


he Biblioteca Digital program of Telmex is an attempt to better bridge the digital divide through a major influx of equipment. 80,000 “XO” and “Classmate” child-proof computers that use little energy and a very creative digital library software are being distributed. Students can take these laptops home, like conventional library books, and access a myriad of titles of information. In Mexico City and the greater metropolitan area, 73 educational campuses provide the Telmex digital libraries service. To date, they have delivered 7,803 devices in all 16 boroughs of the city to 49,397 students, teachers and parents.

222,737 students from across the country since 1996.

103,019 of these, almost half of the total, have been residents of

the Federal District. ROBOT PROGRAMMED FOR CHILDREN- Casa Telmex




who wants





Cardiologue of hospital centro XXI


Point of View

Civil Society

FERNANDO MEJÍA BOTERO Fernando Mejía Botero is professor at the UNAM. He currently directs the Center for Educational Studies (CEE), a nonprofit academic organization that pursues justice, freedom and democracy through education, particularly targeted at the most disadvantaged populations.

While it is true that Mexico City has made significant progress in educational reach, there are great challenges ahead in terms of differentiating attention in accordance to the needs of heterogeneous populations. Scholarly education presupposes much more than a process of making people literate.

“In the city we are presented with situations were values, skills and aptitudes can be learned. It is an for experimentation.”

ideal space

How can we take advantage of the     To what extent do you think that the city as an inherent educator? government has pursued the issue of Values, skills and aptitudes are learned education? through interaction in the city. In this space, everyday, we are presented with situations where these can be enacted and corresponded by other interlocutors. If education is to give people the tools to steer themselves and their communities in an improved direction, what better place to experiment than the city itself. I believe we could use it more intentionally and consciously as a space for education.

A clear stance was taken when the local Department of Education was created, in this administration. Before it was only from a federal perspective that education in the city was being addressed, because it is the Federal Government that allocates resources to the city in this area. But since then, the issues of equity, quality, supply and demand in education have been integrated into the discourse of the city’s authorities.

In the first half of this presidential term the purpose was to standardize the upper secondary education which is not systematic enough. Pedagogical and curricular definitions were very loose, with each institution subscribing to whichever one they saw fit. And behind all of the specific approaches, the institutions were left with a collection of isolated elements and independently assessed competencies. The intention has been to establish basic skill standards that are common to all institutions.



A market mechanism for managing education is flawed and creates exclusion. it is essential to have checks and balances in place.     ¿What is the educational balance between supply and demand in the city? The number of schools is connected with the size of the population and in this sense, the city is well equipped. The level of schooling in underserved areas is much higher today than it was some years ago. But the demand concentrates on the few schools that most people want to attend. These schools are very select and plenty of students will not get into them, which affects the entire city.

    What determines the quality of education that young people are receiving? If you scrutinize the history of education, you realize that the alleged educational quality of different high schools is not so much determined by the curriculum and the teacher as by the educational history of the students. Quality is subject to model selection. For example, in high schools that have a fast track to the National Auton-

omous University of Mexico (UNAM), there’s a high degree of selectivity. But this is not the case in private schools because, with tuition being so high, they’re only available to a certain sector of the population that doesn’t necessarily have extraordinary abilities but that somehow has very high cultural and social capital that the teachers can then enhance.

    Is there a willingness of public universities to cooperate or work with private schools?

The reality is that public universities with a reputation, like the IPN, the UAM and the UNAM, have no need to coordinate with private institutions because their institutional life is already covered for. It will only be in the name of a greater good, which has still to be identified and acknowledged, that all universities will be interested in coming together and finding common ground between them.

    What are the major challenges facing education in the city?

Through the support of organizations like UNESCO and the Fast Track Initiative that make basic education a priority in public policy, the city has managed to cover basic education. Now the problem is secondary education and high dropout rates. These are attributable to low intensity schools that fail to capture the attention of students. The challenge is to reform the educational system so that it’s actually attractive to young people.

    What role has Civil Society played in the field of education?

A market mechanism for managing education is flawed and creates a lot of exclusion. All the players in education need to participate with a clear focus on the issue of education to ensure that quality and equity goals are met. But while it’s a fact that having more players is essential to generating the checks and balances, to constrain the weight of all participants and to generate synergies, dialogue, and cooperation, all at the same time, civil society has still to decide whether to participate intensively in decision making on educational matters. The sector is particularly complicated, controversial, and expensive.

A Space for

continual learning 94 the papalote museum

“Not Touching Prohibited.” This could be the motto for children’s museums around the world, which “touch upon” the most basic of human learning processes: curiosity. The engine that drives children to find out how and why, to inquire and to try to understand the world in which they find themselves. Learning through free interaction dates to 1899 with the opening of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in New York. This was the first museum entirely designed for the comprehensive education of children, a free space to play, run, and research.


hree lines of thinking govern the kind of learning you will experience in a children’s museum. The glass barriers that often exist in museums - for adults and kids - are broken. Interaction and learning through play are the name of the game, and knowing through more than just books and papers but through the whole body, through experimentation and environmental immersion is what the interactive experience is all about. Since the first half of the twentieth century, the world has come to accept interactive museums as an important supplement to traditional children education. Strong investment in this area has, likewise, been a focus in Mexico City. El Papalote Museo del Niño, a children-oriented museum located in the city’s central Chapultepec Park, and housed in a building designed by the architect Ricardo Legorreta, was opened in 1993. The objective, then and now, is to provide children and their families with a place to interact with science, technology, and art. The museum revolves around five central themes: Self, Communication, Belonging, Understanding, and Expression. Children can learn about their environments and social responsibility and explore their creative abilities. The museum is directed by Marinela Servitje, who commented: “The Papalote tries to let children better understand their environments and to present them with new technologies.” Since its opening day, the Papalote museum has received more than 37 million visitors. One of the most successful children’s museum is the Nemo, opened in the Netherlands in 1997. More than 400,000 people visited it in 2008. Visitors receive a comprehensive, but friendly introduction to the world of science, based on tactile experimentation. The Papalote, like the Nemo, aims to inspire rather than teach and therein lies its success. This iniciatives are attractive as an intelectual capital investment that promotes educational innovation.

The foundation of the educational philosophy at the Papalote is based in the theory of multiple intelligences proposed by the American psychologist and Harvard professor Howard Gardener, who suggested that all forms of intelligence and abilities need to be explored. Activities at the museum focus on interactive educational exhibits, strong group participation and the implementation of themes relating to everyday life. Individual projects such as those at the Papalote museum have attracted significant private equity investments to the city. The museum’s 2001 renovation was supported by donations of US$ 11 million from more than 200 sponsoring companies. While the museum started out with a 1993 budget of US$3.5 million, ten years later the budget had grown to more than US$11 million. The evolution of the Papalote has resulted in a model that incorporates Mexican culture into all of the museum’s practices. Servitje continued, “We’re a museum with Mexican roots, and that’s our most valuable feature.” Two organizations continue to set the pace in alternative educational resources around the world, the Association of Children’s Museums and Hands On! Europe. The Papalote is the only museum in Mexico that is a member of both organizations. Hands On! Europe, established in 1994, consults with museums that focus on childhood education, and currently has 126 member organizations but only two in Latin America, the Papalote and another in Brazil.

The Papalote museum is an intellectual capital investment that promotes educational innovation. The Association of Children’s Museums, founded in 1962, lists 524 member organizations in 22 countries. In the association’s words, the alternative education of children has a direct impact on improving the quality of life for city dwellers, besides being a tourist attraction that can drive development. More than 30 million people around the world visit these children’s museum annually. The Papalote museum’s record is 7,031 visitors in a single day. Servitje continued, “We’re an inclusive museum, and through a number of initiatives, we’ve taken the Papalote model to 27 Mexican states and one


The museum’s 2001




SPONSORING “EXPRESSION” room- Papalote Children´s Museum


million indigenous children.” The Public School Sponsorship Program and the Papalote Mobile Project have taken their educational vision across the country. Among other internationally recognized interactive museums in the city is the Universum, the Science Museum of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the first of its kind anywhere in Latin America. Located in the ecological reserve of the Pedregal de San Ángel within Mexico City, the museum features a dedicated space for children and focuses on objects and phenomena related to science. Courses for children include a wide variety of science workshops such as one on fossil fish, on the structure of viruses, and an extended workshop on biodiversity. The MIDE, the Interactive Museum of Economics, under the direction of Silvia Singer Sochet, seeks to further disseminate the science of economics, and to promote financial education for the whole country. Visitors no longer see the economy as “alien and cold” but understand the role that it plays in their daily lives. Visitors print their own currency and carry credit cards to learn the importance of credit and savings, and they can step into the shoes of a banker, or discover the importance of supply and demand in the simulated market place. In 2007, the American Association of Museums awarded the museum its Gold Muse Award for the market simulator exhibit and, in the same year, the National Institute of Anthropology recognized the museum with the Miguel Covarrubias National Prize for Best Museum Design and Planning. Continuing and alternative education in Mexico City occurs also outside the classroom. Children are encouraged to experiment and to learn through play. The focus of both investment and community development, not to mention education, interactive museums reward inhabitants of the city and visitors alike.

“BELONGING” room- Papalote Children´s Museum

“understandING” room- Papalote Children´s Museum


Enciclomedia 96

Technological developments in education have been an important driver of

both knowledge and the economies of cities all over the world. From the time of the abacus, first used between 2700 and 2300 BC in the ancient Sumerian culture, to later versions of the mechanical calculator, technology has made incredible strides towards enabling students to learn more and better.


n Mexico, one of the first steps oriented towards technological education was the launch of the Telesecundaria distance education program, which provided teaching via television. The goal was to provide the most vulnerable groups of the country with a secondary education through the use of then new and exciting technology. The original model has been updated over time and by 2012 all classrooms of this kind in Mexico are expected to be equipped with updated information technology and communication platforms among the most advanced in the world. Enciclomedia is the newest and most ambitious project developed for primary schools, designed to encourage dialogue between teachers and students through participatory processes of learning. Students base their work, research, information analysis and developing conclusions on data available through educational software presented on an interactive blackboard. A pedagogical tool that presents more than digitized text books, Enciclomedia includes enriched information that allows both student and teacher to better interact with topics through a technological interface. In a full-fledged electronic learning environment, Enciclomedia relies on collaboration between students, teacher, and the database. Information is presented in context and dynamicaly. Any concept or lesson not understood immediately can be explored quickly and in more depth than was possible before this technology. The great virtue of the program is that it lays out topics in such a way that the information is contextualized for a multidisciplinary world. The contents of all the subjects are interwoven and can be explored according to the concerns of students. Hypertext allows them to jump from one topic to another without requiring a classroom full of expensive educational materials. For students without other access to computers, the system also offers an exciting first foray into new technologies. It is from the dialogue between different actors in education that the Enciclomedia project grew. An experimental model was first designed at the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT). As the project took shape, it was joined in turn by the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology, the National Pedagogic University, the National Polytechnic Institute, the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the Federal Department of Public Education (SEP). Under the direction of the SEP, the program began operations in 2004 and has served to fulfill its main objective: providing better quality education in public schools. In the school year 2004-2005, 21,434 classrooms were fitted with the system, serving a student body of more than 685,000. In schools with limited equipment, Enciclomedia serves as a library and a data base of teaching materials. It provides textbooks and

when an Internet connection is available it can link to the topics being addressed in the fifth and sixth grades. In the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years more than 150,000 classrooms and 2,048 public libraries were included into Enciclomedia. Enciclomedia is installed in the main memory of a computer hard drive for each school and it does not forcefully require an Internet connection. The complete system includes a computer, a projector, an interactive blackboard, electronic markers, a printer, a pair of speakers, and some limited wiring. Encliclomedia includes both student and teacher interfaces. Students access 13 text books that preserve the basic structure of printed books, but offer the advantage of linking to supporting material. On the teachers’ side, in addition to the standard curriculum and lesson plans for each subject, are suggestions on better addressing the contents of books, and a supplementary section with maps and similar materials for use in class. 1,230 activities are also included to complement lessons. All of the resources can also be printed for take-home or out-of-class use. Enciclomedia’s multimedia information base allows teachers to organize, plan and improve their teaching with interactive and audio presentations, 1,676 images and videos, 57 audiobooks, and 366 thematic diagrams. All of this, ultimately, helps to transform this raw information into a deeper form of understanding.

The Ascot Education Center was one of the first private schools to implement the Enciclomedia system. Silvia Mercado, public school teacher: “The course they gave us on Enciclomedia was really interesting. Looking for the meaning of a word not only gives you the dictionary definition, but an audio-visual image too. Students can manipulate information and that really helps their cognitive processes. Enciclomedia includes a course on literature and I’ve had students so enamored by the stories that they go and buy the book. And on issues like sex education, Enciclomedia has been a great educational tool in helping to dispel taboos and treating delicate topics deliberately and scientifically.”

The Enciclomedia interactive learning experience Enciclomedia aims to introduce children to skills that go beyond the specific lessons that are being taught. New technologies are put at their disposal from an early age, encouraging students’ technical savvy and interactive learning. What’s required: 1 A computer 2 A projector 3 An interactive digital blackboard 4 Electronic markers 5 A printer 6 A pair of speakers 7 Electrical cable

Children and educators can use their fingers or the electronic markers on the Enciclomedia blackboard.



Voice, video and data components provide a comprehensive supplement to every subject.




In addition to 13 text books, Enciclomedia includes 1,230 activities, 1,676 images, 56 audio books and 366 diagrams.


1 SOURCE: SEP and Enciclomedia Program.


The figures after five years of using Enciclomedia:

79% 54%

70% 52% 45%


Mariana, sixth grade: “Enciclomedia lets you learn more if you’re interested in a topic. You get to find out more and one piece of information leads to another. It’s fun. The subjects I like to study most through Enciclomedia are Natural History and Science.”



nciclomedia has faced some implementation problems. David Calderón, General Director of Mexicanos Primero, a concerned citizens initiative aiming at transforming the country through education, described some of the pitfalls that Enciclomedia went through: “To work, the system requires a very refined and efficient logistics network. It was naive to assume that it could be built in a short time. Where they’ve implement it correctly it has been a wonder. But in some places it has been an abject failure, as they arrived to put electronic blackboards in schools where there was no electricity and the boards hung there for two years before power was installed. The boards were ruined, the service contracts expired, and the first time they were plugged in they broke.”

Mexico City, May 2010

DR. Sergio Alcocer Secretary-General of the National Autonomous University of Mexico


uring the last two decades, the debate on the future of higher education has raged almost everywhere in the world. Whether in Mexico, the United States, France, India, or China, countries with different histories, societies, and ideologies, the subject of education sometimes divides us, but in most cases people are united in acknowledging that it is one of the key issues of our times. The debate nearly always highlights a discussion over the role that public education is to fulfill in a globalized economy. In many cases public education is merely intended to provide an adequate income in the shortest time to as many people as possible. In only a few cases can public education be said to be intended to achieve a strong mobility for the underprivileged, much less toward galvanizing solidarity among our communities. The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has said, time and again, that in a country like Mexico, in a city like Mexico City, with such an heterogeneous population, public higher education of quality and relevance is the solution that needs to be put forward. Mexico has benefited throughout its history by advances in education, especially in higher education. In effect, we have permitted an ever-increasing percentage of the population to be educated, coached, and trained, so that as citizens, they can take on a greater level of commitment. And in all of these areas, Mexico City has played a central role. Being the capital of the region in



Aztec times, during the Colonial Era and after its Independence, for almost 690 years, Mexico City has concentrated a significant part of its economic activities on education and culture. Heir to such a tradition, Mexico City must redouble its efforts to provide institutions of higher education of international excellence. These universities (using the generic name) should be those with world-class academics and facilities, so that they can train and educate citizens who can be placed favorably into a globalized economy. They require an environment and infrastructure to facilitate the discussion of ideas and the generation of knowledge. To count on the best academics also means, always, to invest in ourselves. Let us remember Valentín Gómez Farías who, in 1833, inspired by José María Luis Mora, enacted in Mexico City the very first educational reform. This reform sought to replace what was essentially a religiously based educational system, to promote science and to open education to progress. Today, we need a new reform which places the students and the teachers at the center of the spotlight. We need to produce global citizens trained to confront truly longterm problems. Such a reform should not renounce the revolutionary and ideological foundations of our educational system. Let us not forget the difficult times experienced by the system durDR. sergio alcocer received ing the continuous changes of governhis degree in Civil Engineering ment in the country as well as the war from the unam and a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from against the United States in 1846-1848 the University of Texas. Former and the French invasion of 1862-1867. Director of Research at the National Center for Disaster By the year 1867, the commission then Prevention, alcocer is a member of headed by Gabino Barrera was finally the National Researchers System, president of the Mexican Society able to introduce the organic law of pubof Structural Engineering and lic instruction. This reform established Secretary-General of the national autonomous university of mexico. universal, free, and mandatory primary schools across the country.



“The UNAM is committed to building a sustainable model of development, with prominent health, water and energy systems.”

During the presidency of Porfirio Díaz, the National Law School and the teacher training academies in Guadalajara, Puebla, and Jalapa were founded. Likewise, the National Geological Institute and the National Medical Institute were established. Later came the National University of Mexico in Mexico City. According to its founder, Justo Sierra, the University would become the institution that finally turned its back on traditionalism. “It will only look to the future” and it would become “the crown jewel of the system of national education.” On September 22, 1910, a very solemn opening ceremony of the University was held. Years later, in 1929, the National University became “autonomous,” as it is to this day, reaffirming its free, sovereign, and secular character. Since then, demand for higher education has grown along with the population and higher education institutions today are needed everywhere in the country. The academic life of the UNAM is governed by collegial bodies who have both a written mandate and a great deal of flexibility. Professors and students enjoy freedom of education, speech and thought which uniquely enriches student life across the campus. The UNAM is a pioneer in scientific and humanities research. Within these walls, a third of all the research carried out nationwide is performed and a good part of that is oriented towards solutions to problems in Mexico City, among them issues like energy, climate change, water, immigration, and poverty. The UNAM also has a presence in practically every Mexican state. We have offices in several cities abroad and we share 465 study plans and curricula with 308 educational institutions worldwide. The UNAM also acts as a repository for national institutions like the National Library and the Newspaper Archive, the National



Observatory, the National Seismic System, the National Herbarium, several national biological collections and four natural reserves. The UNAM’s presence in Mexico City, the national capital, helps to make it into one of the premier centers for the development of knowledge in the world. But simply based on the size of the population, the city faces challenges in meeting the increased demand for relevant, high quality education that will allow Mexico City to compete internationally. Looking only at the issue of availability, everyone is aware of the need to increase university reach so that any student who demonstrates skills and ability is able to pursue higher education. We can only meet that demand if the country as a whole recognizes and accepts education as an issue of strategic, long-term interest. An extensive discussion of the model of a proper system in Mexico needs to take place. Moving from being a low-wage manufacturing and services economy to being an innovative global economy can only happen through education. Only when the Mexican people recognize it as one of the cornerstones of our future, will we be able to move forward and develop further. I am convinced that Mexico cannot and must not abandon public education, but I am also clear about the role played by private institutions of higher learning. Private education must be of equally high quality and not merely a means for a few to further enrich themselves and make business connections. The UNAM is committed to building a sustainable model of development, with prominent health, water, and energy systems. But above all, we are committed to promoting a strong higher education system that conducts substantive work training professionals and researchers, generates and applies knowledge, and extends and preserves culture. A model that promotes equity and that is compatible with international standards. This will ultimately contribute to the construction of social peace and welfare within a framework of freedom, justice, and solidarity.


The NiĂą@s Talento program supports young students

of exceptional talent who live in the city. Over 120,000 children have received financial backing through the program.

The National Autonomous





of Mexico ranked among the best Universities

in the world,

along with Harvard, Oxford and Fudan University in China.

in basic education.

Among OECD members, Mexico has the highest spending on education, whether measured as a proportion of gross national product, total wealth generated, or as a percentage of total public expenditure.

–Blanca Heredia

There are currently more than 2,000 Aulas Digitales with broadband computers in public primary schools. The digital classrooms program aims to prevent a digital gap in student performance.


15.72 is The cost per year

to study at uNAM. Thus, a degree costS about US$78.62. Every year more than


young people finish their undergraduate education, in 85 different




As of late 2009,

the number of students enrolled in PrepA sĂ­ was

150,000 classrooms

2,048 public


236,426 of whom 50.2% were women Through the program they were able to continue studying at the upper secondary level.

Enciclomedia is a pedagogical tool implemented in primary schools through which free text books have been digitized. Enriched information allows both student and teacher to interact with information through a technological interface. More than 150,000 classrooms and 2,048 public libraries have been fitted with the system.

The ideal age

to start college: in Mexico, some 9.8 million people are presently aged between 19 and 23 years. –Mario Delgado

Its rhythm I S M A R K E D BY I T S O W N U R GE N C Y

Veracruz Street

CONDESA neighborhood


m The best-kept secret in the city is kept warm inside a basket and served with salsa and spring onions.

Paula Astorga is a

filmmaker and former director of

the FICCO film festival. She currently directs the national film archive.


Mexico City moves to an energy generated by those who live there. It is always transforming and recycling itself. Its rhythm is marked by its own urgency. The coming and going of people in the street is what inspires me. I like the idea that behind every gesture there is a life I know nothing about. That’s how I start to invent other people’s histories, and create different worlds for them. I work with cinema and with the possibility of seeing our own lives reflected in it. I’m surprised by the perpetual haste of the city, its occasional pauses, and every one of its corners overwhelms me with the possibilities of experience.

Mexico City is the epicenter of health care in the country and one of the most important centers of health in all of Latin America. Home to a majority of noteworthy public and private hospitals and to the most prestigious institutes offering medical attention, highly specialized scientific research and teaching, the capital city’s health infrastructure, quality of care, popularity of medical programs offered and advances in the engineering of universal health for all residents have placed the Mexican health care system among the most comprehensive in the world.









 INTERVIEW with Dr. Enrique Graue, P.114

Director of the Department of Medicine at the UNAM


NATIONAL INSTITUTES of Health P.116 BIOETHICS and the City P.118 INTERVIEW with Dr. Armando Ahued, P.121


Secretary of the city’s Department of Health

Points of View Academia Government Private Sector Civil Society

UNIVERSAL HEALTH P.124 INTERVIEW with Klaus Boker, P.126

Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABC Hospitals

SMOKE-FREE PUBLIC SPACES P.128 MEDICAL TOURISM P.132 CREATING a Culture of Donation P.134 HEALTH PROGRAMS P.136 INTERVIEW with Dr. Mercedes Juan López, P.137

President of the Mexican Health Foundation


P.140 P.144 P.148





Mexico City

is the center of the health care industry in Mexico and in Latin America as a whole. In terms of treatment, scientific research and teaching, the scope of the field is very broad.

The city is home to an extensive network of public hospitals and a significant number of privately operated health care institutions. The local Department of Health runs a system of 28 hospitals (nine general, ten pediatric, eight of maternity and one of specialties). Another 20 are managed by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), along with 30 belonging to the State Employees Institute of Security and Social Services (ISSSTE), notably the 20 de Noviembre National Medical Center. Health services offered by IMSS and ISSSTE are central pillars in the social security system and attend affiliated employees and their immediate families without charge. Mexico City residents who fall outside of this coverage can now rely on the Seguro Popular, a universal insurance policy, established by the federal government, which covers health check-ups and medicine for citizens who lack other medical services. Hundred percent access to health care in the city is the goal. At the same time, some of the most important private hospital complexes in Latin America are to be found in Mexico City. Grupo テ]geles facilities stand out for their geographical reach, with locations all over


A big health complex of world class services

Mexico City-South Medical Complex



16 0






Texas Medical Center, Houston



11,850 (47.95)



1,000 (4.04)




Acres (km2)

Territorial extension

Source: Felipe Ochoa y Asociados Consultores 2009.


Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City

10.6 (0.04)



the city. Also of the highest quality is Médica Sur, a hospital founded by specialists from the National Institute of Nutrition. Another prominent provider of private medicine is Hospital ABC, with a non-profit organizational structure, and well known for providing excellent service. But dominating the city’s health care skyline are the National Institutes of Health, which efficiently treat patients, perform scientific research and train new specialists in 12 of the most challenging fields of medicine. National in scope, the location of the Institutes in the capital has influenced every aspect of medical practice in the city. The National Institutes of Health also work hand-in-hand with the country’s foremost medical schools. The vast majority of all of medical specialists in Mexico and Latin America are trained in Mexico City, in one of these institutes. The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City is the leading educator of specialized doctors in all Latin America. It is currently training 9,000 doctors in different areas of medicine. The Mexican capital is also at the vanguard of medical research in Latin America. The National Institutes of Health and the three principal universities located in the city - the UNAM, the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) and the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) make a significant and increasing number of contributions to specialized medical journals. In 2006, for example, Mexican research into the rotavirus won recognition after being awarded the “Article of the Year” prize by The Lancet magazine, selected from among 700,000 articles. Challenges for the upcoming decade include developing Campus Biometrópolis, a “health care city” in the south of the metropolitan area, which will also lend to the ambitious objective of positioning the city on the cutting edge of biomedical research.


Point of View


Dr. Enrique Graue Director of the Faculty of Medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Dr. Graue is an ophthalmologist who specializes in cornea treatment and in external diseases.

With 16,000 students, the unam’s faculty of Medicine is the premier supplier of the country’s doctors. the UNAM also trains specialists from all over Latin America, principally through the National Institutes of Health.  Tell us about the Faculty - the most important school of medicine in the country - and the city’s tradition of training doctors.

The Department of Medicine at the UNAM is the largest in the country if not in Latin America. We have 7,000 undergraduate students and 9,000 postgraduates. We’re the only school with many more students at postgraduate than at undergraduate level. The medical school has been training doctors for 431 years, since the period when Mexico was a Spanish viceroyalty. On October 23 1833, the grand, modern plan of studies was initiated at the behest of President Gómez Farías. This is why we still celebrate Doctors’ Day on that date. Mexico City has a great tradition of training in the medical field. The most important centers of medicine in the country are to be found here. The cities of Monterrey

and Guadalajara have grown notably in this respect, as have a few other places in Mexico, but none can be compared with the medical and scientific infrastructure of the city. Medicine in the capital remains of the highest quality to be found anywhere in the country. Very few people are not covered by either the city’s Department of Health, the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) or the State Employees Institute of Security and Social Services (ISSSTE). The Federal District has close to 100% coverage.

 How does Mexico City compare to other Latin American cities when it comes to medical attention? Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires are probably the only two other cities in Latin America that have considerable bearing in terms of health care. I know both of these

“The Faculty of Medicine has been training doctors for

431 years” years.”

HE ALTH cities well. The Brazilian system has improved the level of medical attention they’re able to offer in the last 15 years, but like us, they can be over-centralized and unbalanced.

 What percentage of medical students in Mexico City come from other countries?

It should be pointed out that a majority of Latin American doctors are trained in Mexico City. At the undergraduate level the percentage of foreign students is still low, but when you get into specialized medicine, we’re receiving students from all over the world. For every 2,000 who enroll, 300 are from abroad, about 15%. We have students from Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia, but the greatest presence is from Latin America.

 With such a large number of students (currently 16,000) how do you maintain quality standards in terms of academic staff and graduates?

There’s a long tradition at the undergraduate level. Every subject area is addressed by an academic team that defines the objectives and competence levels that need to be achieved for each course. Based on these, the examinations are set and applied to everyone equally. At the postgraduate level, specialized teaching is practice-based, with a single annual evaluation determined by each member of the academic team. Postgraduate teaching focuses on apprenticeships, with an average of four students per staff member.

 What are the strengths of medical teaching in Mexico City?

The greatest strength of the Department of Medicine is its annual personalized evaluation which is of the highest rigor. On the other hand, the historical concentration of wealth and power in Mexico City undoubtedly translates into a better quality of academic teaching and medical care.


 How do universities contribute to the improvement of the over all health care system in Mexico City?

We enable practicing doctors, who are part of the healthcare system, to remain up-todate. We provide a solid and contemporary education at an undergraduate level, built around three curricular axes: the first concerning the necessary medical knowledge; the second concerning professional ethics; and the third concerning the ongoing education that a doctor must engage in throughout his working life. The contribution we make within hospitals is constant, given that this is where most medical research takes place. Most hospitals in the city, in addition to attending patients, are also research centers. We have 12 National Institutes of Health, all of them but one are in the city. These are part of the Faculty of Medicine, and it’s where postgraduate teaching takes place. When someone teaches, they have to study; when someone studies, they ask questions; and when someone asks questions, they raise doubts and this leads to new knowledge. It is a virtuous circle. These are the lines followed by medical systems all around the world. They were established at the end of the 19th century, and it is a very successful model which we apply across the department.

 How do you encourage modernization within the medical research community?

We have a course we call “Medicine and Information Technology” in which we teach students to use electronic media to keep up-to-date with developments in medical knowledge. We also use Scientific Evidence-Based Medicine, which is a review of medical information subject to internal examination. All the articles written on a particular topic worldwide are compiled and compared. In the end perhaps five of them reveal truly scientifically-proven evidence. This tool is indispensable for keeping up-to-date in the world of medicine.

we’re the only school with many more students at the postgraduate than at undergraduate level.  Do you meet with the boards of other Mexico City medical schools in order to share knowledge?

The boards of medical schools around the country share knowledge at periodic meetings. There is a National Association of Medical Faculties and Schools (ANFEM), and although it was created several years ago it hasn’t yet managed to bring all the universities together. Once a year it holds a general meeting to share experiences.

 Are the Faculty of Medicine and the government working together towards better health care in Mexico City?

We collaborate closely with the city’s Health Department. The Faculty of Medicine existed before this department did, so many of the medical systems have come from our own academic staff. There are very close links with all the public health care institutions, and the members of the governing boards of practically all the National Health Institutes have been our professors. We have a very good relationship with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the State Employees Institute of Security and Social Services (ISSSTE), as we do with the Mexico City government. Students from the Faculty of Medicine support both the local and the federal governments’ systems of health care.

National Institutes of Health

A turning point in the teaching of medicine took place very early in the history of the subject. During the Sassanian Empire in Iran, the birthplace of the Academy of Gundishapur, the most important and innovative knowledge converged around 271 bce. A teaching technique developed there, and is still used today, whereby students learn directly under the guidance of one teacher, but also study with several specialists over the course of their training. The Academy brought together the best minds of the age, irrespective of their geographic origin, and included specialists from as far away as Greece.



hroughout history there have been organizational models like the Mexican National Institutes of Health, dedicated not only to patient care but also deeply focused on scientific research and the training of specialists. This model is essentially the same as that of the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the United States, recognized as the best hospital in that country for more than twenty years. Healthcare, education and research: it’s in these areas that the National Institutes of Health have established standards of excellence in Latin America and are recognized today among the best in the world, despite their limited budget and the soaring demand for their services. Covering the vast spectrum of care, 11 of the 12 existing Institutes are located in the south of Mexico City, making the capital city a focal point in health care for the entire region. The Institutes originated with the work of doctors distinguished in each of the specializations on which they now focus. The Federico Gómez Children’s Hospital of Mexico was founded 65 years ago as a result of the efforts of the eponymous doctor whose workgroup of specialists went on to form the hospital. That was the beginning of modern public health care in the city. Another major effort resulted in the founding, in 1952, of the Manuel Velasco Suárez National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, also named after the doctor who pioneered the Institutes’ early work. The most recent is the Institute of Genomic Medicine, opened in 2004, which responds to the needs for cutting-edge scientific research. A 13th Institute is currently under construction: the National Institute of Geriatrics. The success of these Institutes is in part due to their decentralized public agency status, with legal and fiscal independence. They are regulated by the Commission of the National Institutes of Health and coordinat-

ed by the Committee of National Institutes of Health and Specialty Hospitals, overseen by the Department of Health. The autonomy with which the Institutes have historically operated has allowed them to provide the highest level in medical care in the country. They have trained world class research professionals and specialists in their respective fields. Dr. Julio Sotelo, the director of the Commission, says: “In terms of human resource training, almost all the leaders of medicine in Mexico, Central America, and the rest of Latin America were trained here at the Institutes”. Sotelo also notes that “the Institutes contain the best researchers in biomedicine in the country. In all of the areas of science that Mexico City researches, the most successful are medical sciences”. In 2006, The Lancet magazine, one of the leading publications on medical matters, selected a Mexican article as the best of the year. It was a text on the discoveries made about the rotavirus vaccine, written by one of the researchers from the National Institute of Nutrition. The selection was made from among 700,000 biomedical articles. As specialized medical complexes, patients with acute and difficult conditions are being treated at the Institutes. It’s possible to provide treatments of excellent quality thanks to the first class personnel and technology the Institutes provide. Dr. Julio Sotelo

“In all of the areas of science that the city researches, the most successful are medical sciences.”



The National Institute of Oncology T

he National Institute of Oncology has a modest origin as a small clinic with a large number of oncologic patients from the gynecology department. The clinic was overrun by the demands of patients and had to be transformed into a specialized center for research and treatment of the disease. In 1946, the National Institute of Oncology was established by presidential decree. Today, led by Dr. Alejandro Mohar Betancourt, it is an obligatory starting point for information on cancer research throughout Latin America. Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in Mexico, and one which requires a complex prognosis and treatment. The Institute coordinates the work of 25 State Cancer Centers that provide care across the nation. In a major collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Institute for Biomedical Research, the Institute performs original research forming a solid front in the fight against cancer through work performed at 11 medical laboratories. In 2009, the construction of a new hospital, part of the Institute, was announced. This is a vital investment in keeping with its long term mission.

A closer look at some of the institutes:

The Manuel Velasco Suárez

National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery


he Manuel Velasco Suarez National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery is considered one of the world’s leading centers for study in the neurological sciences. All three main branches of clinical neuroscience are represented with the same devotion: Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. The integration of these disciplines allows a thorough study of brain diseases. It is also one of the few institutions in the world dedicated exclusively to research, teaching, diagnosis, and treatment of brain diseases, from their molecular basis to their extended social components. The Institute of Neurology designs programs, treatment guides and strategies to attend neurological, neurosurgical and neuropsychiatric conditions. In no small measure, the prestige of the Institute is based on the high quality medical care available. Attending more than 6,000 patients, it offers close to 100,000 medical consultations and 2,000 surgical procedures annually. Designing diagnosis and treatment protocols, the Institute generates scientific knowledge and publishes more than 100 articles in scientific journals each year. Doctors from all over the world come to Mexico City to specialize in neurology and neurosurgery at the Institute, as do patients seeking excellent treatment.

The Ignacio Chávez

National Institute of Cardiology


National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition

The Salvador Zubirán

National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition T

he Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition is a hub of the greatest scientific activity in Mexico City. Inaugurated on October 12, 1946, the Institute gradually extended its functions to medical fields beyond nutrition and today it encompasses 40 medical specialties. Its current Director is Dr. Fernando Gabilondo Navarro. The National Institute of Nutrition provides outpatient services to 135,000 patients and an average of 215,000 consultations annually. Patients are referred to the Institute for an enormous range of conditions and so the laboratory is equipped like few others in the world. Patients are attended by a medical staff of 176 specialists, all with multiple years of training in Mexico or abroad. In the words of Dr. Gabilondo, the Institute’s key strength lies in the nature of the attention given to patients. “We have excellent doctors

he Ignacio Chávez National Institute of Cardiology was founded in 1944. The first institute of its kind in the world, it provides highly specialized cardiovascular care. The Institute pursues cutting-edge scientific research and in collaboration with the National Autonomous University, it also offers highly specialized courses in General Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Pediatric Cardiology, Nephrology and Rheumatology. Home to the Mexican Society of Cardiology and the General Secretariat of the Interamerican Society of Cardiology, under its current director, Dr. Marco Antonio Martínez Ríos, the Institute is “the best in the country in the field, among both public and private sectors.” The Institute is also a hotbed of specialists. “We’ve graduated cardiologists from almost everywhere in the world and we are the great trainer of cardiologists in Latin America.” The Institute recently inaugurated a fourth global scanner, the first of its kind in Latin America. Throughout its history, the Institute has made major contributions to the field of cardiology and electrocardiography. The research which began in the late 1940s, led eventually to the development of artificial heart valves, and there still is a department dedicated exclusively to their manufacture at the Institute.

The National Institute of Nutrition provides


who work in a multidisciplinary manner, and who are able to look at pathology from a variety of different angles.” The Institute offers 20 postgraduate courses endorsed by the UNAM and specializations in many fields of medicine and surgery. The quality of teaching is so high that most of the specializations imparted are given first place nationally in the departmental examinations. Graduates of the Institute are practicing throughout the country and are leaders in academic medicine and in other educational hospitals.


Bioethics and the City

Bioethics is a relatively new field in the landscape of medical thinking. Dealing with the concerns that are as old as humankind, technological developments and medical advances have made it more necessary than ever to closely examine the ethical issues surrounding medicine and medical practice.


hE term “bioethics” was coined by German theologian and philosopher Fritz Jahr in 1927. But international attention only focused on these issues when the Nuremberg trials first shed light onto the horrific medical experiments conducted by the Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele. Bioethics deals with issues as far ranging as abortion, decisions to suspend the treatment of terminally ill patients, cloning, and stem cell research, among many others. Today, bioethics is a rapidly evolving discipline. Public health legislation in this field has placed Mexico City at the forefront in Latin America. Medical advances such as the passage of the laws on abortion (2007) and on advance directive (2008) have positioned the city on the world stage. The exact figure for deaths as a result of un-regulated abortions are unknown, but an estimated four million illegal procedures take place each year worldwide, of which at least 4,000 result in fatalities. Avoidable deaths like these make illegal abortions a grave public health matter. In most of Latin America there is still resistance to opening the issue to debate. At this moment, the surgical termination of pregnancy is still a crime in most of Latin America, though in Europe the procedure is far more common. In Peru, on average, two pregnancies are interrupted for every woman of reproductive age, and in Colombia the average is one for every woman. Abortion is essentially illegal in both countries. Mexico City is the only major city in the region to have considerably reduced the number of deaths from botched and un-regulated procedures. This improvement in the numbers has been generated over the last three years since the approval of the legal interruption of pregnancy law. There have been 39,117 procedures performed, 22,343 by pharmaceutically induced miscarriage, 13,853 by surgical vacuum and 2,920 by surgical intervention. Rates in Mexico City are approaching those in countries like the UK, where in 2008, 195,296 procedures were performed, 91% of them within the National Health System. Authorities at all levels of the city recognize without hesitation that the real challenge is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies through timely and accurate sex education and advances in availability of healthcare to women at all stages of life. Of the 39,117 women mentioned above, 33,249 reported using a safe contraception method after the procedure. The same authorities, and the majority of residents in the city, understand that women’s chances for economic, societal and psychological independence relates to the availability of the procedure. Another bioethical issue confronted in Mexico City was the advanced directive or living will act passed in early 2008. The law gives citizens the right to refuse medical treatment for the prolongation of life when there is no possible cure to the disease that afflicts them, nor reasonable hope for a good quality of life. Even in Germany, in 2010, the court had to intervene to determine whether it is a crime to suspend the medical treatment to patients who no longer wish to pursue it.

Though few people have come forward to express their wishes in advance, with the endorsement of a notary, it is now possible and legal. To date, 361 terminally ill patients have benefited from the law and 18 of these have since passed away. Most suffer from chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease that eventually severely diminish their quality of life. Mexico City is thus at the forefront of the discussion on bioethics, on par with cities like Quebec, which has implemented similar measures to ensure “death with dignity” to citizens suffering from chronic illnesses. Providing residents with options and information for full decision-making capability has not been least among those efforts. These new legislative acts, and intense consultation with the World Health Organization, put Mexico City among the most advanced societies in the world in bioethics.

Three years after abortion became legal there have been:

66,000 requests for information

40,000 procedures undertaken, of which 2,194 were for minors (under the age of 18)

“The fundamental point is an opening on the part of the authorities to listen to

public opinion.” HE ALTH


Dr. Arnoldo Kraus Arnoldo Kraus is a doctor who teaches medical ethics at the Graduate School of Medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). A member of the Mexican Association of Bioethics, Kraus is a columnist and author of several articles essential to the national debate on bioethics.

Public health legislation in the field of bioethics has placed Mexico City at the forefront of the dabate in Latin America. the city now rightfully participates in the discussion of related issues that have gained momentum internationally.     What is the significance of Mexico City being one of the first cities in the world to pass these laws?

It’s a major step forward in the field of public health. The fundamental point is an opening on the part of the authorities to listen to public opinion and to replicate what is occurring in more advanced countries. Assisted dying, or euthanasia, is an issue that has been under discussion for a long time in Europe. Holland was the first country to legalize it in 2002. In places such as Switzerland and the United States, first in Oregon and now in Washington, what is known as “assisted suicide” has also recently been approved. Only a few countries are talking about the issue.

    How does the Advance Directive Law work?

A document – which used to be called a “living will” but which in the Federal Dis-

trict has been given the name of “advance directive” - needs to be drawn up and formalized, witnessed by a notary, one or two doctors and a family member. While you are healthy, you prepare it to indicate that in the event of a terminal or degenerative illness, or an accident that leaves you in a vegetative state, you do not wish to be kept alive by artificial means. We haven’t spoken about euthanasia in the Federal District yet. What we’re talking about is a patient choosing not to begin or not to continue a course of treatment.

      What are the concrete benefits in terms of public health? Does this make it easier to transplant organs in good condition?

It is true that in the case of patients who are in a vegetative state the law represents a good opportunity to promote the use of their organs to save or prolong the lives of others.

    With regards to the law on abortion, what are the concrete benefits in terms of public health?

Almost 40,000 abortions have been carried out in the past three years and there has only been one death as a result of the procedure. For those of us who believe that health is a right for everyone, and that women should be the ones who make decisions about their own bodies, it is a major step forward.

    How was the process of civil society, experts in bioethics such as yourself, and the local city government being able to bring this law into effect? There were several factors. Firstly the involvement of the mayor Marcelo Ebrard, with the strength of will to see it through, and the Department of Health, Armando Ahued, who supported the mayor. The struggle has lasted 20 or 30 years, led by non-governmental health organizations such as Martha Lamas’s GIRE, or MEXFAM, which for a long time have been trying to give a voice to women.



were Federal District residents

83% of the procedures were non-invasive


Elena Cintleli- First year resident, Internal Medicine, UNAM

Point of View

Government HE ALTH


Dr. Armando Ahued Armando Ahued is surgeon by the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM). He was Subsecretary of the Department of Medical Services and Supplies until he was made Secretary of the city’s Department of Health, charge which he currently holds.

With the aim of OFFERING comprehensive medical services to citizens, the department of Health provides Mexico City and its suburbs with free health care services and health education in order to change the habits of future generations.  How does the Department of Health go  What is the situation regarding health about promoting comprehensive health research in the capital? Mexico City is where most research into in Mexico City?

The Department of Health works at two levels. The first of these is based on the Health Centers: primary care, visits to the doctor and treatment. The second level is hospitalization. There are almost 50 Health Centers in the city, as well as specialized clinics, such as Pascua Dermatology, the HIV-AIDS clinic, and those attending to prisons (covering 42,000 adult prisoners and 3,000 juveniles). We currently have a total of 28 hospitals, plus three near completion. Soon there will be 31 hospitals in the Federal District Department of Health Hospitals Network.

 How does the capital city’s government care for citizens who don’t have social security?

In Mexico City, there is a pro bono law which ensures that anyone living here who doesn’t receive social security benefits can get free medical check-ups, medicines, analysis, scans, hospitalization and surgery, all without any cost. Every year we attend to between six and seven million people. However, the backbone of the city government’s health program is preventive action. Healthy people stay healthy and sick people are detected rapidly.

 What measures are being taken to resolve the huge obesity problem in the city?

Obesity is the foremost health problem in Mexico City. It leads to diabetes, hypertension and the so-called metabolic syndrome. If we don’t take systematic action now, health services risk collapse. Chronic degenerative illnesses are a world-wide phenomenon. The key to prevention is education, and this is the arena we have been fighting in. We will become the first body in the federation to make health education obligatory from kindergarten to upper secondary school.

health care and medicine takes place in the country. Home to the National Institutes of Health, and the research centers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) and the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM), the most important education institutions are found in the city, and they are carrying out intensive scientific work. Now, there is also the Federal District Science and Technology Institute (ICyTDF), set up by the current city government. The ICyTDF is undertaking excellent work. With the AH1N1 epidemic a lot of research was done and two further laboratories have been established, one at the Reasearch and Advanced Studies Center (CINVESTAV) and one at the Autonomous University of Mexico City, while a third is to be set up by the Federal District Department of Health in the Ajusco Medio General Hospital.

 Since you mention the influenza, how well are you equipped to deal with a public health emergency? The epidemic put our health systems to the test, and the Department of Health prevailed. We are continually improving our tools, preventive programs, and the strategic actions we utilize in the case of a crisis.

Mexico City is where most research into health takes place in the country.

“Every year we attend to between six and seven

million people.”   What policies in the field of health care allow Mexico City to be compared with other noteworthy cities worldwide?

Our progressive laws, for one. Legal termination of pregnancy, for example, is not allowed in any other city in the country. We’re also at the forefront in questions such as gender equality and the protection of women. Federal law does not allow euthanasia, but local government has managed to pass a law in Mexico City for those in the terminal phase of an illness. Then there is the 100% smoke-free law, which won us the Bloomberg Prize in recognition of the most important strategy of protection for the health of non-smokers in the world. Recently we were also awarded the National Prize for Innovation in Health Quality for the Angel Program, which has seen around 20,000 capital city residents receive free medical attention and medicines at the 276 consultation points set up in the poorest areas. Finally, we are the only place to offer bariatric surgery to people suffering from morbid obesity, with weights in excess of 130 kilos (287 pounds). Fifty people have undergone this surgical operation, which normally costs US$15,000, but which we are offering for free at the Rubén Leñero Hospital.


care with





Marta Elia GarcĂ­a- Nursing Coordinator

UNIVERSAL HEALTH After the Second World War, state-sponsored insurance began to appear in more and more countries in response to the urgent needs of the post-war world. Since then insurance and medical coverage has continued to develop and evolve and the Constitution of the World Health Organization states that one of the fundamental human rights is access to the highest standards of health care.

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omprehensive health care is increasingly a possibility in Mexico’s capital where initiatives have brought care to more segments of the population. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to a standard of living, health and welfare for all people and includes rights to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, death of a spouse, and old age. Mexico City’s government has renewed its commitment to realizing that guarantee and has seen very positive results with several projects aimed at the population who did not previously have access to private health or social security. The history of the health system in Mexico has been marked by the development of the institutions aimed toward providing for these needs. During the post-Revolutionary period the Department of Health and the Ministry of Welfare both came into being. These were later merged into the existing Federal Department of Health and Welfare. In 1943, the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) was established to better protect workers and their families. At about the same time, the first National Institutes of Health, the Children’s Hospital of Mexico and the National Institute of Nutrition, were also established. In 1960, the State Employees Institute of Security and Social Services (ISSSTE) first offered services to 487,742 beneficiaries and the institute’s role has continued to evolve and grow since then. Still an important segment of the population was left unprotected. Those lacking steady jobs or relying on very scarce financial resources were forced to pay out of pocket for medical services. As a result, this segment of the population suffered from poorer health in general. To bridge the gap, the Seguro Popular, a universal coverage policy, was established in 2003 to focus on the treatment of all citizens. Promoting awareness of the rights of all beneficiaries is among the key aims of the program as is the delivery of preventive health care to more than 10 million people. Internationally, one of the challenges for all health systems according to the World Health Organization is to continue ensuring that people with fewer economic resources can receive quality medical care irrespective of their ability to pay. Worldwide more than 100 million people lose their livelihoods

each year as a result of the expense of medical or health services. In Mexico City the health system of the government of the Federal District aims to recognize the right to health protection and to maintain a gratuitous, universal and integral spirit in the delivery of health care. Part of meeting that challenge involved implementing the Health Care and Medications Delivery Program as part of the Ángel program (a network of health care assistance initiatives). It focuses on those living in areas classified as highly marginalized. Currently 2.6 million people are registered with the program. The 2009 budget was US$415 million. Ángel also includes 13 other programs like school lunch assistance, services to people with disabilities and treatment for alcohol and drug addictions. The network aims to provide access to education and health services for low-income people, including the Federal District’s numerous indigenous communities. To deliver the service to those who truly need it, the city government provided 8 mobile medical units that, last year, delivered 57,781 consultations, and 5,934 specialty consultations. One of the most important trends in the global discussion of health care delivery is in the better quality of and access to health coverage for women. The World Health Organization notes that special attention needs to be payed in this area, and Mexico City has far exceeded its own goals in this respect. Since 2009 the city has performed more than 391,000 mammograms, well above the 300,000 estimated for the same period. In cases where breast cancer was positively diagnosed (129 cases), patients were referred for treatment coordinated by Inmujeres, the Women’s Health Institute operated by the Mexico City Department of Health. The Comprehensive Care Program for Older Adults offers care to another of Mexico City’s growing population: the elderly. The program extends a variety of health related services to people both inside and outside of long-term residential care and it’s open to anyone over 60 years of age who is not covered by the federally administered social security program. The 2008 World Health Report issued by the World Health Organization announced that the population of the world is now living longer and healthier than it was thirty years ago. The health economy, having grown by leaps and bounds, increased its contribution to global GDP from 8% to almost 9% between 2000 and 2005. This growth in overall investment signals an international trend towards greater private sector financial participation in the health sector, as is now the case in both the US and Canada. Mexico City is home to most of the major research centers in the country. Dr. Enrique Ruelas Baraja, current Secretary of the General Health Council of the Department of Health of the federal government says: “In academic fields there is a natural inclination to share, discuss issues, and to present papers. The doctor is an academic by definition.” The constant flow of information between public and private hospitals is due to the fact that most doctors work in both sectors. This generates a highly dynamic

“Since 2009, the city has performed more than 391,000 mammograms, well above the 300,000 estimated for the same period.”


The Health Care and Medications Delivery Program focuses on those living in areas classified as Indigenous family- Portales Community Center

environment, further cooperation and a rich exchange of research results, the development and proliferation of new treatments and, above all, the possibility of strengthening initiatives that can lead to better public policy. Access to high-level medical care, specialized clinics and free or reduced cost medications fill out a culture of increasing availability of high quality care. Improving the quality of life for all the people of the capital remains the singular purpose of the city health care system.

highly marginalized.

Currently 2.6 million people are registered with the program. The 2009 budget was

US$415 million.

Point of View

Private Sector

Klaus boker Klaus Boker studied at the University of Hamburg and is the owner of Boker, SA de CV, the oldest hardware store in Mexico. A businessman active in numerous trusts and foundations, Boker is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABC Hospital.

As a private assistance institution, the ABC Hospital reinvests profits into the improvement of its facilities and equipment. Inspired by the American system in which hospitals are also educational institutions, it is administered by a board of 18 members.

“Southwards from the United States, Mexico is in in terms of health care.”

first place     What are the benefits to the ABC Hospital in not having an owner and being administered by a board of directors?

ABC Hospital is a private assistance institution. The board performs the role of a board of directors as in a corporation, this means that the General Direction has all of the control functions.

The hospital was founded by the American and British communities in 1941. Today there is a body of between 250 and 300 associated members, and a board of 18 directors is elected: five Americans, or American descendents, five British, five Mexicans and three more of international origin. The terms for which the board

members serve are staggered such that not all the members are changed, begin or end simultaneously.

  How does this administrative scheme result in a better service?

In the absence of profit sharing, nobody gets a penny. The directors are paid and

HE ALTH hired, but the associated members do not receive any remuneration and everything is reinvested into the enlargement of the facilities and new equipment. A large percentage goes toward welfare work and education.


of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Pediatrics. And a Center for Neurosciences, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation is also being built. In Observatorio, we opened a Cancer Center just one year ago.

      Is there an institutional framework in Mexico City that ensures the quality of health care?

There is the National Council of Health (Consejo de Salubridad Nacional) which certifies hospitals, but not all are certified. The ABC, of course, is.

    How has the ABC been able to develop     How do you ensure the quality of service social services within the healthcare field? and stay on top of personnel development The hospital has its own clinics that offer and new technology?       As for private health care, how does these services. They benefit more than 7,500 ABC Hospital has been a model of health- Mexico City compare with other large cities patients, provide nearly 18,000 consultations care excellence over many decades. Many in Latin America? and perform over 400 surgeries annually. The clinic was founded following the 1985 earthquake with a grant from the British Government, hence its name, BRIMEX. The ABC Hospital also has a mobile clinic that visits the poor communities and municipalities around Santa Fe where people still live in poverty. At the same time, low-income neighborhoods are surveyed, house by house, to diagnose patterns of illness that have to be treated. If it’s not possible to serve them directly, patients are channeled to state institutions such as the General Hospital and the Social Security system.

 In what ways is the ABC growing?

The ABC Hospital doesn’t have access to capital markets, nor can it issue shares, which is how economic growth is achieved. But ABC is not interested in building hospitals throughout the country. We have campuses at Observatorio and Santa Fe, and we are adding to these two highly specialized clinical campuses. Next to the General Hospital of Santa Fe, for example, is the Center

doctors are attracted to practicing medicine with us; young doctors find it incredibly encouraging to be part of a nonprofit institution that’s adhering to the highest medical standards. On the other hand, our administrative model allows us to reinvest a large percentage of the profits into new projects, equipment and training.

  What are the specific strengths of the ABC?

The ABC is a nonprofit teaching hospital whose ultimate goal is not economic. The ABC is the first hospital in Mexico City that is certified internationally by the Joint International Commission. This implies that administrative transparency is absolute, and that patient protocols are excellent.

      Are there any systems for sharing information between hospitals?

ABC Hospital has an affiliation with the Methodist Hospital in Houston and with t hem t here is a n intensive excha nge. There’s also the National Association of Private Hospitals in which information is exchanged among members.

Southwards from the United States, it’s in first place in terms of health care. Mexico is an attractive health destination to Latin American patients, for language, proximity and quality, and to other foreign patients also for its cost differentials. If you go to Social Security’s Siglo XXI Medical Center, they can offer care as fine as that which you’ll find in the private hospitals. The problem in both cases is one of access.

our administrative model allows us to reinvest a large percentage of the profits into new projects, equipment and training.

smoke-Free public Spaces Tobacco addiction is nothing new. Native Americans were using the plant as a powerful hallucinogen well before the arrival of Europeans to the Americas. Tobacco was even a valuable medium of exchange before eventually becoming a daily consumer good in the form of cigars and cigarettes. The 1990s, in Mexico City, were characterized by a cloud of smoke covering offices, bars, restaurants and night clubs.



he health risk caused by cigarette smoke had reached alarming levels. In 2006, lung cancer killed more people, 6,000 deaths per year, than any other type of cancer in Mexico. A radical change began to seem increasingly necessary. For good. The impact of addictions on life in public spaces came to the center of attention in 2007 when the city government implemented a series of legislative projects aimed at reducing and preventing the consequences of tobacco consumption, alcohol and other drugs. The Mexico City measures paralleled those in other cities around the world. In England, for example, a 2007 law mandated that all indoor spaces be smoke-free. Similarly, by decree of the Mexico City government, in September 2008, all restaurants and bars became smoke-free places. The same decree has secured the air in all enclosed public spaces like office and school buildings. This has dramatically reduced exposure to cigarette smoke. Legislation, enthusiasm, research and patience converged to see this healthy measure enforced throughout the city. Mexico City opted also to provide residents the most basic tool: information. In 2008, the city began a massive campaign to educate the public about the harmful effects of cigarette consumption. Financing for the project came from the National Council Against Addictions, the InterAmerican Heart Foundation, CAEDRO and the World Lung Foundation, in addition to Mexico City’s government. The campaign included advertisments in the Public Transit System and began with promotion of the new law for the protection of the health of non-smokers. To make quick and substantial progress in implementing the new law in bars and restaurants of the city, brigades of healthcare workers from the 16 health jurisdictions aided in enforcement of the new measure. Strong objections that the measure would adversely affect bar and restaurant owners were disputed by experiences in countries such as Australia, where after implementing smoke-free laws, attendance in bars and restaurants actually increased by 5%. Non-smokers who had previously been discouraged by cigarette smoke actually began to show up more. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Foundation awarded the city government special recognition for having developed the techniques, programs and regulations to combat the risks of cigarette smoking to smokers and to non-smokers. In 2009, Mexico City’s contribution to the experience of the governments of the world was documented by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. Currently, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization are documenting the implementation of the 100% smoke-free public spaces program and its corresponding regulations.

A team of experts have delivered more than 2,753 talks about the consumption of tobacco and the benefits of quitting to more than 54,784 people.

16 Since 2008,

Capri Restaurant- Polanco

Nicotine Addiction Clinics

have offered about 6,000 smoking cessation consultations.

Mariana, 22, student: “It’s an excellent regulation because I’m not a smoker. It was really annoying whether you were hanging out in a club or at a restaurant. It was always unpleasant to have your clothes smell of cigarette smoke. I, myself, became a passive smoker, which I found unfair because it’s my personal decision not to smoke. I’ve noticed that the regulation has encouraged people who do smoke a lot, to somehow smoke less.”

Mexico City’s Santa fe Neighborhood

  Alcohol-Free


nother substantial change occured in the A city’s streets and highways through a program aimed at preventing traffic accidents relat-

ed to excessive alcohol consumption, the leading cause of death for people between 14 and 29 years of age, and the fourth leading cause of death in the country. Through the program, checkpoints to randomly monitor drivers for alcohol consumption were introduced. Those who have consumed alcohol are tested with a “breathalyzer.” Drivers with levels over the 0.40 milligrams per liter permitted by law are taken to a civil judge, who will impose a detention sentence of between 20 and 36 hours as well as a fine. The regulations also apply to drivers in the public transit system and to the police. The alcohol-free driving project has helped to reduce fatalities significantly. Between 2003 and 2004 deaths from car crashes decreased substantially, And while in 2004 deaths due to drunk driving were numbered at 1,371, by 2005 that number was reduced to 651.

The alcohol-free driving program in numbers: Between September 8, 2003 and February 7, 2010:

Working Days:

Offenders Charged:

1,047 55,418 Drivers Interviewed:

1,404,563 Between February and October of 2008 the program “Smoke-Free Buildings” was implemented. The City Department of Health established that, during this period, 260 public buildings would become 100% free of tobacco smoke.

Breathalyzer Tests


160 Under-age offenders:

Cars Impounded:

198,238 32,833



José Manuel Cruz Muñoz- Radiology technician

Health 131

advances for

unlimited potential

Medical Tourism


Medical Tourism may very well be the first kind of tourism, so it should come as no surprise to us that, even today, people are willing and even pleased to travel far and wide to seek relief from illness or malady. Ancient Greeks, in fact, made pilgrimages to Epidaurus, near the modern Greek city of Epidavros, in search of cures to their ailments, more than 2,000 years ago.

been certified by the Joint Comission International (JCI), the most important organisation to certify hospitals in the United States. The network of hospitals and institutions in Mexico City is the most complete and comprehensive in all of Latin America. The Medical Tourism Association, a non-profit trade association, recently ranked Mexico City as an “excellent” health care destination. Mexico City is the third most popular medical tourism spot in Latin America, behind only Costa Rica and Brazil.


The virtues of Mexico City as a medical care destination are:

Edical tourism is simply the act of traveling to another country for the primary purpose of undergoing a medical, surgical or therapeutic procedure that is not urgent. It’s not uncommon for the same trip to include rehabilitation, recovery and leisure activities, hence the additional component of “tourism.” Several forces drive today’s medical tourism industry. Significantly lower costs of travel and equally significant increases in the quality standards of medical services in many host countries have combined to make the idea of traveling in search of care that much more attractive. Consumers in countries with nationalized health systems sometimes may have to wait months or even years to undergo an elective procedure. In contrast, some destinations can conveniently schedule and perform certain procedures in a more timely manner and at considerable cost savings to the consumer. Heart bypass surgery, for example, costs about US$130,000 in the United States, while the same procedure in Mexico is around US$33,000. Cost differentials tend to be the most important factor in the medical tourist’s decision-making process. Even after airfare, lodging and tourism, the basic treatment in another country can cost as little as one fifth of what the same treatment costs in a developed economy. Angioplasty, which involves dilation of an occluded artery is one of the most common surgeries sought by medical travelers. In the United States, the procedure typically costs about US$57,000. In Mexico, angioplasty can be performed in a high quality private hospital for about US$11,000. The idea of medical tourism in Mexico City has recently moved increasingly toward being solidly realized in more visitors. The Mexican capital has the human talent and the advanced technology needed to provide patients from all over the world with excellent care at markedly lower costs when compared to many other countries. In addition, access to the city is extensive and allows patients to reach the capital from all major cities around the world without connecting flights. The idea of economically developing this niche started with examples set by countries like India, Brazil and Costa Rica, each of which has made medical tourism an increasingly important aspect in the development of their own economies. The Mexico City newspaper Milenio Diario reports that the worldwide medical tourism market represents US$60 billion annually, and it is growing. The flow of American travelers to border towns who come seeking more affordable medical services is today a reality. Mexicans living in the United States, who otherwise lack health insurance also look to Mexico for a more cost-effective option. Each year, between 250,000 and 300,000 people travel from the United States looking for quality care at a more affordable cost than is available at home. Already, Mexico City boasts more than 40 private hospitals capable of offering high quality medical services, eight of these have already

  Excellent medical specialists with national and international experience. The vast majority speak English and hold international degrees.

  Air connectivity with all major cities worldwide.   Medical services are an estimated 40% less costly than in the US.   Important private hospitals, certified internationally.   Mexico City offers a broad cultural experience, comparable to any other major world capital.




$130,000 $160,000 $57, 000 $20,000 $40,000 $43,000 $62,000

$33,000 $34,000 $11, 000 $5,500 $11,000 $12,500 $16,000

Source: Woodman, Patients Beyond Borders and Companion Global Healthcare, Inc.





The Mexican government

predicts that in 2015,

450,000 medical tourists, primarily from the United States, will visit Mexico for medical treatment. The estimated value to Mexico’s economy will be

US$350 million.

Medical Tourism, by 2020, could be worth US$4.5 billion and attract 650,000 medical tourists each year.


ABC HospitaL- Santa Fe

Creating a Culture of Donation


The ability to replace a damaged part of an other- the wise healthy body is a dream so old that tracing its origin is not easy. There are, of course, legends of heart TRANSPLANT miraculous transplants, but these are impossible was performed to verify and in most cases simply doubtful. Among July 21, 1988. these tales, we can find the story of saints Cosmo and Damian, who replaced the leg of an ailing Roman officer with one from a black man who had just died.     A 16% increase in donations after Stories like this prove but one thing: the possibility cardiac arrest was achieved of healing through transplantation has been in the in the same year (1988). mind of humankind since time immemorial.


T 134

Oday, the transplantation of organs is one of the most complex and demanding of medical procedures. In 2000, over 15,000 kidney transplants were performed in the United States and it is sometimes difficult to remember that it was not until the middle of the twentieth century that transplantation became a relatively routine medical procedure. Wining a place in national history, in 1963, doctors Federico Ortiz Quezada, Manuel Quijano Narezo and Manuel Flores Izquierdo working at the IMSS National Medical Center performed Mexico’s first kidney transplant. Soon after, in 1971, the first transplant program in the country was initiated at the National Institute of Nutrition. Since the 1980s, Mexican specialists have successfully performed liver and pancreas transplants as well as even more complex transplants of multiple organs in a single procedure. Dr. Arturo Dib Kuri, currently director of the National Transplant Center (CENATRA), conducted Latin America’s first multiple organ transplant (pancreas and kidney) in 1987. A year later, Dr. Rubén Agüero performed Mexico’s first heart transplant and within another year transplants of lungs, bone marrow, adrenal tissue, brain and nervous tissue were also being performed. Last year alone, 8,370 patients requested transplant procedures of all types. Today, Mexico is surpassed in Latin America only by Brazil in terms of the number of transplant procedures performed. Of the 55,000 transplants in Mexico, 35,000 were performed in the past seven years, almost all of them in Mexico City.

Of the 55,000 transplants performed in Mexico, 35,000 took place in the past seven years. The advances in Mexico’s medical capabilities are clear, 342 hospitals are licensed today to perform transplants. To regulate these procedures, a National Transplant System was created. It manages all aspects of the organ donation process. CENATRA, through the transplant system, issues the guidelines and procedures that have shortened the wait time for patients awaiting organs and it ensures the system is equitably administered. The Registry of Receiving Patients electronically maintains data from all of the licensed hospitals, so that receivers are selected based on blood type and the likelihood of the success of the procedure rather than on subjective criteria. Since 2009, CENATRA, in collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico, has successfully initiated a program to train “Transplant Coordinators” to be responsible for the procedure, from administra-


In Mexico City, 8 of 10 potential donors (or their families)   agree to the procedure.   During 2009, 986 donors were processed representing   an increase of 7.99% over the previous year.

60% of kidney transplants are performed in Social Security hospitals. tive issues to ensuring that a precise medical protocol is followed at each of the 342 licensed hospitals. There are two ways to receive donor organs, says Dr. Arturo Dib Kuri. First through patients who’ve suffered brain death from accidents or cardiac arrest, and secondly from living donors, who are more often than not family members of the receiver. Mexico’s high transplantation success rate can be partly explained by the high number, 75%, of donations from living donors. Still, Mexico has made progress in harvesting more organs from accident and trauma victims. To encourage more donations of this type, health officials promote voluntary donor registration programs and donor cards that specify a person is willing to donate organs upon his or her death. The program is seeing some success. In 2009, there were 7.99% more donations from deceased persons than there had been the previous year, and in particular, 16% more donations were received from donors after cardiac arrest. Kidneys can last from 48 to 72 hours, livers for 24-30 hours, while lungs last but 24 hours. A heart will be transplantable only six hours from the time of death of the donor. Once consent is granted, doctors must work very fast and the system for selecting a recipient and delivery of the organ must work extremely efficiently. Kidney transplants are the most commonly performed procedures. In Mexico City, in 2009, 2,239 kidneys were transplanted, reflecting an increase of 1.59% over the previous year. Of all patients awaiting donor organs, about half are awaiting a kidney. 60% of these operations are performed in the hospitals of Mexico’s Social Security system. Many countries lack adequate infrastructure for the number of transplants required by the population. Mexico City, though, enjoys an enviable position. Thanks to the efforts of the medical community to remain at the scientific forefront and abreast of the steps necessary to sustain this culture of donation, the numbers of successful transplants are improving each year. Of the families of 10 qualified donors who die in a position to donate, eight will accept the donation proposal. Mexico City has become the leader in Latin American transplant procedures, not only placing Mexico on the map of medical success stories, but improving the life expectancy of residents and hopeful patients visiting from all over the country.

In human organ transplantation, Mexico City is at the forefront in Latin America. A rising rate in donations.

In Mexico, unlike many other countries, it is normal for people to donate a kidney to an ill relative.



Yearly successful donations


678 600





There are two kinds of donors: (Percentage of donations in Mexico)

Living: An unusually high percentage of the national total, living donors translate into more succesful transplants.



In 2009, however,

In Mexico City,

of 4924 transplants performed, an important increase was seen in donations from deceased donors (%).

Living: 2,072

the percentage of people who agree to donate in the event of their death is very high. Accepted

Deceased: 42


Deceased: From donnors who suffered a traumatic injury or heart attack resulting in brain death.

Did not accept 20



The evolution of kidney transplant in Mexico City from 1963-2009 2,000 Living




1,500 1,273

Transplants performed in Mexico's Social Security Hospitals (%)

590 500


All Others 0 3


280 35



19 63 19 65 19 67 19 69 19 71 19 73 19 75 19 77 19 79 19 81 19 83 19 85 19 87 19 89 19 91 19 93 19 95 19 97 19 99 20 01 20 03 20 05 20 07 20 09



Source: National Transplants Center 2009 (CENATRA).


health Programs ď‚›AMANECE


pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals - signed by all countries in the world - the Carlos Slim Health Institute and the Mexico City Department of Health are joining forces to provide timely care to pregnant women and their newborn children. Amanece was created to meet this purpose and to provide attention throughout maternity, during childbirth and infancy, for children and mothers. The Carlos Slim Health Institute works to advance more equitable health conditions for women, families, and children. The Amanece program works with the Mexico City Department of Health towards meeting the millennium goals to reduce child mortality by two thirds and maternal mortality by 75% by 2015, from their 1990 levels. The program provides timely and comprehensive care and a preventive approach to pregnant women and their children from birth until they reach five years of age. Amanece also places special emphasis on the early detection of serious disabilities, such as blindness in newborns. Reinforcement strategies such as community participation and the training of professionals in areas like human development support local health systems at the same time placing care for the mother and the child in the hands of the community as a whole. In the Federal District, health authorities targeted the Iztapalapa borough, for its tremendous needs and young population, to embark on this ambitious program. Computers and medical equipment for eight hospitals in the city were donated by Telmex Foundation, to make 30,000 services available. These included ultrasounds, heart monitors, incubators, ventilators, table delivery care, operating room lighting, to mention only a few. As of the first semester of 2010, Amanece has trained 45 directors and health professionals in the local government to strengthen leadership and management in maternal and child issues. In addition, the Carlos Slim Health Institute awarded 51 scholarships for health care workers in contact with women and newborns to study for the Maternity and Child Health Virtual Diploma accredited by the National Politechnic Institute and other renowned institutions. Amanece is working for a solution to the problems of infant and maternal mortality in Mexico, offering mothers and children the opportunity of a better tomorrow.

ď‚›The Health Observatory program of the Carlos Slim Health Institute


he Health Observatory, developed by the Carlos Slim Health Institute in collaboration with the Mexican Health Foundation (Funsalud), is a network that generates and disseminates comparative data and statistics for Mexico and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Health conditions and the performance of the public health systems are both carefully examined. The Observatory regularly gathers experts from countries across the region to identify and address public health issues for each nation. Though the numbers will vary from year to year, as of 2010, the Observatory network consists of 244 researchers from 67 institutions in 21 countries. This international network is very helpful to identify trends and pursue common solutions. National maps have been developed to provide significant information on priority health problems and the compiled information is available through the Atlas Health Systems, through which the Observatory has also developed six regional reports. These enable theoretical analysis and recommendations to national decision makers in the health sector. Beyond analysis of the region as a whole, the Observatory also allows researchers to examine conditions in specific countries. There are four national chapters: Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Mexico, so far. Researchers are being trained in the design of tools and methods for measuring health conditions, and the response capacity of the organized society to meet their medical needs. Technical reports describing the magnitude and distribution of risks and health damage in the region are also among the systems strengths. In Mexico City, 38 researchers and academics have been trained through the program.


Point of View


Civil Society

Dr. Mercedes Juan López Dr. Mercedes Juan López is former Undersecretary of Health and former Federal Deputy Commissioner of the Health Operation for the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (Cofepris). She currently heads the Mexican Health Foundation.

THe MEXICAN HEALTH Foundation HAS SET ITSELF THE PRIORITY OF ENSURING THAT BY THE END OF 2010 THERE be medical COVERAGE FOR all residents OF THE CAPITAL.  What philosophy guides the Mexican Health Foundation?

The Foundation has been a private institution in community service for the past 25 years. We’re a civil society organization with a scientific and technological profile, composed of business people who are interested in health and are able to provide financial resources for research, especially for the development of public health policies. An example of someone possessing all of these attributes is Dr. Guillermo Soberón, First Executive President of the Foundation, and former Secretary of Health, who’s made major achievements in public health policies. Our central task is to generate information and to form critical, purposeful and independent opinions about health problems facing the Mexican people.

AN achievement of the Foundation has been the promotion of research in genomic medicine.  What have been the Foundation’s main contributions to the Mexican health system?

Among the most important is the Seguro Popular, a governement sponsored universal insurance program. It was devised by a group of researchers who worked for years in the economics and health care fields. They created a system of health protection


“We’re with the Department of Health to achieve universal coverage in health services.” for people in Mexico City who can not rely on the federally administered Social Security system. One of the most important figures in that group was Dr. Julio Frenk, who was appointed Secretary of Health by the then President Vicente Fox. Prior to Seguro Popular, only people with salaried jobs had access to public insurance. Today any citizen is qualified. Since implementing the Seguro Popular, the health budget has increased fivefold and that has translated into better facilities, equipment and infrastructure. Another achievement of the Foundation has been the promotion of research in genomic medicine. In 2004, a consortium composed of the Foundation, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Department of Health and the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT) was formed specifically to address the issue. Only recently the National Institute of Genomic Medicine was opened as a result of the consortium’s work. Also in conjunction with CONACyT, the Foundation is working to create a network on Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome to strengthen communication and the work

being done by the scientific and technological community in this area of growing concern.

 Is Mexico City privileged in the Latin American region for its health care coverage and systems? You could say so. It is true that health systems are overcrowded because the demand is very high. Inhabitants of the city have the advantage that in addition to the services of their own Federal Department of Health are the rest of the federal facilities and hospitals, also those of the Social Security system.

 What are the main challenges facing the Foundation?

In response to a call from the President of the Republic, today we’re working with the Department of Health to achieve universal coverage in health services. There are still people without it, making it a priority for us and the government that by the end of this year there is universal coverage. Along with this, we’re also promoting a drug policy to provide the health care system with access to medical treatments. We’re also engaged in the issue of improving the competitiveness of the Mexican health system.

Emergency Response Capacity Responding to emergency is one of the preeminent responsibilities of the modern city. they are called upon in times of natural or man-made disaster to protect citizens and their property, and to minimize the impact of the disaster itself. a city’s capacity to respond to emergencies is continually being challenged.

T 138

his concern to respond to unexpected events goes back to the very origins of the city itself, the first of which were established to protect inhabitants from the continual threat of invasion among other very good reasons for cohabitating. Crowding into a confined protective space, though, immediately increased the risk of uncontrollable fires that demanded a coordinated response lest the entire city be consumed. Records of private for-profit fire-fighting companies include written testimony of one of the earliest emergency services, the Vigiles Urbani, a police and fire-fighting force in the Roman Empire, inspired itself in the legendary fire brigade of Alexandria in Egypt. Security concerns run by private and public police forces are as varied as the entire history of cities, but the first ambulance service is not recorded until a Spanish variant was established in 1487. Today, of course, in many countries one may simply pick up the phone and dial a number to call for help, but this type of service was only originated in 1937 in London.

“Epidemics and natural disasters are the two clear threats Mexico City faces.”

-Dr. Armando Ahued, Secretary of Health of Mexico City.

Responding to emergencies in a prompt and effective manner represents the difference between saving thousands of lives or losing them. Mexico City, like any large metropolis, must be prepared at all times for a number of emergency situations. Specialized agencies have developed throughout the history of the city and exist today as a result of the citizens having learned from each subsequent situation how to better prepare themselves for the inevitable next emergency. The Federal District Red Cross and The Heroic Federal District Fire Corp were both founded in the late nineteenth century. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent is often confused with a single corporation, but it is actually made up of several organizations, each legally independent of the others but united by a set of basic principles and

goals. Three governing bodies administer their activities in Mexico: the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation Societies of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The original movement was organized by Swiss businessman and activist Henry Durant in 1863. The Mexican Red Cross was officially recognized in 1910 after it was founded by Ma. Luz González Cosío de López, though presidential decree soon made it officially part of the Mexican Army. The first brigade with the emblem of the red cross on white background left from Mexico City bound for Monterrey in response to a flood, and soon after the newly created ambulance services were called upon for relief during the years of the Mexican Revolution. In 1919, the Mexican Red Cross was recognized by the International Red Cross, and its 1923 charter gave it full independence from both the army and the Mexican government. Today, under the emblems of the Cross, the Crescent and the newly established Red Diamond, 97 million people volunteer worldwide. In Mexico City, the Red Cross operates with 225 doctors, nurses and health specialists, 188 support staff, 85 emergency medical technicians, and 121 youth volunteers. It has grown consistently since its initial charter, and in 1968 opened its first hospital in the capital city. Today, for prompt response to emergencies, rescue services have been specialized in urban, water, and mountain rescue units. In Mexico City, the organization works with the government and many NGOs to provide rapid response to all emergency situations.



he Federal District Heroic Fire Department has 16 stations corresponding to the boroughs of the district and is among the best organized fire departments in Latin America. In 2007, Mexico City devoted a budget of US$5.5 million to the fire department and an additional US$12.1 million to the Civil Protection department. “Epidemics and natural disasters are the two clear threats Mexico City faces,” says Dr. Armando Ahued, Secretary of Health of Mexico City. He continues, “The epidemic of H1N1 influenza tested our reactions and we overcame it. We actually waited nine years for the avian influenza to arrive. No country can be fully prepared for an epidemic of this scale. We do have the best preventive measures in place, but there will be cases where we need to offer a continuity plan. We’re also aware that at any moment an earthquake can occur. It’s a seismic zone and we need to be prepared. There’s an established culture of civil protection, but it is important to strengthen it, and it’s important that everyone knows what to do if the earth trembles. People need to have safe places to go, documents, battery powered lamps and radios, water reserves, and such things ready.”



nformation is one of the most important tools when it comes to being prepared to respond to emergencies. The General Coordinator of the Office of Government, Public Safety and Civil Protection of Mexico City, Carlos Sainz Luna, stresses the importance of citizen participation. “Programs and plans should be made jointly. No government of any size and even with unlimited resources can put all of its citizens out of danger from every calamity. It’s simply not possible.” This is why citizen participation is crucial. The Department of Civil Protection of the Federal District defines itself as the manager of emergency services and all of the individual organizations responsible for protecting residents from disasters, of natural or human origin. The department acts to identify, analyze and manage risks that may result in harm to the population. They also plan and operate in high-risk areas, implement environmental measures to preserve natural areas, verify the enforcement of construction standards, and monitor public and private buildings that have internal programs for civil protection. When people know what steps to take in the event of a disaster, the cost in human lives is dramatically reduced. In order to keep the public well informed, the Department of Civil Protection maintains a website to provide continual advice and news. After the health warning was issued in the Mexican capital with the outbreak of H1N1 influenza, all the information needed was posted there for any citizen to consult. According to Luna, the country has made significant strides in the field of Civil Protection. In particular the operation of an early warning earthquake alarm system, a Mexican invention with international certification that has operated in Mexico City since 1991. The system issues a public alarm when an earthquake of a magnitude greater than 6.6 degrees is approaching. The alarm allows the public about 60 seconds to reach safety before the quake impacts the city. This system works based on information from the Seismic Registry and Instrumentation center which operates 12 sensors always on alert along the coast of the state of Guerrero. A radio sends continual information to the Federal District to allow for early action. The department’s website also allows citizens to access the permanent monitoring of the Popocatépetl volcano with images from three stations: Altzomoni, Tlamacas, and Tianguismanalco. And a directory provides easy access to emergency services phone numbers in the city. The work of the Department of Civil Protection is constant and its mission is to continually reduce the number of emergencies based on preventive action. In 2009, the budget for Civil Protection was US$10.5 million. Important progress has been achieved in just one year. During 2008, 1,628 fires were reported, while in 2009 the number actually dropped to 993. Incidents of flooding declined by almost 50%, from 1,131 in 2008 to 519 in 2009.

In order to keep the public informed, the Department of Civil Protection maintains a website to provide continual advice and news.

To ensure that adequate information and citizen involvement continues to inform and improve the department, the city also maintains a Civil Protection Council in which private enterprise plays an active role. In a disaster, the loss of human lives and the paralysis of the city creates a political and economic catastrophe at the very center of the country. This can quickly result in economic stagnation with national implications. To address this important issue, Mexico City is prepared to react in worst case scenarios. The 1985 earthquake and the outbreak of the H1N1 virus both showed very positive results in spite of overwhelming circumstances. Emergency services always strive to achieve efficiency sufficient to better respond and overcome any incapacities they may confront in difficult situations.

“Society has progressed, becoming more attentive and participating, not only in cases of emergency, but also in terms of conscience. Better behavior leads to lower risks for everyone.”   THE TOPOS de TLATELOLCO


n 1985, the Federal District was hit by an earthquake of 8.1 degrees on the Richter scale which in just over two minutes killed approximately 10,000 people. Immediately following the quake, an informal rescue team was formed. Today it is known as the Topos de Tlatelolco Rescue Squad. Specializing in major catastrophes, the team’s international reputation has grown to the extent that, today, it is a world leader when it comes to natural disasters, collapses from human error or any other situation where the rescue of people in confined, dangerous spaces is necessary. “Los topos,” as they are known in Mexico City, are at the vanguard in providing these services in even the remotest parts of the world. Recently, they have participated in rescue operations after the Pacific tsunami in 2004 and the recent disaster in Haiti.




Mexico City’s government

is highly committed to transforming the city into a knowledge-based economy, and Campus Biometrópolis is one of the projects most representative of that commitment. Through cutting-edge design, and close ties to the Mexico City-South Health Complex, the campus will provide best-in-class health services for all of Latin America.



he commission for the masterplan for Campus Biometrópolis was awarded to the internationally prestigious architecture firm Foster+Partners. Well known for sustainable developments built to LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards, Foster+Partners designed this campus to be Latin America’s most environmentally and ecologically sustainable development. Among the experts being relied upon to realize the project is no less than Sam Pitroda, former President of the Knowledge Commission of India, and Elis Rubinstein, President of the New York Academy of Sciences. Betting on high tech knowledge-based projects, the government of the city, through Biometrópolis, is encouraging cooperation between the pub-


lic, private and academic sectors. The project merges technology and research, to create an innovation-based micro-economy that includes residential, cultural and commercial areas along with those for health and research fields. Biometrópolis will offer world-class service facilities for medical development along with engineering and biotechnology. The campus will attract national and international pharmaceutical laboratories, hospitals, medical and educational institutions, among others. It seeks to create a lively and diverse community with the participation of residents, those who come to the campus to work and visitors. Its extensive mixed uses facilities will contribute to this goal.


RICARDO MATEU Partner of Foster + Partners

Campus Biometrópolis is the first project that renowned architecture firm Foster + Partners has developed in Mexico. Biometrópolis is to be a center of medical excellence, but also a collaborative community, where spaces for living, working and playing will be in balance.

“Our design for Campus Biometrópolis draws from Mexican architecture. It re-interpretates the patio, and integrates a thriving street life with open courtyards and public plazas.”


    How was Biometrópolis conceived architecturally?

The project was conceived as an environmentally sensitive response to the site, which would preserve the local ecology and the area’s geological features. At the same time, the developed part of the site will have the character of a thriving academic campus, with direct links to the adjacent academic institutions and the wider medical cluster to the south of the metropolitan area of Mexico City. The project’s primary aim is to create a center of medical excellence, focused on a new hospital. The design approach draws inspiration from Mexican architecture and urban planning: the re-interpretation of the patio and the integration of a thriving street life with open courtyards and public plazas is a key aspect of the project.

    What kind of challenges does Foster + Partners face with a project of this nature?

The arrangement of buildings navigates the Pedregal lava fields, with the network of subterranean lava tubes and caves, sections of which will be accessible to encourage scientific investigation. This presented a specific challenge, as the tough volcanic rock on the site makes excavation difficult. At the same time, it provides a much firmer base

141 Artist’s Rendering of Biometrópolis

and has much more favorable seismic conditions than other parts of the city, such as Paseo de la Reforma or the Historic Center.

project also heralds new thinking about transport: it continues and expands initiatives such as Mexico City’s cycle share scheme, as well as encouraging people to adopt public transport with a Pumabus (internal free bus network) or Metrobus link to the nearby UNAM metro station.

such as landscape architects Grupo de Diseño Urbano to help achieve a balance between protecting a vital wilderness and enabling the protection of that environment through inward investment.

At least half of the site will be maintained as green space - more than half of this will be made up of a nature reserve. The scarcity of water is a major issue within the metropolitan area. The net result of the development should be to augment the recharging of the aquifer, by assisting natural collection in green areas with water harvested from all landscaped and built areas, including the run-off from adjacent sites. Rainwater will be stored on site and re-injected into the aquifer. In addition, most built structures will have ‘green roofs’ for use as gardens, nurseries for the cultivation of medicinal plants, scientific study and water collection. We have worked closely with the Department of the Environment and the Department of Urban Development, and with local experts

learn and this is an exciting process. We pride ourselves in understanding the genius loci of every location where we work and that knowledge is used to create a building or master plan that is unique to the place.

    What are the values that guide the project, aesthetically, functionally and conceptually? If Biometrópolis is to be   How has the experience of working in a temple of knowledge, how has that Mexico City been so far? shaped the architectural concept?     The place where Biometrópolis is It’s an exciting place to be working. As well The principal values are openness and to be built is one of the few remaining as being very welcoming, the culture and flexibility. There must be a balance be- green areas within the city. How will this architectural traditions are fascinating. tween the spaces for living, working and be dealt with? With every new project there are things to playing. Public space is an important part of creating a community, along with spaces that promote co-operation, integration and communication. The design features internal, semi-covered and external courtyard spaces and plazas, which promote the level of collaboration needed to address some of the most complex scientific research and medical problems.

    What will Biometrópolis come to represent for the city? What will it do for the city?

As well as establishing a center of medical excellence, the campus will function as a highly collaborative space, bringing significant employment opportunities for young Mexican healthcare professionals, as well as those working in auxiliary services. The

    How has the city influenced the project?

The initial stages of the master plan involved an in-depth study of the culture and typology of Mexico City and the wider region. Working with local experts, this analysis was expanded to look at the detailed nature of existing street and building typology. The character of the city’s historic buildings and public spaces certainly influenced our approach, in particular the many examples of patios as well as the street life of the ‘mercado,’ which are highly prevalent in Mexican architecture.




bringing together all aspects of HealtH,

it will be supported by academical members from UNAM, medical experts from the National Institutes of Health and the participation of the pharmaceutical and bio-tech industries.

153,600 offices

Community Health Sciences, Research 49% 51% + Development

120,000 hospitals

Area, in square meters

20,520 illness control & prevention 27,600 scientific research

46,800 education

36,000 clinical studies

36,000 post-clinical studies

Strategic Water Use on Campus Green roofs

Reflecting pool

100% of water is recycled

Water Treatment Plant*

Controlled re-introduction of rain water to groundwater 24 hour storage tank for used water system

*For toilets watering the lawn

60,000 bio-tech companies

Normal soil filtration is unaffected by the development

The project aims for infiltration into the subsoil of 75% more than a traditional building of the same scope.


COMMUNITY: Campus Biometr贸polis

will create more than

GREEN AREAS 87 tons of CO2

15,000 highly specialized jobs.

have the capacity to eliminate

emissions, and to generate 185 tons of clean Oxygen each year.

Artist Rendering of the Biometr贸polis Campus


Mexico City, June 2010

DR. MANUEL H. RUIZ D E C H Ă V E Z President of the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico

MEXICO CITY : A Space for Knowledge, Opportunity and Certainty 144


exico City is a universe inhabited by many other universes. As is the case with other large cities in the world, Mexico City responds primarily to demands that are inherent in pretty much any contemporary society: the search for alternatives and the un-ending drive for access to better living conditions. The phenomenon of migration is entwined with the history of this city, which has always had its door open to receiving people from other cultures. Economical factors, of course, play a crucial role in understanding this dinamic social mobility, but it is also attributable to the fact that this city is the most important political, social and cultural center of the country. I have experienced this metropolis, since I was a teenager, with all of its intense activity, growth and changes, its incessant transformation and, at times, its permanence. I have seen it from one pole to the other, in the changing of schools, in the pursuit of friendships, new discoveries, wonders and in the vibrancy of its people. Since I decided to study medicine and to devote myself to the task of pursuing the welfare of others, I followed good advice and I presumed -not without some timidity- to seek



the adventure of guidance from those who know much more than one alone could. I had the good fortune, one which I still celebrate, to meet a major figure in medicine, Dr. Ignacio Chávez: “The Founder of Institutions,” as he was rightly addressed by Nobel Laureate and Poet, Octavio Paz. He will remain a landmark in the history of modern Mexico. Under his direction, but with fresh eyes, I realized the enormous wealth housed in our city, the nation’s capital. I discovered an inexhaustible center of knowledege in the fields of medicine and the health sciences. Over time, the contributions of other great instructors have grown and become stronger, inspiring and mentoring restless and adventurous young people. Today, Mexico City is home to the most important National Institutes of Health, centers of specialized medicine and research. A majority of all prestigious centers for research in the country are here, among them the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), recently awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in recognition of its contributions to sciences in the country. Likewise, private associations, corporations, schools DR. MANUEL H. RUIZ DE CHÁVEZ is a physician who graduated from the and cultural centers have a home in the National Autonomous University of city. Without detriment to the many othMexico. He received his Masters Degree from the University of London. ers not mentioned, the National Academy Having held numerous positions in public service and the academic of Medicine of Mexico, with nearly a cenworld, including the chairmanship of both the Mexican Health Fountury of uninterrupted academic achievedation and the Mexican Foundation for Innovation and Transfer of ment, the National Academy of Sciences, Technology, Ruiz de ChÁvez is currently President of the Mexican the National College, and the College of Academy of Medicine. Mexico, can also be found in the capital.



We boast the biggest decision-making capacity and the most modern infrastructure in terms of research and health care in the country. The city has the largest number of hospitals, clinics and social security centers. The Department of Health, which is the highest federal health authority in Mexico, is also to be found here. The private health sector, constituted by important players like Grupo Ángeles and Médica Sur, and important national and international insurance companies, are based in the capital. Being a unique center for knowledge and development, investing in the city is a phenomenal opportunity, it offers confidence and certainty. The most renowned scholars and researchers in the basic sciences, clinical professionals like surgeons and professors are present both in the context of institutional and public services, as they are in the private sphere. Still, Mexico City is much more: a milenary receptacle of history. In its neighborhoods and boroughs, in its colonial buildings, museums, and public spaces for assembly and recreation, we can experience that special energy that distinguishes and incites those who inhabit the city and those who visit. Just to mention a few of the most beautiful places, the old town of Tlalpan with its precious plaza and its cultural inheritance, its cafes and restaurants, combines unparalleled colonial splendour with the canons of modern urbanism, as do Coyoacán and San Ángel. In the north of the city we can look out on traditional neighborhoods that have retained their own particular atmosphere such as those in Azcapozalco, Clavería or Lindavista. It is impossible, then, to omit the park at Chapultepec with its castle, the Paseo de la Reforma, or the newer developments in Santa Fe or Interlomas. But beyond all of the above, it is the Historic Center that takes the first


“ For the years to come, drawing on the traditions of our native people and our cultural greatness will present the biggest of all opportunities.�


prize. Seat of our native settlers, whose secrets present unfathomable marvels and where new archaeological discoveries are presented to us even today. This city has a surprising ability to grow spectacularly, to extend and renew itself everyday, and yet to always be the same. Within this megalopolis, inspiration is germinated. For those who want to live near knowledge, seize opportunities in a growing economy and an ever increasing modernization, and witness the rapid changes offered by medical science innovations and advances in health care, the city offers everything. The windows to generate ideas are opened widely, but they also require considerable investments. There is indeed human talent with sufficient preparation, vision, ability and creativity to advance the sciences, arts and culture. Likewise, in the areas of services, there are important niches of opportunity to provide health care, to enhance the development of telecommunications and transportation, to create new businesses with a long term sustainable vision and to discover new competitive markets. For the years to come, drawing on the traditions of our native people and our cultural greatness, recreating it and making it known to the world will present the biggest of all opportunities. Mexico City is a living space, a generator of life.


free Seguro Popular,

Medical services of the IMSS and ISSSTE are to workers of affiliated companies and their immediate families. Those who fall outside this coverage may now apply for a government-sponsored insurance program.

431 years With


undergraduate students and


graduate students,

THE UNAM is the only school with more MEDICAL graduate Students than undergrads .

Dr. Enrique Graue, Director of the Faculty of Medicine, UNAM.

The faculty of Medicine at the UNAM is 431 years old and is the largest medical school in Latin America .


Southwards from the United States, Mexico is in first place in terms of health care.


Mexico is an attractive medical tourism destination for its excellent human resources, outstanding care and cost differentials. KLAUS BOKER, President of the Board of the ABC Medical Group.



The National Institutes of Health offer medical care, scientific research and advanced training for medical specialists - a model of Mexican medical excellence.

Mexico City is one of the most advanced in the world in the field of bioethics. In 2007, the city passed the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy Law and in 2008 the

advance directive law.

Health care Coverage is almost

100% in Mexico City.

best researchers

Young doctors

from all over the world, especially those from Central and South America , come to Mexico City to study specialized medicine.

All public spaces in Mexico City are

smoke-free. According to the National Consortium of Science and Technology (CONACyT), Mexico’s National Institutes of Health have the best researchers in biomedicine in the country, if not in the entire region. In all of the areas of science where Mexico conducts research, medical science is the most successful.

Areli Carre贸n

Areli Carre贸n is

the President of the Board of Bicitekas, a non-profit organization that advocates for bicycling. In the near

future They will be opening a center for urban cycling in the city. Among the projects organized by Bicitekas is a Weekly Night BikeRide, the Naked Cyclist Demonstrations which draw attention to the issue and multiple rallies in the city. Carre贸n explains that the implementation of the bicycle as a method of transportation is a good response to the energy and environmental crises that confront the city and to the chaos of traffic.




historic center

On a daily basis I experience the delicate equilibrium of Mexico City. Haunted by the challenges inherent in its own immensity, it is a capital moved by its own citizens, accustomed to survive the haste, conflicts and gaps in services. Inspired by the individuality of the ancient streets, its old and modern façades and neighborhoods present the possibility of wonder at every turn. Its best kept secret is the network of inhabitant’s relationships, where you can always find a human face, a party that unifies everyone, or that one reliable person... I am a witness to the reality that knowledge is everywhere in this city; in neighborhoods that maintain a legacy of trades and in long remembered traditions, in the impressive skills with which the residents of Mexico City generate ideas, grow and offer innovative solutions to urban problems. Many of the neighborhoods where this can be appreciated best are themselves optimally visited by bicycle.

Development is the elusive goal of every thinker in economics, business, finance and city planning. It is the celebrated inspiration for thousands of acts of government, private industry, non-governmental organizations, and individual players hoping that their decisions have a positive effect in their community. Development paradigms have changed over the last several decades and Mexico City leads its region not only in experimenting with new models but in implementing the tried and true. Development based on sustainable models of knowledge and innovation is being bolstered by a solid commitment to equitable and comprehensive reform. Growth in multiple sectors is supported by public iniciatives that bridge the most important creators of knowledge, innovation and applied solutions to today’s development issues.









 INTERVIEW with Javier Gavito Mohar, P.162 Director of the Federal Mortgage Society

ECONOMIC PROFILE P.164 CITY FINANCE P.166 MEXICO CITY banking P.168 INTERVIEW with Martha Schteingart, P.170

Researcher at the Center for Demographic, Urban and Environmental Studies

Points of View Civil Society Academia Government Private sector

THE INFORmal economy P.172 public safety P.174 INTERVIEW with Rogelio Gómez Hermosillo, P.176

President of Alianza Cívica

COMpetitiveness P.180 diversity P.184 INTERVIEW with Carmen Aristegui, P.186

to SEE THE CITY P.188 INTERVIEW with Gabriel Quadri, P.191

Director of Ecosecurities




Journalist and expert on Mexican politics

P.192 P.194 P.200

business buildings - Santa Fe




looking at development in any emerging market will examine the growth rate of the GDP, market prices and the rate of inflation. Urbanization and investment in infrastructure - as well as the state of the infrastructure itself - are big factors, especially mobile telephony and internet coverage.

But more colorful indicators like new train lines introduced and the number of buses that ply the highways as well as new investments registered and the amount and quality of investments and their correlation to any fiscal or national deficit can all begin to give an economist the picture of an economy’s development potential. And of course the presence of shipping or trucking ports, international airports, and the amount of cargo turnover and passenger inflow - and how all of these numbers change over time - will keep anyone interested in development busy. Often, they are looking at national or regional economies, but Mexico City can be looked at in the same way. Mexico City is enormous. Flying over it can take 20 minutes and, in square kilometers, the city is only slightly less than the entire island of Puerto Rico. Its neighborhoods stretch some 68 kilometers from Cuautitlån Izcalli in the North to Santa Ana Tlacotenco in the South and 48 kilometers from San Lorenzo Acopilco in the West to Chimulhuacån in the East. Since 1995, net migration to Mexico City has been negative. Today fewer new people arrive than those who move away. The population of the metropolitan area is probably more than 21 millions of inhabitants, five times larger than Guadalajara, the second most populous city in Mexico. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the most populous municipality in the metropolitan area is Ecatepec, to the northwest of the city, with 1,688,258 people, while among the 16 boroughs of the Federal District, Iztapalapa, in the southwest, is home to 1,820,888 people. Both figures are from the 2005


census, which is expected to show an increase in Ecatepec in its 2010 version. By population, Mexico City is behind only Tokyo and Seoul. Per square kilometer, 5,896 people call Mexico City home. In terms of economic importance, the city also looms large. The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) in 2010 called the Federal District the most competitive political entity in the country, just above the states of Nuevo León and Querétaro. In 1960, the metropolitan area contributed a third of the national GDP. This figure reached a peak of almost 38% in 1980, but since then it has steadily declined and stands at about 30% of the GDP today. Mexico City’s financial and commercial activities also put the city in front. With a AAA debt rating, the city is the center of financial and commercial activity in the entire country. The Stock Exchange and the Bank of Mexico are two very important indicators, but so is the Central de Abastos, the central wholesale market, from which an enormous quantity of the country’s produce are distributed. More people make purchases there each day than live in the country of Belize. The GDP per capita of the inhabitants of the Federal District, excluding those of the metropolitan area, is equal to that of Portugal. Tax revenues are an important part of any picture of the city. The Federal District generates 55% of value added tax (VAT) collected in the entire country, 48% of income tax (ISR) and 60% of the tax on cash deposits (IDE). And while all of this economic activity is conducted primarily in Spanish, the official language of the country, at least 440,000 people speak English. Another 40,000 people were raised speaking Náhuatl and 60,000 others speak Otomi, Mixtec, Zapotec or Mazahua, all within the same city. This cultural diversity prevails everywhere in Mexico City, where churches, temples, synagogues and mosques gather people to



express their beliefs and where religion and history are constantly reinvigorated and re-invoked in the city’s streets. The country’s first legal civil marriages between gays and lesbians were performed in Mexico City, which represents a strong contribution to the city’s important and growing “creative class”, defined as including workers in science and technology, business and management, health care and law, arts, culture, design, media, and entertainment. More tolerant cities, it has been argued, offer far higher human development and more economic freedom to residents. Healthier cities do too. And for the first time, the rights, and health, of nonsmokers are fully protected in all public areas and buildings of the city. Mexico City is today an international benchmark by virtue of size, population, economic wealth and cultural diversity. However the city’s greatness stems from the people who inhabit its neighborhoods, streets and hundreds of communities. The Federal District has the highest human development index (HDI) in the country. The HDI is compiled by the UN and weights three variables: life expectancy at birth, education measured in terms of literacy and schooling rates, and standard of living, measured in GDP per capita in dollars. The HDI ratio for the metropolitan area is 0.8830, above the 0.7937 average for Mexico. Of the inhabitants of Mexico City who are old enough to attend school or who have completed primary education, 94.83% are literate. The national average is 88.69%. “Grande” is an old word. In English, the word implies much more than “largeness,” but also impressiveness, majesty, even magnificence. For more than 700 years, Tenochtitlan/Mexico City has been among the few grand, old cities of the Americas. To the generations who have built the city, development is still, maybe always, at the point of a bright beginning.


Taxes at Work Government Investments by Sector -in US$ Billion (approximate)-(%)

More than half the budget goes to connectivity and transportation infrastructure. Public Transportation





New Subway Line 12


Acquisition of trains for Subway Line A

Social programs



221.8 Zero Emissions Subway Corridor Maintenance Program



Aid to 50,690 people small and supported medium-sized through businesses unemployment and to the insurance. city’s public markets.

Scholarships for 200,000 students in the Prepa Sí Program.

Metrobus Line 3 Tenayuca-Etiopía



Assistance to the youngest: school lunches, school supplies, Niñ@s Talento and similar programs.

21,956 credits for improvement or acquisition of new houses



Urban Infrastructure


Public Water System

(3.02%) Health

(2.54%) Environment



Pension funds for senior citizens



Patrol cars and uniforms for the police force

8,000 surveillance cameras for the Bicentenario Project


Improvements in Plaza de la República, restoration of facades in the Historic Center, Plaza Garibaldi renovations



Other street repairs

Bicentennial roadway improvements



Substitution of drinking water networks

Installation of water meters

79 Water treatment plant improvements and construction



Vaccines for health centers

Medicines for the hospital network


Conservation soil


Magdalena River Recovery Project







billion (100%)






SOURCE: SecretarĂ­a de Finanzas del Distrito Federal, as of 2009 to be revised in 2010.

Point of View


Javier Gavito Mohar Javier Gavito Mohar was the Antonio Carrillo Flores Chair in Finance at the Centre for Research and Graduate Studies of the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM) where he was also Professor of Finance. Having served as Vice President of Financial Analysis & Development for the National Banking and Securities Commission, Gavito Mohar was later CEO of the National Savings and Financial Services Bank (BANSEFI). He also served as CEO of Banking and Savings in the Mexico City Department of Finance and Public Credit, and is currently General Director of the Federal Mortgage Society (SHF).

“During the last decade, Mexico has seen an increase in housing construction, from 5,000 to about

600,000 units annually.”

The Federal Mortgage Society is a financial subsidiary of the Mexican Development Bank, which aims to boost savings and credit programs for housing. The Society encourages adequate conditions for Mexican families, in urban or rural areas, to access mortgage credit and thus enjoy decent, technologically modern, functional housing and services. The society also promotes legal security for homeowners irrespective of marital status, children, employment or self-employment status.     What is Integrated Sustainable Urban Development (DUIS) and how does it work?

During the last decade, Mexico has seen an increase in housing construction, from 5,000 to about 600,000 units annually. Given the need to build houses on this scale - to address the historical lag in available housing - many developers and companies have taken part in the boom. But they’ve had to continue building outside of the cities in the suburban areas. Most of these houses are very basic and built on cheap land. And

although it’s helped to resolve the issue of the housing deficit, it also created the problem of dormitory towns, where inhabitants are forced to move themselves to where the builders have created available housing and then to spend a long time commuting to work. This greatly reduces their quality of life, even if they do have a house, and doesn’t improve the quality or the value of the communities. Since this recent boom, the alternative, building housing on sustainable land, has

generated a lot of interest among developers who’ve approached the government for support. Early on, though, we didn’t have answers or any clear policy. So we decided to meet with all of the federal agencies who are working on issues related to this topic. We talked to the various departments of government and coordinated efforts and jointly we were able to establish the concept and the parameters of DUIS. The intention is to see that housing, going forward, is built for sustaina-

DE VELOPMENT ble, integrated urban environments and that developers be certified to build within these parameters.

    Is DUIS the equivalent of ID certification in the US or is this a different model for building certification?

It’s a certification of a sustainable, integral environment, that goes well beyond the notion of simply building. A community has to include all of the services for people who live there as well as for their jobs, shops, parks, administrative services, health centers, clinics, and spaces for social interaction, entertainment and living. There also need to be discussions over power and water plants, toxic waste treatment, all at the same time that the houses are being built. These need to be environmentally sustainable, and energy efficient. We’re trying to wisely rehabilitate community spaces.

    How do these programs fall under the rubric of “green housing?”

The houses we’re going to be pushing and financing have high-tech components that can be adapted depending on the different weather or climatic conditions. A second stage will include the plumbing, drains, and the lighting of internal roads, all with sustainable technologies, water treatment plants, and toxic waste management for all kinds of garbage. This is an investment opportunity for public-private partnerships and where private companies that specialize in these technologies can come and work with the government, at the municipal or local level, in order to produce these technologies.

    What areas need to be explored for the development of investment in Mexico City? We’re in the process of further clarifying the DUIS parameters along with the Institute of Housing for the Federal District with regard to the distinct needs of the district. The DUIS for urban re-densification, for example, are much more related to build-


ing upwards. But affordable housing should never be synonymous with impoverished ghettos. We need to find an appropriate mix of different housing technologies that allow us to provide high quality solutions to housing in the city and in rural areas as well. We have a great investment opportunity in many ways and capital is needed for all kinds of basic infrastructure, like electric plants, water plants, health clinics, and for public and private schools.

    How is growth in the mortgage industry?

The last decade saw the fastest pace of growth ever in Mexico’s housing industry, we’re now in the process of recovering that rhythm. There are still plenty of families who need solutions to housing problems and I would say that we’re still in a period of great dynamism and continued growth. We build more than a million houses a year but a housing solution is not always about a family buying a new home. Buying a used home or sometimes renting is very often an improvement on existing conditions. We’re implementing solutions for rural, low-income assisted self-production, which is to say, the house is produced through industrial processes but the community participates in a design that saves building materials.

    How has Mexico fared in the financial crisis? How do Mexico’s reactions compare with responses given by other countries?

Mexico’s response was less because the crisis in this area was smaller. We were affected because of our proximity to the US, but the financial sector in Mexico was very strong at the time. The banking crisis was not nearly as severe as in other countries. The one area where there was a significant effect on the Mexican financial system was with the independent mortgage companies. There was a problem of liquidity and with corporations’ renewals of capital contracts. The Development Banks had to come to the rescue by pro-

The intention is to see that housing, going forward, is built for sustainable, integrated urban environments and that developers be certified to build within these parameters. viding liquidity to the market and to find solutions for mediation without any kind of repayment.

    Based in your own experience, what would you say is the most urgent infrastructure Mexico City needs today?

We have to grow vertically. We have to find adequate space to produce housing in a sustainable environment and we need to give people the opportunity to work and live in the city, and to buy a decent home at an affordable price. The issue of transportation needs to be improved urgently, but to the extent that people will travel less when their home is near to their workplace the quality of life can be increased that much easier. We need to make smart developments where we provide access to community services and with sensitivity to designated parking. We have to plan the development of housing in different ways and then adapt DUIS to the specifics of Mexico City.

Economic Profile Mexico City has been described as the most valuable and complex work that the Mexican people have built in their long and complicated history. About 22% of the Gross Domestic Product of the entire nation is produced each year within the capital, which is also the most important link between the domestic economy and economies all over the world.


Aving changed by leaps and bounds in the last hundred years, what we call Mexico City today was - less than a century ago - merely a collection of small inter-connected towns and villages. A network of trams ran from the center of the city to the far reaches of the Valley of Mexico. The importance of the metropolitan area is based in both its political and economic significance to the rest of the country, in addition to the more than 20 million people inhabiting the city and its suburbs. About 30% of Mexico’s entire national population resides in the greater Mexico City area. Like cities all over the world, Mexico City experienced an extended process of deindustrialization. According to the Mexico City Economic Forum, in the 1970s the metropolitan area generated 50% of manufacturing output of the national economy. The Federal District alone accounted for about 30%. Economic growth in the entire country largely depended on growth within the metropolitan area throughout this period. Like most Latin American countries, Mexico during these years encouraged domestic industry under the so-called “import-substitution model” which protected emerging industries from international competition. The import-substitution model allowed Argentina, between 1945 and 1975, to reach a level of economic maturity comparable with the world’s most developed countries. In Mexico, at the beginning of the 1980s, the average import duty stood at about 40%, favoring economic concentration, and in the case of Mexico City, further urban agglomeration and economic growth. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), by the late 1980s, the metropolitan area’s contribution to the

national industrial output had fallen to 33% when import duties also fell to 14%. In 1988 import barriers for most manufactured goods were lifted. This process of gradual economic opening would be made manifest in 1994 with Mexico’s entry into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Between 1990 and 2000, the Mexican economy grew by 1.7%. Brazil grew by 1.3%, Argentina by 1.2% and Cuba by 0.6%, according to the OECD. The main effect of deindustrialization and economic openness in the city was the rise and consolidation of the services sector of the economy. In 2008, trade in the city in insurance and financial services accounted for 19% and 12% of GDP respectively. Recent years have seen increases in sub-sectors such as construction (4%), communications (7%), and business support services (6%). The manufacturing industry, although reduced in scale, continues to contribute with 11% of the GDP while trade and financial services now make up the most important sectors of the urban economy. The services sector in the city today contributes half of the total GDP, and although in 2009 there was a decrease in wholesale and retail sales as a result of the international recession there are visible signs of recovery in 2010. Mexico City’s construction sector grew by 20% in 2009 and represented 28% of the total value generated by all construction companies across the country. The capital’s financial sector managed to hold onto 34% of all employees in the sector. In total, 17% of the country’s checking accounts and 16% of the savings accounts are held by residents of the Federal District. One of the greatest challenges facing the economy of the city is the increase in outsourcing. Work is still necessary to generate human capital prepared for global competition and sufficient resources need to be allocated for the promotion of knowledge, technology and innovation as new sources of economic development. These processes also generate public and private investment, and are primary generators of employment. They increase access to goods and services to much of the population. Since 2000, according to the OECD, Mexico’s economy has grown by 1.4% over those of Chile’s 1% and Uruguay’s 0.8%. The challenge remains to include ever greater numbers of people in economic development, to guarantee fairness and increased quality of life for the 20 million inhabitants of the second largest city in the world.

About 30% of Mexico’s entire national population resides in the greater Mexico City area.

A City of Sustainable Growth Gross Domestic Product in the Federal District, 1975-2005(%). 0.1


Trade & Services Industry Agriculture


77.2 0.3



78.5 0.7



75.2 0.7




SOURCES:1975-1985; Dávila, Enrique, "The Economics of Mexico City. Evolution, Structure and Prospects," in Ricardo Samaniego Breach (ed.), Ensayos sobre la Economía de la Ciudad de México, Pórtico de la Ciudad, 1992. Data for 1990-2005; (INEGI).

  Central de Abastos


Recent years

have seen a clear increase in

sub-sectors such as construction



tele and business communications

support services


rom 1880 until the late 1970s, the La Merced market in Mexico City’s Historic Center was the principle supplier of food and related goods to the entire city. As a response to the pressure on the center of the city from urban growth and traffic congestion, the Central de Abastos, the central wholesale market, opened in 1982 as the principle wholesale market for the metropolitan area. Designed by a team of architects led by Abraham Zabludovsky, the ultimate goal of the project was to create an optimized center for the transport, storage and distribution of produce and related goods to the wholesale trade throughout the Valley of Mexico. “Abastos” currently supplies the network of the city’s public markets, street markets, convenience stores, hotels, restaurants and shopping districts, not only in Mexico City, but in 22 other states. Because of the variety of products offered, including specialized foods, fruits, vegetables, groceries, poultry, meats, and packaging, the center is a unique transfer point and cultural center for the entire region. A major indicator of food and agricultural prices for the entire country, the Central de Abastos is also among the largest produce distribution centers anywhere in the world. Covering an area of 304 hectares - it is 55 times the size of the Zócalo in Mexico City’s center. It is followed in size by the International Market of Rungis in France at 232 hectares and the Merca Madrid at 176 hectares. “Abastos” accounts for annual sales of about US$9 billion, trade exceeded in Mexico only by the stock exchange. This trade is generated by 350,000 daily visitors who come in search of products from all over Mexico. They arrive at the center in 1.8 million vehicles every month, and every day 10,000 delivery vehicles leave from “Abastos” for points all over the metropolitan area.


city finance In 2009, the Mexico City’s Department of Finance sent out about 4 million letters of congratulations to taxpayers who had paid their taxes on time. This new approach to finance also includes transparency in managing the finances of the city and in divulging how the current government invests money collected from taxpayers. The letter explained how the city spent every peso received.


Esidents of the city began, at long last, to understand how taxes collected by the city are ultimately distributed. The budgetary items of greatest importance to the city are infrastructure development and social programs. In the first case, the city is currently investing in several major infrastructure projects. These include the construction of the new subway line 12, now considered the largest public works project in Latin America, the third line of the Metrobus Bus Rapid Transit System, the repair and maintenance of numerous streets, a major rain water drainage system, construction of new water treatment plants and the repair and construction of new drinking water networks. Social programs, on the other hand, include investment in the care of 480,000 adults over 68 years of age, providing 116 million school breakfasts, support for 50,000 unemployed persons collecting insurance, and scholarships for 240,000 students enrolled in the city’s school system. In recent years, the strategy of the city has been to turn increasingly to its own tax base as the federal government provides fewer resources than it did in the past. The new situation resulted from the federal fiscal coordination law which contains criteria for the distribution of taxes collected throughout the country intended to better assist municipalities with low revenue collection. This has increasingly affected the city in recent years, since Mexico City contributes some 55% of the national sales tax, 48% of federal income tax and 60% of the tax on cash deposits. While 2009 federal revenues transferred to the city accounted for

52% of total revenues of the city, that number dropped to 45% in 2010. Thus, the city needed to significantly alter its budgets to sustain sound public finances and increase local revenue. The city also made progress with regard to debt in recent years. In 2007, 90% of debt was refinanced. This move extended bond duration, lowered fixed interest rates one percentage point and released resources for short-term use. The city currently has a AAA financial rating. The local administration considers sound finance, economic growth and private investment essential to the city’s future. Providing sufficient incentives for both taxpayers and investors to explore the options that the city offers is a major part of that initiative. New technologies, for the payment of taxes as well as to reduce paperwork, have been introduced. Modernization of the property tax registry may be among the largest ever undertaken given the size of the city. A series of tax incentives aimed at entrepreneurs and investors has also opened the city to further private investment. In the past the private sector was limited to participating in infrastructure development through two narrow channels: temporary permits or revocable grants. A new legal framework in the city allows new forms of public-private cooperation, so that the options like public-private partnerships, joint ventures, long-term leases, and similar financial schemes are now possible. These have allowed the city to attract investment in publicprivate infrastructure of nearly US$6.7 million since the new rules went into effect. Tax cuts for high technology, real estate acquisition in priority areas of the city, for small and medium enterprises to increase capacity, for the manufacturing and assembly industry, and for street vendors who relocate to formal commercial space have all seen positive results. A glance at the big picture reveals a city whose public finances are healthy and are supporting an engine of economic development and investment. Work remains to be done in strengthening tax collection and reducing tax evasion, but the city believes transparency and divulgence of exactly how taxes are spent is the best way forward. In that sense, the city has already taken the first big steps and the results are encouraging.

Public finance is supporting an engine of economic development and investment.

ADAPTATION school- Doctores neighborhood

The city attracted investment in publicprivate infrastructure of nearly


beneficiary of the Pension program for Senior Citizens

6.7 Million

since the new public-private Partnership Laws went into effect.


mexico city Banking In 2008, a whopping 55% of Mexico’s financial GDP was generated in the Federal District. Compared with its 18% share in national GDP during the same year, the leading role that the city plays in the national financial sector is undeniable. The financial sector also plays an important part in the city’s economy, accounting for 14% of the Federal District’s GDP according to the national statistics and geography institute.


Exico City has been the country’s financial innovator since the late nineteenth century. Although the church had previously taken care of the money lending business, the history of formal banking in Mexico starts in 1864 when the emblematic Bank of London, Mexico and South America set up a branch in Mexico City. This started the discrete but steady growth of banking institutions opening branches mainly in Mexico City, but also in Chihuahua, where the country’s mining operations were headquartered. The next landmark of the city’s banking history was the 1881 opening of the Mexican National Bank with capital from the Franco-Egyptian Bank headquartered in Paris. Before the establishment of a central bank, currency was issued from the private banking sector. Thus, with few regulations and no gold standard to back them up, the institutions set about controlling the monetary supply of the country almost unsupervised. After the Revolution in 1910, and the ratification of Constitution of 1917, a National Bank with the exclusive purview of issuing currency was established and by 1925, the Bank of Mexico began operating in downtown Mexico City. By the end of the 1970s, regulatory and institutional changes finally permitted the formation of larger banking conglomerates. These centralized most of the financial services offered within one corporate operation and coincided with more general centralization in the country and the heavy flows of migration towards Mexico City. This further strengthened the city’s position as the financial heart of the country. In 1982, President José López Portillo nationalized all private banking institutions. This put banking under the control of the federal government and again strengthened the forces of unified power. The government was now a banker and the city was the epicenter from which financing flowed to the rest of the country. The experiment of nationalization was shortlived. By 1990, the Mexican government had sold off its banking interests at the moment a new era of globalized banking began. During the 1990’s, the banking system began a process of lowering the entrance barriers for international banking institutions. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) included provisions to permit a certain con-

centration of foreign interests in the banking sector. This period began in 1994 and ended in 1999, when the initial 8% cap on foreign owned banks was to be increased to 15%. The process suffered a disruption in 1995 when the peso was sent spiraling downward as a huge public debt crisis quickly resulted in a crisis of private debt that severely injured the banking sector. As a result, even more foreign capital was needed and the 15% cap was increased to an anticipated 25% limit on foreign ownership of banks. The second part of the process began in 1998, one year before the end date. During this stage, all restrictions were eliminated and two huge mergers dominated the banking sector. In 2000, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBV) merged with Bancomer. In 2001, Citibank bought a controlling interest in Banamex. This meant that the two biggest banks in the country were now partly foreign. In 1992, foreign capital held less than a 1% share of the financial sector in Mexico, but by 2001, that percentage was 87.6%. Today, a number of factors contribute to the city’s position as the principal financial center in the country. First, it is by far the largest market in the country. According to a 2007 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mexico City is the eighth largest urban agglomeration in the world in terms of GDP. With a GDP similar to that of London and Osaka, the city is the biggest market in Latin America, followed by Sao Paulo. With 19.1 million inhabitants, Mexico City presents a myriad of market opportunities for every type of business, including banks. The city is also the biggest market in terms of financial development and penetration. At the end of 2009, 26.7% of all bank branches in the country were located in the Federal District and the surrounding State of Mexico. Together, these two entities hold 25% of the country’s ATMs, and issue 65% of credit cards and 28% of debit cards. Another important advantage for the city is that it hosts the second largest stock exchange in Latin America, after that of Sao Paulo, and it is the main financial trading center for the country. The emblematic building of the Mexican Stock Exchange opened its doors on the city’s main street, Paseo de la Reforma, in April of 1990. Companies such as América Móvil (one of the largest telecommunications companies in South America) and Cemex (a major cement manufacturer) are traded in this institution and lend to the financial sector’s bustling character. The city’s strategic position is also very important. While the globalization of banking operations intensifies, Mexico City has consolidated as a hub from which to oversee international transactions and the local provision of services not only in Mexico but in all of Latin America. International banking institutions like Bank of America and Barclays Bank have begun financial operations in Mexico City as a way of strengthening their respective positions in the entire continent. It is also worth noting that Spanish banks such as Banco Santander and the aforementioned BBV both have tremendous stakes in the national market as do other European investment banks such as Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse.

With a GDP similar to that of London and Osaka, the city is the biggest market in Latin America, followed by Sao Paulo.

The City hosts the

the second largest

stock exchange

in latin america, and it is the main financial

trading center

for the country.

In 1992, foreign capital held less than a 1% share of the financial sector in Mexico, but by 2001, that percentage was 87.6


stock exchange- Reforma Avenue

As far as regulation, the Mexican financial system is ahead of many other countries in banking requirements. Pablo Galván Tellez, a professor of finance at Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM), states that Mexico’s past banking crises, particularly that of 1994, have taught valuable lessons to the country’s financial regulators that have resulted in a solid legal framework for the system. Capitalization and financial information disclosure requirements surpass even those of the new Basel III Standard. The city’s position as an international financial center will no doubt be strengthened in coming years as globalization and recovery from the recent crisis continue. As the developing world gains a bigger role on the global stage, it is likely that Mexico City’s position will be increasingly competitive in the banking and financial sector.

At the end of 2009,

26.7% of all bank branches in the country were located either in the Federal District

or in the surrounding Metropolitan area.

Point of View


Martha Schteingart Martha Schteingart is Professor and Researcher at the Center for Demographic, Urban and Environmental Studies (CEDUA) at the College of Mexico in Mexico City. Professor Schteingart is also Emeritus National Researcher in the National Researchers System and was elected to the Advisory Committee of the Office of the Ombusdman on Environmental and Urban Issues in the Federal District. One of the most prominent theorists in the field of Urban Studies in Latin America, she received the United Nations HABITAT Lecture Award in 2007.

Informal settlements have become characteristic in the urban development of all Latin American cities, And guaranteeing basic services to all citizens is a challenge that has yet to be met.

“Mexico has changed from being a rural country to one where around 80% of the population lives within urban areas.”

    Historically, how has the process of urban development been in Mexico City?

Foreign geographers and planners sometimes wonder how this town grew so much without being near a coast line, river or the like. Well, we should remember that the city was built on a lake. The city has its origin in pre-Columbian times and developed further in the Colonial Era. But most of the problems we’re facing today started between the 1940s and 50s, when population growth started to really increase. It was then that irregular and informal settlements began, mainly with people from rural areas or small villages who came to the city and had nowhere

else to stay. Even today, these settlements remain an important part of Mexico City’s urban landscape.

 How did these irregular settlements eventually become a part of the city?

Since the 1960s and 70s, the public sector began to develop housing institutions and policies favoring housing purchase, for lower-middle class people, but unfortunately, the support of these institutions never actually reached the very poor. The most marginalized groups have had no other choice but to invade or buy cooperative land that, until 1992, could not even be sold legally. These irregular settlements

were never equipped with the basic services that a planned community would have. The federal government and the respective local governments, rather than creating formal mechanisms whereby people could have access to a plot of land, have instead preferred to tolerate these illegal settlements, and to eventually regularize land tenure. Since the 1970s, Mexico has been one of the most advanced countries in terms of regularization of these kind of settlements particularly when compared to the rest of Latin America. Still, housing - and particularly health conditions remain precarious. In a research project I undertook some years ago, con-

DE VELOPMENT cerning habitat and health in poorer settlements, we came to the conclusion that respiratory, gastrointestinal and dermatological diseases are much more acute in these places than in Mexico City as a whole.

 Structurally, how does Mexico City compare with other big cities?

Mexico has changed from being a rural country to one where around 80% of the population lives within urban areas. Mexico City, like other Latin American cities, presents an enormous array of social strata. The more affluent areas have progressed significantly, but the conditions for poor families, which account for 40% of the population, have developed well below acceptable levels. And the differences have been increasing. High-income areas have seen an impressive modernization process and access to very sophisticated services like those available in the United States or in European cities. People with fewer resources, though, continue to survive as they did in the 1940s and 50s, without access to basic services and in poor housing which, in best-case scenarios, they’ve upgraded only through their own efforts. Poor families have increased recently in several Latin American cities. Places like Buenos Aires and Montevideo, today, have gone from having a very low percentage of poor families to almost alarming levels of urban poverty.

The worst part for the people living in these marginal areas is that they are located at tremendous distances from the centers of consumption and trade. Transportation is inadequate and so poor people live among other poor people. It’s a world where youngsters have no access to other views of life or to quality education. There is no incentive to improve living conditions, no great changes in children’s education over that of their parents. Large sections of the population don’t have many options that allow them to improve their incomes, or their futures. I think this is one of the biggest problems our society is experiencing.

    What about the lack of basic infrastructure in the coming decade?

There are policies to expand services, as is the case with water. According to the most recent census, over 90% of the population have access to the network of piped water. But how many actually receive it? The big problem is that some poor areas of the city have pipes but no water. This is one of the most pressing problems in the city. In some poor neighborhoods, interesting alternative projects that are developed by the neighborhood residents are beginning to take shape. It’s very important that creative initiatives proposed by these residents be encouraged by government support.

How do you explain social segrega-     What policies should be enhanced or tion within the different areas of the enacted to ensure housing with dignity city and what are the consequences? in Mexico City? Mexico City is not only the Federal District. Half of the population thrives in the greater metropolitan area, which consists of about 50 municipalities in the neighboring State of Mexico and Hidalgo. A research we conducted recently concerning quality of life in Mexico City examined six socioeconomic strata across the metropolitan area, and the numbers of the lowest and poorest have become much more intense with the city’s expansion. In places like Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl and Chalco, to the east of the city, people with far fewer resources live. The soil is saline so vegetation doesn’t grow. It’s basically the kind of land for which there has not been any demand by higher income groups.

At the federal level there have been some effective programs. But they don’t reach people who earn less than four times the minimum wage. The Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers has recognized this. Many irregular settlements have been regularized or normalized. In others, people are improving their homes through community participation with some limited help from the city government. But in general terms, quality of life has not increased as upgrading habitat does not necessarily improve social situations. In some neighborhoods, I’ve seen a decline in formal employment, especially for men, and more women are par-


The worst part for the people living in these marginal areas is that they are located at tremendous distances from the centers of consumption and trade. ticipating in the labor market. Many of them, with low education levels, need to be employed in domestic services in distant neighborhoods. They have to work many hours and leave their children without care. So they’ve actually moved from a problem of habitat to a social one. We found out, through workshops we organized in some of these neighborhoods, that young people were getting more and more involved in criminal gangs related to drug trafficking. That’s in addition to a rise in school dropout rates.

  What are the major challenges the city faces in terms of environmental concerns?

Urban sprawl is occupying areas of environmental interest that need to be protected for the ecological balance of the region. In the south of the Federal District there is an important area for water extraction, and further occupation of the land will mean losing the possibility of subsurface water, which represents a good part of the water consumed in the city. Environmental legislation was approved to take care of this area but the programs that followed the legislation were not implemented and, as a consequence, a significant number of new irregular settlements are actually, again, being established on these lands. According to an estimate by the College of Mexico, some 700,000 people now live within these protected areas where no new settlements were supposed to exist as of the late 1980s.

THE Informal EconomY Informal economies, like “black markets” and “the underground,” as the objects of study or economic analysis, or any analysis, are often shrouded in mystery. The term itself eludes a precise definition because it is always a negative definition, dependent for its own identity on the formal nature of the institutional frameworks and policies of any given country.


Ven if some agreement can be reached to arrive at a precise definition, the mapping of informal economic activities within any larger economy, whether to identify the individuals involved or the size and scope of their enterprises, will remain imprecise because of the very nature of informality. The term informal economy has generally been used to describe any economic activities that are excluded from the institutional order of the formal economy. In most countries, that definition refers to people who earn money but who are not organized as a firm or a legal entity. This can include, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), “workers in survival type activities such as street vendors, shoe-shiners, garbage collectors and scrap-and-rag pickers, paid domestic workers employed by households, home workers and workers in sweat-shops who are “disguised wage workers” in production chains, and the self-employed in microenterprises operating on their own or with contributing family workers or sometimes apprentices/employees.” Informality has been a part of Mexico City’s life since the beginning. During the Colonial Period, numerous measures were devised by the seated Viceroys in any given period to extract taxes from workers and anyone else lacking nobility, who caught the attention of the royal purse keeper. The crown continually devised measures to better “formalize” what must have even them seemed an unruly and sprawling tax base. Measures such as fully taking over tax collection from the hands of private collectors, and even nationalizing some industries were all intended to clamp down on the evasion of taxes. The old customs building, which still stands in Mexico City’s Historic Center, was used as a center for just such government revenue collection for centuries. In1825, the newly independent Mexican government installed the Treasury of the Federal District in the same building. With this long history of officialdom and a formal tax and revenue system regulating and “formalizing” the economy, it may come as a surprise that it was not until the early 1980s that the informal sectors’ proliferation and importance to the country’s economic profile gained momentum and began to represent a significant

share of economic activity as a whole. The early rise of informality has been traced by various studies to the economic crisis of 1982 which slowed down formal employment opportunities while technical improvements increased overall worker productivity. A serious employment gap then combined with the great force of demographic factors such as rural migration to the city and a boom of young people entering the workforce. In the first quarter of 2010, 30.6% of Mexico City’s nearly 8 million employed people were working in the informal sector. Of the country’s five largest cities, Mexico City’s is the second largest informal labor market, behind Puebla’s 32% over the same period. During times of economic distress, the share of the informal economy grows larger.

Informality in Perspective Mexico has one of the lowest rates of informal economic activity in Latin America.

(%) Informal Economy GDP (Gross Domestic Product)



























Dominican Republic




Costa Rica Argentina Chile

26.20 25.40 19.80


In the first quarter of 2010, an estimated


of Mexico City’s nearly 8 million employed people were working in the informal sector.

Street market- Chapultepec

173 The informal sector


These numbers may appear dismal but when placed in an international context, Mexico City’s rates of employment in the informal sector are not very different from other developing nations. For example, the OECD estimates Brazil’s share of informal employment at close to 36%, while Indonesia’s is 64%. When measured as a percentage of the GDP, the ranking is similar: 30.1% of Mexico’s GDP is informal and 39.8% of Brazil’s, again according to the OECD. Informality is regarded as a problem because it is associated with low productivity, low investment and, usually, low income firms and households, not to mention the unequal revenue streams that flow from certain segments of the population, while not from others. It is important to mention that the informal sector provides a supplementary - and even a primary - income to many otherwise impoverished households as well as a kind of insurance in the event of economic downturns. At this writing, the size and scope of the informal economy in Mexico City is a problem, but it is also a challenge to be addressed with national as well as local policy. On the national level, comprehensive labor reform that overhauls the labor market is

being discussed in the Legislative Assembly. It is widely agreed that the structural reform should focus on improving framework conditions for the entry of laborers into formal employment. The proposed measures simplify the rules for hiring workers in the formal sector and provide incentives for the formalization of small firms and enterprises. The Federal District Government has devised several measures to promote formal growth by fostering knowledgeintensive economic activities. By promoting and aiding the formation of industrial parks and specialized complexes, the government expects to boosts opportunities for employment to attract informal workers into more productive, formal sector endeavors. As a final remark, it is paramount to remember that the important structural challenge of the labor market presents valuable opportunities for economic growth and productivity increases. The informal sector represents an untapped resource in the labor supply of a very active center of productive economic activity. Mexico City will no doubt continue to attract the most productive firms in the country as it still supplies the most educated and productive labor force.

an untapped resource in the labor supply.

Public Safety

Street Security

The safety of the inhabitants of any city is among the most basic responsibilities of its government. Emerging from the same need for collective safety that made cities necessary in the first place, today’s modern first response teams descend from the military units assigned to protect inhabitants from the earliest disasters, namely invasions and attacks. Today’s city is a more complex creation, with legal systems and security needs that go much further but that essentially reach for the same goals: the safety and security of everyone in the city.


Ecurity circumstances in the Federal District have the added importance of protecting the nation’s legal, political and economic center, any interruption of which could quickly impact the rest of the country. It’s plausible to think that the security situation in the Federal District is the same as that in all other states, but clear regions of influence make each problem and each solution different. Mexico City has worked to lower crime rates and has made significant progress. In 2009, 213 criminal gangs were dissolved, even more than in the previous year, when 121 criminal gangs were confronted and neutralized. According to the Citizen’s Institute for Studies on Insecurity (ICESI), and the most recent National Survey on Insecurity (ENSI), the population who reported being a victim of crime in 2008 represented a positive change of 31% over those reporting crimes in 2005. In Mexico City, the number of reported crimes decreased from 237,000 in 1998 to only 180,000 in 2009. Likewise, in 2009 the rate of reported thefts fell by 60% over the previous year.

To ensure the welfare of city residents and to stay ahead of these improvements, Mexico City has put into use some of the latest security methods currently being used anywhere in the world. Major cities around the world have proven that the application of technology in security systems can be directly reflected in declining crime rates. One such method has been the installation of security cameras. The City of Chicago operates an extensive network of about 15,000 cameras which allow officers to monitor the urban area to the point where they read license plate numbers. In Mexico City, an initiative to install a similar video surveillance system in both the public transportation system and in some city streets, as part of the Safe City program, has been underway for some time. Mexico City’s subway today has more than 2,170 cameras operating and these have directly resulted in the arrests and neutralization of eight criminal gangs who’d been operating primarily in the city’s subway network. The plan of the Federal District police includes eventually installing more cameras than in any other city in the world. Many include sensors to detect gun shots and 192 are to be equipped with detection systems capable of reading license plates. This system issues alerts and records the images of cars which have a theft report or which relate to any ongoing investigation. The full installation of the Video-Surveillance Technical System will cost US$31.5 million and is progressing in four stages. The cameras are installed primarily in areas with higher crime rates but also in school zones, near embassies and government offices as well as in subway stations. The Safe City infrastructure includes five peripheral control centers and one command center. Similar speeding detection equipment with radar has also been installed in prominent areas where traffic speed is of particular concern and these have already resulted in a much lower incidence of speed violations. This ongoing investment in security is intended to make the city one of the best equipped in the world. In 2009, public safety agencies in the city accounted for 10% of the budget of the city. US$295 million was assigned directly to the city police department.

This ongoing investment in security is intended to make the city one of the best equipped in the world.

In 2009,

213 criminal gangs

were disbanded

in the city, even more than in the previous year

when 121 criminal gangs were confronted and


366 security and citizenship modules organize police visits and daily patrols.


he Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Law Enforcement of the Federal District was created in 2007 as a civil society initiative with the support of local government. As its president Luis Wertman Zaslav stated, “It’s the first citizen community organization in Mexico to work closely with the government to improve public safety and law enforcement.” The Council’s motto states, “A citizenry that does not denounce

The Mexico City police

Citizens’ Council

crime is a citizenry that does not participate.” Having achieved increasing recognition among citizens, the council has begun receiving proposals via new media technology and has steadily increased participation since its inception. Among the many programs carried out by the council, the highest recognition has gone to the Contact Center, a 24 hour phone bank capable of receiving and responding to 46,000 phone calls daily. Callers receive advice and direc-

The Department of Public Security of the Federal District operates with the following mandates: maintaining public order, protecting the physical integrity of persons and property and preventing crime or breaches in the regulations of the government. Like most police departments, Mexico City police also have the responsibility of assisting other agencies in cases of accidents or disasters. To keep the public in better contact with those responsible for their safety, a network of local police, known as policía de proximidad, was created in 2008. Its 366 security and citizenship modules organize police visits and daily patrols, and allow the public to better identify and establish bonds of trust with local officers. Each module includes a local phone number which is provided to residents in the area and is intended to foster more open communication. Improving police training and education has also been one of the primary missions of city administration in recent years. Formed in 1993, the Police Training Technical Institute has aimed to train staff in professional development, as well as in technical, scientific, humanistic, technological, and cultural development. Within that framework, the intent is also to foster higher respect for human rights and the established principles of law. Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico City’s mayor, announced in 2009 that as a result of these training programs 23,000 awards had been granted to outstanding policemen and policewomen. This important recognition is accompanied by a salary increase of about US$200. All police rank and file received salary increases of 5% in budgetary year 2009.

tion in cases of extortion or similar threats, or on legal proceedings and public services available in the city. Having so far received more than 301,000 calls, 9,000 have been cases of attempts of extortion. Call center figures and experience have allowed the city to recognize patterns of crime and the Council fully expects to be able to replicate the system in other parts of Mexico and to improve the security situation everywhere in the country.

In 2009 23,000 training program awards have been granted to outstanding policemen and policewomen.

All police rank and file

received salary increases of 5% in budgetary year 2009.


Point of View

Civil Society

Rogelio Gómez Hermosillo Rogelio Gómez Hermosillo received his degree in Sociology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Currently a consultant to the World Bank and Chairman of Alianza Cívica, Gómez Hermosillo is also a member of the Citizens Committee for Electoral Reform and the Citizen Monitoring Council of State Reform. He has also founded and managed organizations and networks of organizations like the Citizens Movement for Democracy, Citizen Power, the Convergence of Civil Organizations for Democracy, and the Center for Ecumenical Studies.

Civil society organizations in Mexico City have gone through a period of maturation and specialization in recent years and new generations are free to understand their citizenship and to better participate. Strong evidence suggests that higher mechanisms to balance power lead to better government performance and stronger economic growth and development.


“Civil society is in with authorities and the government, it has created a proper role for itself as a relevant public actor.”  How has civil society in Mexico City  Have the civil society organizations changed over the past 20 years? in our city served as innovative models Our city -where a great part of the country’s for others? organized civil society is concentrated- has proliferated and specialized. Since the 1985 earthquake, civil society has been participating actively in just about any matter concerning people’s lives within the city. They’ve built extensive dialogue channels with authorities and the government, and they’ve created a proper role for themselves as a relevant public actor. There’s undoubtedly a concentration of talent and capacity within Mexico City’s society.

Specifically on the subject of environmental protection, there have been important developments. There are also more and more interesting results from the advocacy for causes through public opinion pressure, where public power is combined with strategic litigation before the courts, until it reaches the Supreme Court and international bodies such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. We need to highlight the efforts on public safety: the models that are being imple-

mented for security are worthy of replication, and the “community policing” as well as the forms of public monitoring, evaluation, data collection, and analysis all offer a perspective on public policy actions, both with the local government of Mexico City and with the federal government.

 What sort of relationship has evolved between government and civil society since the multiple party system was reintroduced?

Since governance was opened to multiple parties since 1997, the government opened an office for relationships with civil society

development organizations, and has maintained a good policy of dialogue with them. Today, we have to strengthen the participation of a wider, autonomous citizenry as real spaces for participation aren’t quite clear. The neighborhood representative model, for example, is a highly corporatized, partycentered model, and only in a few places have really well-organized neighborhoods been managed properly. A vision of the city and urban policy or development really requires the participation of multiple actors and not just that of those acting in defense of professional or group interests. Still, the balance is positive. Mexico City’s civil society has a mature citizenship card. The dynamics of freedom and the force of public opinion is on the side of civil society and it’s not like this in other Mexican states.

 How is the idea of absolutely horizontal and universal freedom of participation being promoted?

There certainly is a long road of legal proposals that need to be designed so that civil participation is not understood as an accessory to the government’s actions or as a dependent and subordinate factor. There needs to be a cultural change and a form of expression and reaction from society itself. The government can only act as a facilitator, but it needs to allow social impulses to shape the different spaces, institutions and the means of self expression.

 One of the great achievements of recent years has been the increased accountability and transparency in public administration. Can you speak a little about this?

Under pressure from civil society organizations, demands for transparency resulted in the creation of the Federal Institute for Access to Public Information (IFAI) in 2002 and the enforcement of the Federal Law pertaining to the institutes in the states and the Federal District in 2003. The first Federal District Institute of Transparency worked away from the idea of being an autonomous body with the capacity to review and defend, and it had no capacity to act as guarantor of transparency. Civil society didn’t budge but called instead for a serious institution to act as guarantor and a law that clearly guarantees the right to information in the Federal District. The errors in the first model were actually

corrected in 2006 and since then the institute has had a proper policy with regard to civil society organizations. We’ve also had successful experiences with the Federal District Committee on Human Rights, which has been a shining light in periods when human rights issues were in the dark.

 In relation to other Latin American cities, how efficient and how solid is the foundation of civil society organizations in Mexico City? Mexico City has the highest concentration of civil society organizations in the country. When compared with other countries, it stands on its own. But the truth is that Mexico lags behind in many areas. This is understandable in that for so many years the state tried to fill these spaces, and made every effort to control the public’s organization and to contain any autonomous public expressions. The growth of autonomous civil society, within its own capacity, is recent as is exercise of citizenship in the country in general.

Better balance

of power results in better government and better performance. There is legislation in the city regarding citizens participation, which includes the plebiscite, the referendum and the legislative initiative power. But to promote greater citizen participation what we require are mechanisms to make participation an everyday thing that is more permanent and less specialized.

 Does a country’s competitiveness have anything to do with an organized civil society? There’s a big correlation between indicators of good governance and the rights of organized civil society in the broadest sense. These indicators include the forms that citizen participation takes and the means of control over public corruption, advocacy and expressions of the citizenry.


The construction of the public, that is, of the public good and policy, and democratic governance, require an organized citizenry. It’s been demonstrated that better balance of power results in better performance, both in terms of economic growth as well as in the development of civil society.

 Beyond the fact that in the 70 years of single-party rule so many organizational initiatives were suppressed, is it true that Mexicans are gregarious by nature? Would this constitute an inherent ability to organize or is this something that needs to be learned?

What political culture and civic culture statistics show is that we are not as gregarious as we believe. It is true, as demonstrated after the earthquake in 1985, that there is a very strong altruism in the Mexican people. The city could not function if it did not have that consciousness within the community. Certainly, there is broad participation in some traditional forms, closely linked to rural expressions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, like small town festivals. The problem is that our communities lack complexity. We need to transform that altruism and gregariousness into something much more citizen-like, with the capacity to focus on human rights. We need to understand the public as a common ground for our rights to resolve disputes of all kinds.

 How would you like see economic development and civil society progress side by side in the future?

Younger generations who didn’t live under the more authoritarian expressions of another historical moment are freer to understand their citizenship and to participate. I hope to see a mature professional capacity for knowledge, the interaction of an organized civil society that works with citizens, and that is increasingly expressing civic concerns and forming links with the rest of the citizenry. I’d also like to see a government based on laws and practices and ways of doing things on behalf of an organized expression of a stable and autonomous citizenry. I believe that new generations of adults and young people can make a huge difference because they manage other types of information and knowledge, which can be the pillars of democracy: diversity, inclusion, communication, and analysis. People understand things not because they’ve done them, but because they can see the results in the data before them.

synergy of THE




PIRWI, a Mexican home furniture brand- San Pedro de los Pinos

Competitiveness Competitiveness refers to the relative ability and performance of a country or region with respect to the production and selling of goods and services in a given market. It depends on many aspects of the economic system that can include the allocation of productive factors such as land and labor, the quality of factors like education and health services, and the provision of infrastructure and the institutional environment for business.


Ities offer important competitive advantages because of the ag-

glomeration of productive forces. A more diversified economic base and strong specialization in high value-added activities, a strong innovative capacity and higher capital stock per capita can be among the most importat factors that affect a city’s relative competitive advantage. According to the OECD, more than 81% of patents are registered for products produced in urban regions. Cities also enjoy more physical infrastructure, transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, and education facilities. Mexico City offers the greatest human capital in the country. The city boasts the most researchers per capita and the highest percentage of population with higher education in the country. In 2005, according to the Mexico City Economic Forum, 49% of Mexicans with a postgraduate degree lived in Mexico City. These key factors combine to make the capital city into the motor driving innovation in Mexico. Enhancing the overall robustness of basic services that support economic activity in the city is of key importance today. Transportation, telecom and finance have been called precursor sectors because of their paramount importance in effectively supporting so many other sectors of the economy. Mexico City’s telecom industry is among the most advanced in the country, with mobile phone penetration of 61%. 20% of homes have access to the Internet. Transportation is also very efficient. With 10 airports in the city and the metropolitan area serving almost 8 million annual international passengers and 46 international destinations, Mexico City is the main hub for most of Latin America . It is a vital center for ground transportation to the rest of the country as well. Circled by newer distribution and freight stations, the capital is the central marketplace for the entirety of central Mexico and, as such, is well connected to every smaller market by an extensive road and highway system.

Public debt in Mexico as a whole has continued to decline over the past ten years. The financial sector is one of the key sectors in the capital city, with 1.25 debit cards issued per every economically active person and 11.6 bank branches per every 100,000 inhabitants. The legal framework is investment-friendly and promotes public-private partnerships. Areas that had been exclusively the domain of the public sector are today open to private investments such as transportation, health care, water and waste management, and even road infrastructure. And according to the World Economic Forum, the soundness and profitability of Mexico’s banking sector, which is headquartered by and large in Mexico City, has improved considerably since the 1994 economic crisis. Changes in consolidation, oversight, and openness to foreign investment have all had a positive impact. The capital is the number one destination in the country for foreign direct investment. Likewise, foreign investment has in and of itself improved the process of acquiring capital and increased the presence of experts in the country in areas like credit analysis, risk manage-

with almost


million annual international


and 46 international


the city is a hub for transportation

mexico city’s new business hub- Santa Fe

ment and strategy. Mexico remains one of very few “Investment Grade” emerging markets in the world. In a recent study by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO), the Federal District was found to be the most competitive when compared to any of the 32 Mexican states. Another study conducted by the Monterrey Institute of Technology came to the same conclusion. The main strengths cited, and for which the city is listed as number one, include the presence of a service-based economy, a strong local tax base and healthy public finances, a strong per capita public health investment, and consistent financing for research and development. The capital also boasts the greatest number of firms in Expansión magazine’s list of the 500 biggest and most influential companies in the country. being home to 353 of these. Human capital is another important strength in Mexico City. Compared to the rest of the country, the city boasts the most skilled, educated and inclusive workforce. Women make up almost 40% of the workforce, easily the highest percentage of anywhere in the country and a labor segment that is growing fast, having jumped 6% since 2006. Between 2006 and 2008, according to IMCO, the Federal District showed a 3% increase in the level of education of the economically active population. The city’s education infrastructure is also the most advanced in the country. With 83 universities (67 private and 16 public), almost 1,000 post-graduate programs are offered in the metropolitan area. The capital also generates 55% of the scientific research in the country. The city’s labor force also offers a very low old-age dependency ratio. A measure designed to pinpoint the relative youth of a labor force, the old-age dependency ratio compares the fraction of the population that is too old or too young to be in the working population with those that are in the productive age bracket. The city offers

Mexico remains one of very few “Investment Grade” emerging markets in the world. important competitive advantages as it scores higher, meaning a smaller fraction of the population is economically dependent than in European cities, for example. With its score of almost -3%, Mexico City is also significantly higher than the OECD average (-9%), which is close to the ranking of cities like Istanbul, London and Frankfurt. The Federal District Government is aware of these advantages and has made a public commitment to continue the institutional improvements needed to maintain this primacy. To this end, the government created the Competitiveness Council for Mexico City to design and evaluate a plan to enhance the relative advantages of the city. Integrating opinions from public officials, entrepreneurs and the academic world, the council’s purpose is to establish a long lasting link between the government and the private sector to provide the institutional assistance needed to maintain a favorable business environment. With these and other measures, it is safe to predict that Mexico City will continue to grow into a leading knowledgebased economy, one that will remain highly influential not only in the country, but throughout the region.





Business Possibilities FOR


Gonzalo Serrano AND SALOMé Álvarez- Ligaya restaurant in the Condesa neighborhood

DIVERSITy Theories of “creative capital” hold that the conditions for metropolitan and city-level economic growth include technology, talent, tolerance, and quality of life. Diversity in terms of ethnic, religious or socioeconomic background and sexual orientation are important components of economic and social development. Every city representing a strong, growing economy today is also an oasis of tolerance for different ways of thinking and living.


Exico City is, today, one of the most advanced cities in the

Americas in terms of diversity achieved through legislation and education. At least 40,000 people conduct their lives in Náhuatl, and a further 60,000 people speak other Mexican languages. The 2003 law of linguistic rights of indigenous peoples recognized all of these as “national languages.” And in the streets of Mexico City you’ll hear Korean, Chinese, Japanese, French, Russian and Arabic, and certainly English, as it is home to immigrants speaking these languages and many more. Alongside the Roman Catholic churches, you will find synagogues, mosques and temples of every variety for every system of belief or worship. Mexico City was designated the Ibero-American Capital of Culture in 2010 by the Union of IberoAmerican Capital Cities (UCCI). In the words of musician and activist Horacio Franco, “Mexico City is one of very few places in the country where social issues and gender equity are advanced. This is thanks to legislation led by the Government of the Federal District. Because it is a cosmopolitan city, the sheer number of people has granted more equal opportunities.” The city has enshrined into law the right to freedom for all of its citizens to choose the lifestyle that they prefer, and to do so in a spirit of complete and uncompromised equality. Toward those ends and in an effort to provide all citizens with the security of legal support that guarantees equal rights, in 2006 a civil-union law was passed allowing the legal union of different and same sex couples. The law recognized their

rights to inheritance and succession, as those provided to married couples. In 2009, Mexico City became the first city in Latin America to recognize the unions of samesex couples as marriage. Six months after the law was passed, the city reported 398 marriages. The first marriage took place on March 11 of 2010, with the mayor of the city serving as witness of honor. “I am very pleased that Mexico City is open and has made guarantees on the issues of discrimination, freedom of expression and gender equality. I think eventually we will be able to change peoples values, and the secular state and law will prevail”, related Franco. He added that government has the responsibility to strive for civil, respectful relations amongst all of its people. On July 21 of 2010, the Federal District Government also opened the first office in Latin America dedicated exclusively to the promotion of gay and lesbian tourism, with the clear objective of making the city a gay friendly destination, and working through the city’s Department of Tourism. According to the department, LGBT travelers invest 47% more into travel than do heterosexual travelers and represent 15% of tourism worldwide. The office is responsible for encouraging this important tourism sector and for preventing acts of intolerance or discrimination. Affiliated with the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, the new office is headed by Jaime Romero and Erwin Rogel. The General Office of Social Equality and Diversity is in charge of the promotion, development, and implementation of strategies, policies, programs, and government actions toward comprehensive equality, equity, freedom from violence, and full exercise of economic, social and cultural rights to all residents of the city. The Sexual Diversity Program seeks to promote Mexico City as an inclusive city where respect for sexual diversity is a democratic exercise. Mexico City is also among the few countries that have legislated in favor of LGBT adoption of children, preceded by Israel which legalized the practice in 2008. Horacio Franco summed up his thoughts on the matter. “The more you educate people, based on universal values of an equal distribution of human rights, the rights of men and women, of social equity, and the fair distribution of wealth in the country, the more obviously people are going to realize that men and women, heterosexuals and homosexuals, indigenous and European descended people are equal. We all have only different ways of thinking and living.”

The city has enshrined into law the right to freedom for all of its citizens to choose the lifestyle that they prefer.

In the city, at least 40,000 people conduct their lives in Náhuatl , and a further 60,000 people speak other Mexican languages.

The 2003 Law of Linguistic Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognized all of these as “national languages.”


Media and Democracy

CARMEN ARISTEGUI Carmen Aristegui is the anchor of the talk-show “Aristegui” on CNN en Español which features indepth conversations with Mexican leaders from an array of fields including politics, government, business, literature and entertainment. She also writes a political column for the newspaper Reforma. Aristegui has more than fifteen years of experience as an anchor, commentator and reporter on some of Mexico’s leading radio and television programs. Widely recognized as an expert on Mexican national politics, she is a regular speaker at academic forums and political debates.

With strong convictions, the journalist emphasizes the importance of commited participation from citizens in public affairs.     How important is public participation in the construction of a nation?

It’s indispensable. Participation by the public is a key component in the construction of democracy. The fact is that for a good part of our national history we’ve had a significant deficit in this area and therefore we haven’t been able to achieve a democratic consolidation with the presence of free, committed, critical, and demanding citizens. It’s a pre-condition that’s simply not been fulfilled in the Mexican case. The current political system doesn’t fully meet the necessary criteria. Citizen participation has been very firm and strong in some areas but not in others, because the dominance of the structures of political organization don’t allow open citizen participation.

“Some communication structures in Mexico have actually delayed the consolidation of


were overwhelmed by the tragedy and the scale of the devastation. The rulers authority weakened, but citizens asked them not to leave and instead rise up to the circumstances. The citizens organized themeselves and participated in tasks such as creating soup kitchens and working in the re-construction. Thus, in 1985 the citizen participation resulted in major political and social changes that made the capital into what it is now - an advanced city in contrast with the rest of the country in many senses. We know the importance and transcendence that can take place when citizens lead the reins and participate in public affairs.

served as safety valve and complaint desk, as a platform for criticism and for spreading the news of little known issues. In the other hand, we also have a communication structure that doesn’t benefit the democratization of the country. It is a monopolistic regime. We have a very strong concentration of electronic media, and a press that can not fully exercise freedom of expression because it is threatened by a duopolistic regime that prevents criticism and by the violence of organized crime that kills and kidnaps journalists with impunity. There are a lot of factors that undermine the fundamental rights of citizens, and prevent the exercise of a free and critical press. A press committed to its audience and readers is essential for any country, city or town that wants to call itself a democracy. We’ve had called many dark periods “transitional,” but unfortunately too many shadows still prevail in this 2010.

    What role should the media play in strengthening democracy and the events   What actions do you think civil society that shape the country? could carry out in Mexico City to better or- One of the most striking images of the ganize themselves and contribute more events of 25 years ago is the collapse of the Televisa building tragically killing dozens   In your opinion, what have been the to democracy? In the capital, the issue of citizen partici- of people. Communication was definitely media’s key successes and failures in pation has been important for the last 25 interrupted. Only citizens spoke, everything Mexico? years. We’re commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1985 earthquake, a great tragedy that motivated the society to organize in a thousand different ways. Organization was the response from the public toward the inability of the government and the inaction of the rulers, who

was by word of mouth. Citizens had to find other means of communication and that really showed everyone that this system is critical to building democracy. Twenty five years later we continue to question whether the role of the media is positive or negative to the democratic process. The media have

There have been periods when the press was able to exercise its role. We’ve published very important parts of our history and we have publications like Proceso, the newspapers Reforma and La Jornada, and a few spaces on the radio. Then we have this two headed monster that is big television.

DE VELOPMENT There you find the journalists that routinely contribute with the truth and take the risk to point out excesses to their readers and listeners, in contrast with those who, even now, maintain a shameful alliance with existing power structures. Everything fits inside our country. The achievements in terms of democracy depended on many factors, one of them being journalism. Other communication structures in Mexico have not only not helped but actually delayed the consolidation of democracy in this country.

    What changes do you expect on the part of the citizenry in order to become a better society?

Efforts to gather diverse opinions - such as this - are related to the construction of a knowledge society where citizenry is involved in its own transformation and where everything is possible. A free media and efficient institutions are needed, but it is the permanent access to information by citizens, institutions and enterprises what makes for a free country. A city with a culture of knowledge has to establish the appropiate channels for efficient access to information and the vehicles to professionally deal with issues of general interest. There is access to information on technology, legal development, the latest in architecture, and a whole range of topics, and this is the actual meaning of knowledge. If we can establish this access there is no doubt that the transformative potential will catapult our society. Citizens must assess these vehicles of information as well as the quality of the public debate. What kind of things concern us and which topics are really relevant? Which issues should we discuss - garbage, water, civil protection, democracy? We have to consider this as the very basis of transformation, and pursue the freedom not only to say, but to choose what should be said. This is a task for citezens as well as for the media.

    From your position as one of the most prominent journalists today, can you speak a little about the current role of women in Mexico?

There’s a really clear contrast between the progress and the setbacks toward building an equitable society. Women play an important role in any society in their capacity as citizens, workers, or educators, and they are main figures in the formation of sons and daughters. The role of women in

terms of social transformation is also really important. Many of the most recognizable programs worldwide favor productive projects directed by women, which is proof of their transformative power. A woman who lives a process of self-realization can influence others. A woman who manages to establish herself as an autonomous, free, and productive decision maker not only provides herself with a better individual existence but she also gains an enormous transformative power, so any investment in women has a huge potential. That is why UN programs and public funds are increasingly being aimed to women. There’s still a lot of work to be done in these field but the progress that has been made is quite tangible to the rest of the society.

    Where do you stand on the more controversial bills proposed by the city government, such as same-sex marriages and abortion? It is difficult to attribute legislative matters on a government on duty. It’s clear

INTERVIEW pursues the leading edge, and at times it reaches that edge. But it’s also stuck sometimes. Sometimes it fails to come up with a policy for reform or to grant citizens full political rights. The Federal Congress can’t bestow complete freedom to the capital of the country, so we don’t have a constitution, nor do we have a fully operating TV system, just like in most states of the country. That leaves us with a legislative body the Assembly - which has, in fact, gained major responsibilities in recent years, but the Federal Government is still deciding for the Federal District on matters such as budgets, appointments, security and justice. The capital city needs and wishes to be in the forefront, and sometimes it is, but it hasn’t yet taken the recquired steps to consolidate its position as a capital where citizens can exercise all their rights, or where the authorities elected actually have the necessary powers, or where legislative representation is wider and better known; a city which is capable of governing itself as the capital of all the

A press committed to its audience is essential for any country that wants to call itself a democracy. that there have been initiatives but these don’t necessarily stand alone, and the efforts wouldn’t succeed had they not been pushed by an open society, ones that has already experienced major changes. I insist that for the last 25 years the capital has been a very advanced city, in contrast with other spaces of public life where some setbacks remain. This fact is evident in areas such as reproductive freedom and the rights of minorities, including homosexuals, who are now able to marry and adopt children. The city has experienced a political and social evolution of great importance in this new century, and it also has fought for freedom. Mexico City is a place that never stands still, full of life in the mornings, afternoons, evenings and even overnight. It’s a place of mobilization, protests and solidarity. It’s a convergence of vital spaces that pump life into the rest of the country. This is a Federal District that

people. It’s true, federal and local governments co-exist and in this coexistence we’ve been gaining ground for our rights, but we can’t say we’ve won the battle yet.

    What do you think about the security situation in Mexico City compared to that in the rest of the country? It would be futile to say that the nation’s capital is a refuge for those who are insecure in other parts of the country because we haven’t resolved the issue. Today there’s a dramatic situation in different parts of the country: Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo León and Culiacán, and it seems that in contrast the capital is safer than other places, but I think that’s tricky. As the saying goes, “The sorrow of many is the consolation of fools.” Obviously, many things make the capital a safer in comparison with other states, but we shouldn’t boast about that. Insecurity still prevails in the largest capital city in the world.

To See THE CITY The first surprise for tourists arriving in Mexico City is the need to fly for nearly 20 minutes directly over the sprawling metropolitan area of the city itself. With 16 boroughs in the Federal District and another 58 municipalities in the bordering State of Mexico, the metropolitan area is considered the world’s second largest with over 20 million inhabitants.


His impressive urban jungle is extremely attractive to more than 22.5

million international tourists who visit each year from 188 countries. Primarily from North America, Western Europe and South America, visitors find not only an important link to all of the other tourist destinations for which Mexico is so famous but a thriving urban tourist destination of the highest magnitude. Geographically, culturally and archaeologically speaking, Mexico City has been a major tourist destination for nearly a century. When informal archaeological excavations began at some of the major sites in and around the city, overnight Mexico City became a hotbed of intellectual and cultural tourism that continues to this day. Within the city there are three archaeological sites: Tlatelolco, which was in its time the most important commercial center of Mexico before the Spanish conquest, Cuicuilco, located in the south of the city, and the Templo Mayor, the undisputed religious and political axis of the pre-Hispanic city of Tenochtitlan, on the ruins of which Mexico City stands today . The political and economic center of the country, Mexico City also offers an enormous range of tourist services. 115 museums, 41 galleries, 100 theaters, 640 hotels and almost 50,000 rooms, 4,500 dining establishments, and 1,300 crafts markets call the city home. A wealth of colonial churches, historical neighborhoods and world-class architecture continually celebrate almost seven centuries of life in the city. With Turibus, the city now offers extensive bus tours, similar to those offered in cities like London and Madrid, and allows travel throughout the city safely and without missing a single site of interest.

The vastness of the city and the color of its history provide something for absolutely everyone. Aware of the importance of the architectural and cultural heritage of Mexico, UNESCO has designated four places of unique beauty in the city as World Heritage Sites: the Historic Center with its 1436 significant buildings and monuments; Xochimilco, with 200 miles of canals; the Luis Barragan House and Architectural Museum, and the Ciudad Universitaria of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In 2007, Mexico was the 10th most popular tourist destination in the world, and number one in Latin America. The closest competitor was Brazil, in position number 42. And the tourists keep coming. The vastness of the city and the color of its history provide something for absolutely everyone. Plans of uniquely diverse activities such as watching Lucha Libre

wrestling can be preceded by a visit to the largest city park in the world, Chapultepec Park, and visits to the monumental murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, among many other activities. In addition to acting as a hub for travel to the rest of the country, Mexico City also affords the best route to many closer tourist destinations all over central Mexico. Many visitors are drawn to nearby archaeological sites as impressive as those at Teotihuacan, Tula and Tepoztlán. The beautiful architectural and religious heritage of cities such as Puebla, Querétaro, Taxco and Cuernavaca are all nearby and the remarkable landscapes and restful areas in Valle de Bravo, Acapulco and near the volcanoes Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl are all often best reached via Mexico City. With the swine flu outbreak that shocked the world in 2009, authorities grew concerned with the significant decrease in the flow of tourists visiting Mexico, and especially Mexico City. In the capital, the tourist industry generates US$4 billion annually and directly or indirectly employs about one million people in the metropolitan area. Following measures implemented by the city government, the health crisis passed in a few months and the flow of tourists quickly resumed, reaffirming the faith of residents that the city will forever be one of the world’s greatest destinations. Visitors to Mexico City nearly always leave with the impression that so much remains to be seen and explored, a city in constant and tremendous motion, which everyday generates something new and interesting. In Mexico City, there’s always something else to come back to.

orizaba street- Roma neighborhood

The Condesa and Roma Neighborhoods

Geographically in the center of the city, the Condesa and Roma neighborhoods have emerged in recent years as some of the most visited places in Mexico City. “La Condesa” is characterized by a wide array of architecture ranging from original Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles buildings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to the most avant-garde of contemporary buildings. Today, bustling with cafés, bars and galleries, the neighborhood came into prominence in the 1920s, on what was formerly the hippodrome, the horse racing track, of the Countess of Miravalle and for which the neighborhood is named. Later subdivided as a functional residential neighborhood, today Condesa is an important center of restaurants and night-life surrounded by some of the city’s most desired housing. Nearby, Colonia Roma is characterized by beautiful Art Nouveau and Neo-Classical buildings that take tourists on an architectural journey through the “Porfiriato,” the 40 year period prior to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. The Roma neighborhood originated during the colonial era as the Hacienda de la Romita. As years passed, some of the wealthiest families in the city were drawn to the area. Many of their stately homes remain including those that today house cultural centers such as the renowned Casa Lamm on Álvaro Obregón avenue, or the Casa del Libro at the corner of Puebla and Orizaba streets.


sagrada familia church- Roma neighborhood

Don’t miss: a walk down Avenida Álvaro Obregón, which hosts antique dealers in the park along the center of the avenue on weekends, a gastronomic tour of Orizaba Street and a visit to the Neo-Romantic and Neo-Gothic Iglesia de la Familia Sagrada.



Point of View


Private Sector

Gabriel Quadri de la Torre Gabriel Quadri de la Torre earned his degree in Civil Engineering from the Ibero-American University and a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Texas. He has served as an Analyst and Head of External Finance at the Bank of Mexico, has led several environmental NGOs and taught at several universities.

He has been Director of the Federal District Department of Ecological Planning, and has authored several books and publications on the Environment and Sustainable Development. He is currently the Representative Director of Ecosecurities for Mexico and Central America.  What is EcoSecurities and what is their proposal to increase the city’s competitiveness worldwide?

Ecosecurities develops projects that reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases in all sectors of the economy. These projects can then receive carbon credits that can be bought and sold in the international market. Ecosecurities is proposing a low-carbon urban economy. We’re still a long way off, but I can assure you unequivocally that climate change and the policies designed and implemented to address it will be a key factor in the future orientation of the global economy. More than 70% of greenhouse gases in the world come from cities. People need to get out of their cars. More efficient cars, walking and public transportation are the way of the future. We live, today, in more densely populated areas where public transport can flourish. But all of this implies a governance structure that we’ve not yet been able to develop.

of law and the concept of legality are also a must. The establishment, development and evaluation of public space also needs to be there. Those are the basics. From there you can build and develop expectations like competitiveness.

 What new initiatives could be generated to ensure that the city is a better place?

The cornerstone is a change in the collective perception of the city. We need to create a culture where people prefer to live in the central areas of the city and not in remote areas like Santa Fe, which mean long trips, and more gas emissions and road space. People have to change their vision of the city itself before it can be viable. We have to take away the utopia of suburban house and garden. We need to live in an apartment and move by foot, bike, subway, or other public transportation systems. Maybe people can have a small four-cylinder car but we need to forget about these monster trucks.

 What kind of sustainability goal can be set  How are you going to convince those responsible for public policy?

More efficient cars, walking and public transportation are the way of the future. that doesn’t limit the generation of wealth?

In economic terms, the city is a complex assembly of public goods that requires an efficient governance system. Stricter regulations are necessary, and respect for the rule

As for the decision makers, there’s no way to convince them. Instead, I believe, we need a social construction that depends on the emergence of a generation of leaders with vision. This has happened already in Bogotá, Medellín and London. It’s about leadership. A rich, diverse, productive, informed, militant, responsible and cooperative society will generate leaders with the right characteristics.

 Is business in Mexico City willing to join in on innovative proposals that are sensitive to the environment and society?

Of course. But private enterprise alone can do very little. They expect government rules, order, and the model to be followed.

“The city is a complex assembly of public goods that requires a good

governance system.” From there, private enterprise creates the capacity to make things happen in terms of technologies, investments and capital. Public-private partnerships, where private initiative is jointly responsible for the development and construction of the new urban model are a key part of it. Concessions and privatization are also a part of it. So companies could be responsible for transportation, infrastructure, and the management of public spaces to preserve and ensure safety.

 Is there a problem of political culture and leadership?

The rule of law is central to everything. Any changes need to necessarily be anchored in the law and it’s here that we’ve lost. Our public space is occupied by illegality. The streets, and the bus stops with their street vendors have been degraded in an astonishing way the city over the past 20 years. But I believe that societies change. Peru was a country that no longer existed, but look at them today, growing at 9% annually. Lima is a much more modest city than Mexico City but it went from being a chaotic, ruined city to a splendid, well-governed, clean city and the residents are very proud.



Developing the Future: The Knowledge City Center Initiative

In the last two years, the Mexico City’s government has developed and planned the

Knowledge City Center (KCC) initiative as a blueprint for the promotion and furtherance of higher education, to increase patent registrations and to encourage investment in technology. Azcania is a key site selected to spur the development of a knowledge-based economy with a particular focus on energy and technology.

Azcania’s Master Plan

Azcania’s Master Plan was developed by the English firm ARUP, one of the world’s leading architecture, building and infrastructure design firms. The plan incorporates a unique urban concept and is intended as an economic catalyst for the city and for the rest of Latin America. Azcania will have a much lower carbon footprint than typical developments in Mexico City, and will reduce carbon emissions from both buildings and the transportation systems connected to the development. Azcania features high performance, energyefficient buildings, convenient and sustainable modes of transportation and incorporates renewable energy technologies. The phased development of the site will also provide a platform for testing low carbon technologies and act as a model for converting more buildings, districts and Mexico City as a whole onto a sustainable trajectory. The concept master plan provides an integrated and performance-based design approach intended to demonstrate the benefits of natural and built environments, to capture the imagination of people and communities, and to communicate good practices, strategies and policies to trigger institutional and market changes. Azcania transforms an obsolete and underutilized industrial area into a modern mixed-use complex and an innovative and sustainable model city. The mixed use approach of the project provides city residents with safe and attractive public areas and the opportunity to live, work, play and shop all within the same development. Centered around the construction of almost 900,000 square meters, Azcania will be occupied by universities, private and public institutions involved in technological development and private corporations whose business models are based on innovation, clean energies and technology.

Azcania will host companies working in the fields of information technology, communications, science and clean technology. Serving as an incubator for small and medium enterprises, the project will provide advisory services and office support. It will also attract fast-growing technology companies and brand-name companies already known for green practices and business innovations. Azcania is expected to create over 25,000 new quality jobs linked to technological development and innovation. Azcania will also become a link between technology-based foreign and domestic enterprises and higher learning institutions located both within and in the vicinity of the complex. The notion of Knowledge Cities and urban development based on the knowledge economy has taken on renewed importance among several countries. The added value of these initiatives is reflected in the improvement of the quality of life that education and technology-based developments can bring to the entire city.

Key Project Site Data Total Area:

57 hectares 93,000m2

Total area for development:



Defining the “Knowledge City”

The Knowledge City creates links between academics such as engineers, technicians and specialists in the areas of technology, robotics, information technologies and clean and renewable energies, and the private sector including companies dedicated to technology in general, IT, communications, and clean and renewable energies. The government, responsible for the issuance of permits, regulations and patent registrations is also included to foster innovation and to attempt to convert Mexico into a leading country in the creation of these most advanced technologies.

Public Parks:

43% knowledge city Location:

Delegación Azcapotzalco, in the geographic center of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area.

39% residential

8% retail

7% mixed use 2% health 1% hotel


Azcania is a demonstration project on the conversion of a derelict industrial area into a plug-in, low-carbon environment that provides residential, commercial, scientific, and recreational spaces. its Master plan is consequently based in the following principles: 1) Regeneration through innovation Azcania was conceived to trigger the regeneration of the wider industrial zones of Azcapotzalco and Vallejo in the north of Mexico City by spurring innovation and local entrepreneurship, attracting clean technology companies and developing an urban living environment to provide a better quality of life through ecological design principles.

  City Services:

The area is fully developed and the site is currently served by subway, intercity rail and several bus routes. All city services are immediately available.   Education and Technology:

The site is surrounded by Campuses of some of Mexico’s most prestigious higher learning institutions, including IPADE, IPN, UAM, TecMilenio, Unitec and IMP.

2) Mixed-use: Residential, business, and entrepreneurship plus commercial and leisure space Residential areas are combined with office and scientific development centers to create an environment attractive to people and families. Vibrant complexes for human activities are articulated spatially to activate ecological entrepreneurship and clean energy technologies.

3) A strategy for an initial low carbon footprint Azcania will start with much lower carbon footprint than typical developments in Mexico City. 4) A new model for urban living: innovate, inspire and catalyze Azcania will link a series of steps to eventually get all buildings, districts and the entire city onto a sustainable trajectory. The master plan consists on an integrated and performance-based design to demonstrate benefits to the natural and built environments, and to capture the imagination of the communities. Communicating this, including sound practices, strategies and policies, will trigger institutional and market changes across the board. 5) Delivering on the promise: a governance framework for the future As a pioneering project, Azcania will require an innovative governance structure for delivery. A trust has been established to review the implementation of the project, private sector partnerships will be established to develop, finance, operate, and maintain major infrastructure and transportation systems, such as internal public transportation, security, park maintenance and wastewater treatment facilities.

  Other services:

The site is well served by existing hospitals, public schools, supermarkets, etc. Two new and major city attractions, the Parque Ecológico Bicentenario and the Nueva Arena México are both located within walking distance of the site.


Artist’s rendering- STREET VIEW OF THE PROJECT

Mexico City, August 2010

Gustavo Garza Professor and researcher of the Center for Demographic Urban and Environmental Studies, at College of Mexico

MEXICO CITY : The Macroeconomic View T

he economic dynamics of Metropolitan Mexico City are subordinate - in areas such as monetary and fiscal policy, public investment, international trade, and in many other areas of policy - all of which are overseen by the Mexican federal government. The economic growth of the productive sectors of the city is also affected by federal government allocations of resources and by the actions of the two entities that constitute the metropolitan area, the Federal District itself and the State of Mexico, which borders the district on 3 sides. Business competitiveness and the characteristics of human capital are likewise affected by this dynamic. Considering the highly concentrated nature of the productive sectors of the capital, the country’s overall growth is also partially subordinate to that of Mexico City. Some differences between national economic growth and economic growth in the city can be attributed to peculiarities of the city, especially the factors that make it attractive and that draw in further economic activity. Among these factors is the efficiency of the government apparatus itself and the advocacy carried out on behalf of the science and technology that characterizes today’s knowledge-based societies.



The macroeconomic dynamic of the metropolitan area can partly explain the city’s growth, but in the early 21st century, a huge challenge confronts the city. The Mexican financial crisis of the 1980s, the neoliberal economic restructuring, and the market crashes of 1995 and 2009 have all significantly affected Mexico City and further reduced real incomes for nearly all residents. Additionally, the scale-back of federal funding of the city has made the modernization of infrastructure impossible in a fashion comparable with that taking place in other cities that are carrying out today’s most important international mega-projects. A thorough diagnosis of the economic characteristics of the met- gustavo garza received his Ph.D. in economics from the National Autonomous University of ropolitan area can serve as a start- Mexico. He also holds a specialized diploma from the University of Cambridge and a master’s degree ing point in the design of a realistic from the College of Mexico. Since 1970, he has a full-time professor and researcher of the strategy to stimulate further pro- been Center for Demographic Urban and Environmental ductive development and mod- Studies, at College of Mexico. Garza has published 225 articles and book ern services. Replicating the char- chapters on Urban Development in Mexico and the author of 28 books in the field. He has acteristics of other post-industrial is also been visiting researcher at the University societies requires following the of California, the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP), University of Texas, the outlines of the evolution of the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics, and at the University of Alcalá, city’s participation in the national Spain. He has won the National Economics Prize, Gabino Barreda Medal from UNAM and he was economy and in the domestic the awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was also director of the Center for Demographic Studies macroeconomic structure. Diminishing concentration During the first period under analysis, the so-called “Economic Mi-

and Urban Development at College of Mexico and in 1994 was appointed Founding Director of the Institute for Urban Studies of Nuevo León. His 2010 research has been entitled, “Intrametropolitan Structuring in the Service Sector in Mexico City, 1960-2008.”


“ Today the capital contributes about one quarter of the country’s overall economic activity. ”

racle,” the metropolitan area accounted for 33.3% of the total national GDP (1960). Manufacturing accounted for 40.9% of the GDP and services a further 37.5%. In that year, 1960, at the height of the industrialization process in Mexico, the nation’s capital was first in industrial output and second in services, both of which represented virtually the entirety of the economy. Between 1970 and 1980, the growth rate of the GDP in the city was slightly higher than for the nation as a whole. This allowed the city to raise its share of the country’s total GDP to 37.7% in 1980, the highest percentage of the GDP reached in the city’s history. In the second period, dubbed the “Lost Decade” (1980-1988), the metropolitan area was severely damaged by a number of factors and its share of the national GDP was reduced to 31.9% in 1988, even lower than it had been in 1960. During the crisis of the 1980s, the city’s traditional industrial hegemony was eclipsed and manufacturing in the capital dropped to 34.7% of the national output. A prolonged recession gave way eventually to the emergence of the services sector as the most important sector in the economy. In 1988, professional services accounted for 38.3% of the total national services and commerce accounted for 35.6% of the GDP, both surpassing manufacturing as the largest parts of the economy. Overall, the services sector accounted for 35.4% of the national economy, for the first time surpassing manufacturing which dropped to 32.9% of the general GDP. During the 1980s, Mexico City’s economy, which had been focused on manufacturing, experienced a transformation



similar to that seen in many other economies worldwide. The services sector which emerged at that time remains the most important part of the productive economy of the metropolitan area. A third economic period, dubbed the “Relative Recovery” (19881993), was characterized by the full implementation of a neo-liberal economic model. During this stage, the metropolitan area recovered partially and levels of economic concentration remained almost unchanged at 31.9 to 31.8% over the 5 year period. This slowed the rapid downturn seen during the 1980s and, again, strengthened the economy’s focus on the services sector. Finally, during the most recent period, the so-called “RecoveryRecession” (1993-2003), the results of the neoliberal “structural adjustment” can be said to have been limited, as the GDP grew at well below the rate observed during the “Economic Miracle” period. Persistent structural imbalances have caused periodic crises such as the 1995 market crash, the recession of 2001-2002 and the recession of 2009. This situation has been very unfavorable to the growth of the metropolitan area which was clearly reduced in overall economic importance, reflected as a percentage of the GDP: 30.2% in 1998 down to 28.9% in 2003. The traditional claim that Mexico City represents a full one third of Mexico’s domestic production is no longer valid. Today the capital contributes about one quarter of the country’s overall economic activity. Some of this relative loss has been in the decentralization process, away from the mega-metropolitan region and outwards towards a subsystem of surrounding cities, while some economic activity has been dispersed to the other nine Mexican cities of over one million inhabitants.


Hegemony of the Services The productive structure of any city is closely related to its size. The metropolitan area had 5.1 million inhabitants in 1960, and as a great metropolis, agriculture and raw materials production were almost nonexistent. Services, on the other hand represented the high figure of 73.3% and manufacturing 26.0% of the city’s total GDP, much higher levels than in the rest of the country. During the “economic miracle,” the metropolis witnessed an increase equivalent to the total national industrial output by surpassing 29.2% of the total GDP in 1980. At the same time, the services sector fell from a very high concentration down to 70.3%. Within the services sector, however, a decline in trade and a rise in communications and transportation both reflected the expansion of a so-called “Knowledge Economy.” During the “lost decade” of 1980 to 1988, the metropolitan area, which had been the most favored city in periods of relative calm, experienced an absolute decline in the GDP. This involved a serious restructuring of the entire productive structure. The manufacturing sector declined to 25.6% in the second year, while the services sector rose to 74.1%. During the “relative recovery” of 1988-1993, structural changes were marginal, both in the country and in the capital city. But the “recovery-recession” of 1993-2003 saw the metropolitan area further reduce its share of the manufacturing sector to 24.7%, the lowest figure in the entire period analyzed. This relative

“During the ‘ economic miracle,’ the metropolis witnessed an increase equivalent to the total national industrial output.”



“de-industrialization” of the city occurred much earlier in the city than in the country as a whole, partly because of the recurrent crises and due to similar trends witnessed in cities worldwide. At the same time, the services sector in the capital reached 74.7% in 2003, the highest level in history. We need to wait for the results of the 2009 economic census to determine the changes that took place up until 2008. The information from these surveys corresponds to the prior year, and we’ll need that information to be able to consider the impact of the crisis of 2009. Conclusion: the challenge of the current recession Mexico was one of the countries most affected by the financial upheaval that erupted in the United States in 2008. The crisis reduced Mexico’s 2009 GDP by 6.5% and by 6.0% within the metropolitan area. What are the chances that Mexico’s capital will return to a path of economic development and social progress in the medium and long term? A satisfactory answer to that question would require a complex analysis and lengthy research into the determinants of productive development in the city and its relation to the national economy, research which has yet to be performed. Pending a systemic analysis of the dynamics of the productive economic sectors in the capital, research should focus on the analysis of the characteristics of modern service activities in which the producers specialize primarily in high technology. These are the characteristics that define all of today’s knowledge societies and that will define the metropolitan area of Mexico City, as a knowledge-based economy, and as a meta-synthesis of the first multi-dimensional development plan of the urban economy.


money collected from


provides CARE FOR

over 68 years of age

scholarships for

50,000 240,000 unemployed persons



students enrolled in the city’s school system, amongst others.

UNESCO has designated

four places of unique beauty in the city as World Heritage Sites: the Historic Center with its 1436 significant buildings and monuments; Xochimilco, with 200 miles of canals; the Luis Barragan House and Architectural Museum, and the Ciudad Universitaria of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

each year, about 30% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the entire nation is produced in the metropolitan area.

The Federal District

framework in the city allows public-private partnerships, joint ventures, long-term leases and similar financial schemes. The city has captured investment in public-private infrastructure of nearly 70 billion pesos since the new rules went into effect.


480,000 school adults breakfasts support for

A new legal

was found to be the most competitive when compared to any of the 32 states in the country - The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO).

Mexico City’s


airport services

46 destinations worldwide.

Including thOSE IN THE metropolitan area, there are 10 AIRPORTS. With almost

8million annual international


the city is a hub for transportation.


More than

22.5 million

international tourists visit each year from 188 countries.

90% OF DEBT IN 2007

was refinanced. The city currently has a AAA financial rating.

Women make up almost



Mexico City offers an enormous range of tourist


115 museums,

41 galleries, 100 theaters,

640 hotels with almost 50,000 rooms,

and 1,300 crafts markets are in the city.

of the workforce,

easily the highest


of anywhere in the country

and a labor segment that is growing fast, having jumped

6% since 2006.

All police rank and file received a salary increase of 5% in budgetary year 2009.

The financial sector is one of the key sectors in the capital city, with 1.25 debit cards issued per every economically active person and 11.6 bank branches per 100,000 inhabitants.

Frida Khalo park

coyoacán neighborhood

My beloved Mexico City, my birthplace, with its surprising exuberance, fills me with pride and a sense of wonder. This vast, dense metropolis of magical continuity invites us to unveil its beauty and exoticism to the rhythm of echoing drums, melodic flutes, and feathered dancers who preserve ancient Aztec traditions. We also hear the music of marimbas, heritage from the faraway Philippines, which was linked to the Viceroyalty of Mexico for 250 years in the Spanish monarchy. The joy of dance dissolves isolation and urban barriers in its public squares. On weekends people flock to traditional street markets, such as the centuries-old “Lagunilla” where unimaginably curious and rare things can be found. Here, as an antiquarian, I have found pieces, whose identity has been lost, but that still bear the artist’s master hand, allowing us to trace their past and restore them to their rightful place of distinction. “The City of Palaces,” as Baron von Humboldt called it, celebrates its name in civil and religious edifices (theaters, museums, and churches) full of surprises ready to be discovered by the fortunate and the intrepid, who stand before a treasure chest full of countless memorable things from the past—curiosities, ironies, and even delicacies—in this bustling, beautiful, boundless, and marvelous city of Mexico that forever will remain in our hearts.

Rodrigo Rivero Lake

Rodrigo Rivero Lake is a Mexico City based

antique dealer and art consultant who specializes in Viceregal Mexican Art, particularly on the cultural exchange between Asia and Mexico. many pieces from his extensive and eclectic art collection have been included in museum exhibitions around the world.



Lagunilla Market northern downtown

The Ghosts’ Jetty

Alejandro del valle

A Babel mended with a thousand faces Not from your secular and slender terrain I will tell Quickly The grimace Of your own history Or the heroic spasm of your shadow Not because of your old women's shoes Or your beloved cry of first-time born Your heart is not a recent allegory Neither a rebel disaster There is something of you spread on us all And something of all us dusted In your places Never opened The ghosts’ jetty Devastating navel of the world Mortgaged lake You belong to me and I give myself to you In an endless romance I'm your pupils, you are my soul (And sometimes I see you crying And you want it may not be noticed) (Translation: José Antonio Hernández)

Alejandro del Valle is a

doctor and poet. He received the Ramón López Velarde National Poetry Prize

in 2008. The city has been his biggest inspiration and in it, he says, are all of the most significant symbols in the country's history. To walk its streets is to recall this history.

Mexico City is quickly becoming more livable, balanced and environmentally friendly. To protect the environment and maintain harmony among residents, a wide range of sustainable practices have been introduced and adopted. Through initiatives that seek to reduce pollution, restore public spaces, improve mobility, and create green areas, the city has been able to not only beautify itself but to provide a better quality of life, positioning itself among the world’s most fascinating places.






Sus tain ability LOCAL HERBS AND PLANTS- Xochimilco Market



      INTERVIEW with Fernando Menéndez Garza, P.214

Coordinator of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Commission in Mexico City.

WATER P.216 ENERGY SAVINGS and Efficiency P.219 INTERVIEW with Armando Laborde de la Peña, P.221 Director of the social entrepreneurial NGO Ashoka, for Mexico and Central America.

Points of View Government Civil Society Academia Private Sector

MEXICO CITY’S AIR QUALITY P.222 DOWNTOWN MEXICO: the Democratization of Citizenship P.226 THE NEW URBAN ORDER and Public Space P.232 INTERVIEW with Jorge Tamés y Batta, P.234 Director of the Architecture Department of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.


General Director of the Center for the Study of the Metropolitan Area / Metropolis 2025.

 HORIZON SURPASSED The Magdalena River Project


      ESSAY: PETER KRIEGER SUSTAINABILITY in the Mexican Megalopolis: Prospects and Potential










impossible to think of Mexico City and any idea of ecological equilibrium without remembering the original inhabitants of the city. The Aztecs managed to harmoniously combine their complex and sophisticated worldview, sustainably and consistently, with the vast lake at the center of the Valley of Mexico. This perfect urban balance between agricultural production, water use and city planning supported a network of land and water ways, as well as a good part of the city. Atop elevated levees, beneath which the water flowed freely, a tremendous civilization thrived. Upon the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, who brought with them little willingness to understand the world of the conquered, this long preserved equilibrium was dismantled and forgotten. With the fall of the Aztecs, a Baroque city was established. Vestiges of that city are still visible in today’s Mexico City and recall the marvelous urbanism of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The urban planning of the period, built upon the idea of remarkable public spaces, set a tone for thinking about a balanced, sustainable city. The trials of the ninetienth century tamed and moderated the city’s Baroque tendencies and saw the construction of most of the older neighborhoods still visible today. During the years of the Mexican Revolution, a darkness descended over the city. It was only between the 1930s and 40s that the idea of great public spaces re-emerged and the creation of vertical cities came into vogue in more developed economies. No one expected what would come in the next two decades: the beginning of the largest population growth in the history of the city. A poor sense of urban planning


blindly responded to this challenge, opening the way for urban sprawl that stretches, today, well beyond the city limits into the State of Mexico. More and more ubiquitous grew the comparisons with Los Angeles, California, a city where the automobile and suburban housing are synonymous with wealth and social advancement. The many inequities of the city solidified and they became some of today’s inherited problems. Like any megalopolis, Mexico City suffers from a complex series of difficulties. In recent years, horizontal expansion has resulted from a fear of vertical construction after the 1985 earthquake, and much more affordable real estate in the suburbs. Both factors precipitated the exodus of 1.5 million inhabitants from the city’s central neighborhoods. The Federal District is home to more than eight million inhabitants, while the State of Mexico adds an additional 12 million. Together they comprise the second largest urban agglomeration in the world. Uncontrolled urban growth brought another series of negative effects that urban planning hasn’t resolved: overexploitation of the city’s aquifers and degradation of the public transport network which makes up 80% of all the trips undertaken in the city. The preeminence of private vehicles - which account for 80% of traffic in the city - is ironic, for they move only 20% of traveling people. Informal private housing in sensitive high-risk conservation areas has aggravated attempts to dispose of the 12,500 tons of solid waste produced daily in the city. To minimize these problems is to deny, absurdly, the very nature of today’s city.



Still, the city has the knowledge and human talent needed to confront these challenges. The city continues to be the political and economic center of the country, contributing nearly 20% of national GDP while the overall metropolitan area contributes 32%. For its part, the city is working on a long-term New Urban Order. The program promotes public awareness and the generation of alternatives and solutions to emerging problems. Projects include the construction of the three first lines of the Metrobus Bus Rapid Transit System, which makes about 500,000 trips per day and the construction of the subway line 12, connecting the vast south of the city; the planning of the wastewater treatment plant at Atotonilco, which will be one of the largest in the world; and the construction of the east side tunnel with the purpose to drain rainwater and prevent flooding. The New Urban Order plan also includes the implementation of Ecobici, the largest public bicycle program in Latin America. The launch of energy saving projects across the city and substantial reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases, thanks in part to measures taken since the late 1980s are all steps that have already paid off. Newer measures include restrictions on driving, the elimination of lead from gasoline, and a network to monitor pollutants in the atmosphere. Today, these are all the pride of the city and set examples for the world to follow. Prospects are encouraging and the residents of Mexico City are more aware than ever that a change in the mindset of the city is essential to the future.


Public Transport System


Urbanized areas

Federal District border Beltways, avenues, axis roads and streets Subway network

L1 L2 L3

Busiest subway lines Subway line 12 (under construction)

El Rosario


Metrobus routes

Río de los Remedios


Indios Verdes

Metrobus line 3 (under construction)

Martín Carrera

Central del Norte

Suburban train Project for two additional Suburban Train lines

Ins ur ge nt es

Tacuba L2

Cuatro Caminos

Buena Vista

Plaza de la Constitución

Light rail Inter-city bus terminals

rma Refo

Bosque de Chapultepec

Bosque de Aragón

Central del Oriente

Av. Chapultepec San Lázaro


Constituyentes L1

rico Perifé

Revo lució n Insu rgen tes


Barranca del Muerto

Eje Cent ra




Central Poniente Observatorio

Chu rub usc o

Principle CETRAMS (Modal Transfer Centers) of regional significance




Ciudad Universitaria

Constitució 1917 Central Sur Taxqueña

Glorieta de Vaqueritos Huipulco

5 km

10 km


Santa Río Anita

Taxqueña L2



El Caminero




User preference by type of public transportation


Data from the 2007 INEGI survey of destinations, for 46,500 homes (%).

Jardín de Morelos

Collective transportation including buses, mini buses, and “combis.”


Ciudad Azteca




9.5 Metrobus 0.5

Others (suburban buses, Rapid Transit Buses and trolley-buses).

Principal transportation options within the Metropolitan Area


Subway network:

Composed of 11 train lines with a combined length of 177 km of double track, 175 stations, and a fleet of 355 trains, the Mexico City subway serves a daily ridership of 4.4 million. Line 12 is under construction. Three lines of Metrobus:

Bus Rapid Transit systems provide high technology and quality transit through companies that provide integrated transportation services, fare collection and resource management.


La Paz

Suburban Train:

At 27 kilometers long with 60 rail cars, seven stations serve 125,000 daily passengers to the northwest of the metropolis.



Chalco Tlaltenco

The Federal District is served by a fleet of 108,041 registered taxi cabs. The service moves more than 1.25 million passengers every day. Source:Transportation and Roadway Program(PITV) 2001-2006, SETRAVI. INEGI Census, Results of the 2007 Origin and Destination Survey of 46,500 homes.

Point of View


Fernando Menéndez Garza Coordinator of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Commission in Mexico City.

With success stories such as the control of emissions from vehicles and pending challenges like the use of advanced technology in the management of solid waste, the City is still in the process of finding solutions that will allow it to be a viable megalopolis in the future.

“By processing landfill emissions, we can reduce their harmful effects by


    In Mexico City, most carbon dioxide is produced by transportation (43%) and industry (22%). How does the government presently confront this problem?

This is one of the success stories of the city. We are building new subway lines, adding to a system which already reaches 200 kilometers and which provides 4.5 million trips per day. We’re working on the Metrobus Bus Rapid Transit lanes, where buses run in dedicated lanes to avoid slow traffic.

People are starting to get out of their private cars. It’s much faster and less stressful. We’ve controlled the emissions from vehicles. Twice a year, private cars are verified as yielding the least amount of pollutants and we’ve replaced the taxis for fewer emissions per passenger. We’ve also requested cleaner fuels from Mexican Petroleum (Pemex), and we’re testing electric and hybrid vehicles to calculate their impact on the environment.

    What are some of the innovations that can help us adapt to climate change?

We are working on closing one of the biggest landfills and we want to start bidding for more advanced technology in the management of solid waste, and using gas from solid waste for power generation, organic waste to produce compost and biogas, and these in turn will produce electricity and fuel for vehicles. If we process these valuable emissions from landfills, and prevent

Until 1950, the city was self-sufficient in terms of water supply. Today, groundwater is over-exploited. The only viable solution for Mexico City is the treatment and recycling of water. them from escaping into the atmosphere and contributing to the greenhouse effect, we can reduce their harmful effects by 20%.

    How are the residents of Mexico City being educated and informed about climate change caused by habitual polluting activities?

Children, especially, seem more aware of the climate change caused by pollutants. Today, they are far better environmentalists than adults. Many people still don’t understand what’s happening in the world. For example, during the last two thousand five hundred years, Earth has maintained the same temperature, 24 degrees Celsius on average, but today it is two degrees warmer. It’s only been two or three years since we began to understand why and how it happened.

    What has been the overall view in Mexico City with respect to the emission of greenhouse gases?

The city has expanded in every sense of the word. Economic welfare is linked to the consumption of hydrocarbons. In 1988, I led the first comprehensive program to improve air quality in Mexico City. We’ve put far less reactive fuels into the atmosphere since then and we’ve put into circulation more public transportation. We went from cars to vans and minibuses,

which were then for 28 passengers. It was a good move at the time but, today, they’ve became a hindrance. There have been government administrations that did not meet their obligations by introducing larger buses. Reforestation programs have been initiated, although we’ve lost many conservation lands in the mountains surrounding the Valley of Mexico, all of which are recharge areas which supply 60% of the water consumed in the city.

    What results has the Atmospheric Monitoring Network of Mexico City generated?

Until recently it was the second largest network in the world, after that of Los Angeles, California. We have 36 stations that measure pollutants by all criteria, namely those at ground level: lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and now we are going to measure benzene and xylene, among others, all of which are derived from hydrocarbons and are highly carcinogenic and mutagenic. The monitoring network was established in 1986. Environmental groups complained that there was dreadful pollution in Mexico City - and it was true. Sometimes you could not see upwards beyond five or ten meters just due to the density. At that time, it exceeded three times the international limit for ozone.



    What actions or programs is Mexico City’s government of implementing to reduce water demand and to improve the availability of water per capita?

Until 1950, the city was self-sufficient in terms of water supply. Today, groundwater is over-exploited. The central area of the city was a lake where water still existed until recently, but today it is found only at a significant depth beneath the ground. Water started being brought from the Lerma River, from a town on the other side of the mountains in the State of Mexico. But, given the location, the water had to be elevated to an altitude of 1,000 meters in order to finally reach the city. When that eventually became insufficient, seven dams were constructed in the State of Mexico plus another in Valle de Bravo. Water was stored in this last one and transported along a 127 kilometer pipeline to the metropolitan area. It has become clear that the overexploitation of water to supply the city represents 1.5 times the recharge capacity of the watershed. For every hectare of land occupied in the city, 5 million gallons of water per year are lost, forever. The fact is that water extracted comes from Valle de Bravo, or from the Lerma River, and conflicts with local communities have arisen due to the fact that the water is actually theirs. The only viable solution for Mexico City is the treatment and recycling of water.


water Many people in Mexico will tell you that in a primary school history lesson they learned that the Spanish conquerors destroyed ancient Tenochtitlan. Then they used the rubble of the ancient imperial capital to build a new city to represent the power of the colonizers.


He former capital of the Aztec empire was located in the central part of the Valley of Mexico, built on top of and around the lakes of Texcoco, Chalco, Xaltocan, Xochimilco and Zumpango. Despite the floods that they constantly suffered, the Aztec culture learned to live in harmony with the lakes thanks to a complex system of dikes and chinampas – the ‘floating gardens’ that the astonished Spaniards found – and which allowed them to control the level of water in the lakes and to create artificial islands for agriculture. It is said that some 60,000 canoes moved around and through this complex system every day. Until the 1930s, it was still possible to travel from Xochimilco to the very center of the city through these canals. What is not always mentioned in history classes, however, is that the fall of Tenochtitlan paved the way for a new paradigm in the relationship between man and lake. The Spanish set about establishing a process of urbanization that disrupted the harmony the native people had achieved, preferring instead to drain the lakes. Today the lakes have all but disappeared and have given way to the formidable Mexico City. The Valley of Mexico is surrounded by a series of mountain ranges that send water down to the lakes by way of rivers and springs, allowing the area’s aquifers to be replenished. An aquifer is a complex of interconnected geological formations that allow water to be stored underground, to circulate and to be extracted for use. It is from such aquifers, that 70% of the water used in Mexico City is extracted. Today’s water problems are the result of higher levels of extraction - which are greater than the natural level of replenishment of the aquifers. Every new hectare of urbanization implies the loss of enough water for 1,500 families which simply exasperates the problem. As a result, the challenges of managing water and the continual process of urbanization are issues of vital importance today. Over-exploitation of the aquiferous layer causes the clay soils of the former lakebeds to condense and sink by between 6 and 28 centimeters (2.4 and 11 inches) every year. Sixty four cubic meters (16,900 gallons) of water currently enter the city every second, but by 2020 it is estimated that the city will require 80 m3/sec (21,200 gallons/sec). This level of over-exploitation of the aquifers will eventually cause the city’s water system to collapse. Mexico City is committed to facing its water challenges, and the last few years have seen extensive public awareness campaigns to reduce domestic water use. But concerns are compounded by the fact that Mexico is a country of relatively low water availability. In 2008, Mexico

had 4,573 m3 (1.2 million gallons) of water available per inhabitant per year. That figure is considerably less than in 1910, when the average was 31,000 m3 (8.2 million gallons) available annually per inhabitant. If no action is taken, by 2030 estimates suggest that Mexico will have but 3,873 m3 (1 million gallons) available per person per year. As well as the constant public awareness campaigns, the city government has begun plans to reduce water leakage in the city, currently estimated at 35%, occurring both in the distribution network and in homes. Work has begun on the construction of major infrastructure projects for water treatment and recycling. One of these is the Eastern Discharge Tunnel, built to provide a water exit point in addition to the Central Discharge, and which will reduce the risk of flooding in the Valley of Mexico. With a depth of between 150 and 200 meters (490 and 650 feet), an inner diameter of seven meters (23 feet), and 62 kilometers (38.5 miles) in length, the tunnel will allow a maximum flow of 150 m3 (40,000 gallons) per second. The creation of sustainable housing projects which make use of rainwater and channel the excess toward replenishing the aquifers and to other non-essential uses are other important ways to address the issue that is currently under study. Also currently underway is the Atotonilco Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will be one of the ten largest water treatment plants in the world when completed. It is expected to clean as much as 23 m3 (6,000 gallons) of wastewater per second. Currently, 6.5 m3 (1,700 gallons) per second are treated for industrial use, for watering parks and gardens, filling recreational lakes and to maintain the levels of the canals in Xochimilco and Tláhuac (the last remnants in the city of the pre-Hispanic chinampa system, but which remain the most important aquifer replenishment sources). Water treatment in the city will rise to 50% with the opening of the Atotonilco plant.

Mexico City stands atop and around a vast network of lakes, rivers and canals. The city hopes to initiate major steps towards the maintenance and recovery of the lake areas that are vital for the city. To this end, the creation of lake-based parks in Tlahuac and Xochimilco is anticipated, and for several years there have been discussions about the need to create a comprehensive plan to restore the lake of Texcoco, which will be integrated into the city as a recreation site surrounded by orderly urban development, though, regretably, more extensive plans have been dismissed as utopian.


the Atotonilco Wastewater Treatment Plant will be one of the


largest water treatment plants in the world

drinkable water TREATMENT PLANT


Once upon a time there was a city on a lake... The territory occupied by present day Mexico City also includes suburban areas of the neighboring State of Mexico. Traces of Texcoco Lake are visible as are remains of the Pre-Hispanic lake area upon which the city was built.

Federal District border line


Pre-Hispanic lake area

Actual metropolitan area

Federal area of Texcoco Lake

The treatment plant at Cerro de la Estrella in Mexico City cov-

Remaining water places




10 km


Source: Metropolitan Area of Mexico City Management Program.


ers an area of 11 hectares, of which seven are occupied by the plant itself. The plant treats between 3,000 and 4,000 liters per second, making by far the most productive in the city. Most of the treated water is then routed back to the lakes district in the city’s Xochimilco area. Every second 20 liters of this water become drinkable, meeting all the federal standards and regulations.


madero avenue lit by night- Historic Center


the city’s energy reduction plan has resulted in a


savings on street lighting.

Jaime Arceo Castro is in charge of the new Coordination of Energy Eficiency, which is directed towards “developing

new energy models based on two strategies: first, the optimization of the energy distribution network such that they represent a smaller percentage of the GDP and second, to further the use of renewable and alternative energies. Energy generation through the use of photo-cells is a very important part of that process.”

Comparable in energy efficiency to cities like Barcelona, Madrid and Paris, in 2007, Mexico

City’s government created the Coordination of Energy Efficiency to propose and implement policies for sustainable energy use.

Energy Savings and Efficiency

A metropolis like Mexico City, with more than 20 million people, demands a lot of energy to keep it going. Besides being the seat of the government, the capital is the number one generator of jobs in the country and the first destination of foreign and domestic private investment. Energy for all of these economic activities and for the daily life of the city is a huge challenge for public policy.


N 2009, the city consumed 319,721 TJ (terajoules), of electricity (15%), propane (14%), natural gas (5.8%) and fuels such as jet fuel (13.2%), gasoline (41%), and diesel (7.5%). Electricity in the city is consumed in the industrial, services, residential, commercial and agricultural sectors of the economy. Of the 14,126 GW / h that were used in 2009, 15% were for essential public services within the city: street lighting, traffic lights, government offices, water pumping systems, and electric transportation such as the light rail and the vast network of subway lines running throughout the city. The subway alone consumes about 40% of Mexico City’s official electricity use. The remaining 60% of electricity is consumed in all other parts of the city. Ninety nine percent of the 487 million m3 (128,651 gallons) of natural gas consumed in the city went to industrial and residential services. However, due to the lack of petrochemical plants and a distribution network and the technical difficulties presented by the aqueous and clay soil of the

GARBAGE, solar energy, wind, and mini and micro-hydro systems

represent major potential turning points which still need momentum. "We have a wealth of energy in the Bordo Poniente, a major landfill to the east of the city which is already producing biogas but that requires domestic and foreign investment. We have a mine which could generate biogas for 25 years and feed a power generation plant with a capacity of approximately 60 megawatts – that alone could provide 40% of the energy consumed by the Public Transportation System," says Jaime Arceo Castro.

city, a natural gas network is not available to most of the city which relies instead on bottled propane. The main source of energy in Mexico City comes from the combustion of hydrocarbons. These are consumed by almost 4 million private vehicles, the network of public transportation and the jet fuel consumed by the international airport, which has been increasing every year along with the domestic and international flights. This enormous consumption of hydrocarbons has set off alarms at every level of government, which is now addressing the seriousness of the consequences that burning hydrocarbons represent to the population. Mexico City is at the center of a horseshoe shaped mountain range that prevents winds from blowing easily over the city, and high levels of stagnant pollution hang over it as a result. Progress in the fight against pollution has been significant. The 1980s saw levels near 400 on the Metropolitan Index of Air Quality (IMECA). Today those levels range between 80 and 120 and the city is working on several fronts to continue to reduce them.

Mexico City’s government has its doors open for new energy proposals and for private sector initiatives. Mexico City’s government has taken concrete actions to make better use of energy in the city. The current administration created the Action Plan for Energy Saving and Efficiecy to reduce energy consumption in areas directly under the city government administration. The plan has resulted in an 11% reduction in current energy consumption in the city’s subway, a 50% reduction in power consumption by the city water pumping system, a 40% savings on street lighting, and a 50% reduction in consumption by the electrical transportation network. Actions have also been taken toward the transition to a natural gas vehicle fleet of franchised taxis and buses, and towards the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with rotary engines that allow dual-fuel use such as hydrogen and gasoline. Some subway stations have already been outfitted with solar cells and LED displays that, with the help of the kinetic energy of the subway trains, have significantly reduced the overeall consumption of electricity in the subway system. The implementation of the solar-LED plan has already allowed the city government to reduce up to 10% of energy consumption in the short term.


Member of the asemblea miravalle, project for a sustainable community


Point of View


Civil Society

ARMANDO LABORDE de la peña Armando Laborde received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and an MBA from the Panamerican Institute in Mexico City. As Executive Director of ProMujer Mexico, he facilitated microcredits to over 11,000 women and he has worked to advance the fair trade movement. He was part of the team that created FinComún, one of the pioneering micro-finance groups in Mexico. Laborde is currently Director of the social entrepreneurial NGO Ashoka, for Mexico and Central America.

“If we can’t generate systemic change that achievement impacts millions of people, will fall far short of a solution.”


Emerging management models have pushed business and corporate responsibility into the forefront and today’s social businesses attempt to reconcile the generation of wealth with social and environmental welfare.     What attributes of the prevailing development model need to be reconsidered as we face the current economic, environmental and social crisis?

Economic models have thus far focused on generating resources and only once there are profits have they turned to supporting environmental and social projects. It is a completely decoupled model. We need to find suitable solutions that work for both sectors: economic development models that have a positive social impact and that are environmentally sustainable from the beginning. These are starting to emerge and it’s a very exciting time.

sell their products door to door. They partnered with a social entrepreneur, Carlos Cruz of Cauce Ciudadano, which works with kids from street gangs. They began to employ their sisters and mothers as vendors, implementing the methodology “Skills for Life”, to increase their livelihood and ensuring less rotation for Danone. Danone makes money simply because it’s selling products in new distribution channels. Cauce is winning because it’s training and empowering the community and generating resources for women.

    Why do you think that both business and civil society organizations are ex    What is the global trend on this sub- periencing such a similar awakening? ject and how has Ashoka postioned it- We realized that achievements have been self with respect to it? insufficient when put into perspective with

We’ve noted that different platforms are already converging into same solutions. Social projects are incorporating elements of business strategy and there are businessmen who are challenging traditional models of corporate social responsibility to turn them into management models. That is just what we are after. At Ashoka Mexico and Central America, three years ago, we selected our first social entrepreneur, Felipe Vergara who finances human capital. The resources are derived from investment funds, this is revolutionary in the way that it triggers the human capital but it also generates returns. We have a project with Danone yogurt who wanted to create a distribution line to

the challenges being faced. If we can’t generate systemic change that impacts millions of people, any achievement will fall far short of a solution.

    Why would the businesses change their strategies if their profit margins are already satisfactory?

Results in microfinancing have demonstrated, and opened up the perspective, that it’s possible to generate wealth by helping out. What we’ll see from now on is the next generation of these types of services, in schemes such as job placements, housing and health services. The beauty of these new models is that they are real businesses. There’s a huge potential market that is not being serviced.

We’re not only helping to finance and in capacity building, if the model works correctly, then a very interesting investment option will be opened as a result. Businessmen will eventually realize that as they help to develop these models the possibility of attending to millions of people who have not had access to their services and products before will open up.

    How are ethical and moral boundaries being delineated as we enter into previously unexplored markets?

The competition will be the primary regulator. If there’s a market where someone can get absurdly high rates, soon there will be other investors wanting to enter. If there are 50 institutions offering microfinance, the same market will be able to decide what they want and delimit offer. There will be single markets at the beginning that will make them attractive to the private sector. And exploring them will require new businesses. Microfinance has also showed that there are not only bankers willing to explore this niche, but entrepreneurs seeking a different way of doing business.

There’s a huge potential market that is not being servICed. businessmen will eventually realize that as they help to develop new models the possibility of attending to millions of people who have not had access to their services before will open up.

MEXICO city ’s air quality view of skyscrapers on Reforma business corridor

Dr. Mario Molina Dr. Mario Molina is a chemical engineer who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for his research on ozone and chlorofluorocarbons.

In the late 1980s and the early 90s air pollutants in the city were at an all time high. Technical innovations and government intervention have improved air quality dramatically.     What are the challenges faced by large cities in terms of preserving air quality?

Megacities like Mexico City face enormous problems because of the concentration of cars, trucks and vehicles that emit so many pollutants. Two closely connected challenges confront us: reducing the emissions of pollutants is important but we also need to optimize the transportation system, so that people can move efficiently at much lower rates of emissions.

    How does economic growth affect the levels of pollutants in the air and vice versa?

Mexico City is positioned in a valley, surrounded by mountains that create a natural barrier that prevents the wind from easily sweeping away emissions. At 2,240 meters (7,350 feet) above sea level, the air contains significantly less oxygen.


He Mexican capital, a megalopolis of more than 20 million people, holds 4.3 million vehicles which travel its streets and urban highways. Together with more than 50,000 industrial installations, fuel consumption hovers at about 44 million liters per day. The daily result is more than 2.7 million tons of pollutants and 2.5 million tons of greenhouse gases. In the late 1980s, air pollution simply did not allow a good quality of life as air-borne contaminants exceeded health standards, prevented visibility, and caused multiple respiratory and health disorders. Local and federal governments were forced to take drastic measures and, 20 years later, the most dangerous contaminants, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and lead are within basic levels that do not seriously damage health. Twenty years ago, a glimpse of the volcanoes surrounding the city might be possible but one or two days per year. Today, air quality standards allow them to be seen, if not perfectly clearly, most days of the year. Since 1986, a pollutant monitoring system of 36 stations throughout the metropolitan area has delivered continual information on air conditions. In 1989, during the Manuel Camacho Solís administration, the first programs were implemented to bring emissions of sulfur dioxide and heavy particles under control. Sulfur in fuels was reduced and highly polluting industries were forbidden within the metropolitan area. Fuels that produce highly toxic substances, such as fuel oil, were also restricted. Substantial reductions in carbon monoxide also resulted from mandatory changes in vehicle technology and emissions testing.

With the first units of economic development, environmental problems can worsen and air quality can deteriorate. But empirically we know that after reaching a further level of economic development, these environmental problems can again start to decline. This can be explained by the fact that governments lacking resources simply do not impose limitations on vehicles. That’s what happened here in Mexico. What best suits the city, even from an economic point of view, is to have limitations that encourage a better quality of life. Technical restrictions are imposed, like mandatory catalytic converters on vehicles for which emissions are reduced. As the economy develops, the vehicle fleet is using newer technology, and with government intervention, economic development and air quality are both improved simultaneously.

 What production processes have the most impact on air quality?

In large cities, transportation has the biggest impact. More than three quarters of the pollution is from the transportation sector. Today, it’s only in some Chinese cities or in Cairo where this is not the case and that is because these few cities are still home to a lot of dirty industries. In these cases, government support should encourage development away from dirty industries, as was the case in Mexico City. But after that, the most common pollutants are going to be from the transportation sector. With up-to-date technologies for vehicles, emissions are already very low, so then it is a matter of imposing these new technologies. You can’t allow highly polluting cars more than 10 years old to continue circulating in your city.

“Empirically, we know that after reaching a certain economic level, environmental

problems can start to decline.” SUSTAINABILITY     What are the most important technologies for Mexico City in the area of transportation?

Whether gasoline powered or diesel, the new engines coupled with catalytic converters or filters are the most important. The technology that reduces these emissions are very advanced. Diesel has a very bad reputation, for example. People think of it as a fuel for garbage trucks belching black smoke. But in Europe they use diesel in millions of light vehicles along with new technologies that have proven to be really clean. Basically, technology has vastly improved the pollution levels that result from both gasoline and diesel powered vehicles.

    What factors have been the most important to the progress made in air quality in Mexico City?

Government intervention has been the most important factor. We’ve collaborated with the authorities to develop detailed plans for how to reduce emissions through two main steps: ensure that all new vehicles include advanced technologies to reduce emissions, and the instauration of a program so that old vehicles already running are eventually taken out of circulation. Mexico City was a highly polluted city in the 1990s. There were no catalytic converters and the air in the city was unbearable. Many cars were still burning leaded gasoline that didn’t even allow the use of catalytic converters. The fuel had to be changed to allow the use of these new technologies and that alone permitted a huge reduction in emissions. More recently, programs such as emissions verifications have also helped.

    What steps still need to be taken and what role will new technologies play? Today’s high end technologies require very low sulfur fuels. Mexico has promised to have more of this fuel available for cities like its capital, so that they can require these technologies and improve air quality further. Pemex, the Mexican national petroleum company, is committed to producing the fuel, but there have been some technical delays in delivering it in any quantity. In the meantime both diesel and gasoline is being imported, so there’s been no delay in the standards of the available new cars.

    What should be the role of the private sector and civil society?

Private enterprise has to work with the government. That’s most clear in the automotive industry. Civil society, though, also needs to accept the new rules. Obviously, a car with these catalytic con-


verters costs more than one without them, but without them we can simply no longer live in Mexico City. Civil society did play an important role when the city was badly contaminated. The government was actually sued because it wouldn’t take corrective action. Today, both the private sector and civil society need to pressure the government for substantial improvements in public transportation so that more people will use it. Public transportation needs to be convenient, cheap, and efficient. It has improved a great deal but it still lacks efficiency and the connectivity that would make it the first transportation option. Without a really good public transportation option, you can’t put restrictions on car use, like raising the prices of parking and toll roads. Further, and more directly connected to what we’ve already said about modern technologies, is the issue of modernizing heavy vehicles and the trucking industry.

    Is there any other successful project that could be replicated in Mexico City?

Many European cities offer a very high quality of life. Some of them are congested, but in general they offer very satisfactory public transportation. The difference between the United States and Mexico is that the fuel itself is much more expensive here. Users have to pay a higher tax because otherwise the government is subsidizing automobile use. The additional cost of eliminating the subsidy will encourage the use of public transport. In Europe, it’s also much more common to use diesel vehicles that emit less gases that directly impact health though they do affect the climate with carbon dioxide. We need to begin to reduce those emissions too, again, through transportation efficiency.

  Electric cars, solar power, biofuel or natural gas? What’s the best option for the city in the near future?

Hybrid cars are already in operation in many cities. Big car companies are already producing them and though there are not many of them, there are plans to encourage their use. This is a first step. Hybrid is a proven technology and the difference with a normal car is in efficiency. The same amount of fuel can move a lot more mileage and pollute far less. Electric cars are also being produced and experience is being gained from them but they will be more expensive and they still need better batteries. But we’re already close to achieving a lot of this and simultaneously improving air quality and climate change problems.



artha Delgado, head of the Department of the Environment of Mexico City, remarked, “We are cleaning up our city and we want to project it. We want to convey the image of a green city that is committed to sustainability.” In 2008, the government of Mexico City created the Green Plan, dedicated to sustainability issues such as soil conservation, housing and public space, water, mobility, air, solid waste, climate change, and energy. The plan includes measures to strengthen and improve the quality of life in the capital city. To implement this plan, success stories in other cities around the world were considered. Examples include those in transportation such as the Bus Rapid Transit system which in Mexico City is known as Metrobus. The Spanish experience of using public bicycles came to be known in Mexico City as Ecobici. These measures, among others, helped to improve air quality and the overall environment of the capital. In the private sector, initiatives to encourage green buildings and roof tops in the city have been developing as have been programs to enourage the use of bicycles by employees and workers. The Green Plan also includes reductions in vehicle emissions, wastewater treatment and efficient management of solid waste. MARTHA DELGADO- Secretary of the Department of the Environment

Air quality in Mexico City and the Metropolitan Area The Metropolitan Index of Air Quality (IMECA) is the established hourly measure used to monitor air pollution levels in Mexico City. IMECA analyzes pollutant levels like ozone (O3), carbon monoxode (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particles of less than ten micrometers (PM10).

Ozone Trend (annual maximum) The indicators show a decrease in both chronic and acute averages since 1992. 00 Number of

Maximum ozone concentration averaged over eight hours. (Indicates chronic exposure).

Annual maximum ozone concentration averaged over an hour. (Indicates acute exposure).

clean air days.


181 185

Particles per million (ppm) 0.403 0.370


151 0.349 0.318 0.323

0.312 0.237 0.247




0.309 0.282






0.187 0.191 0.192 0.201 41 41 39 43 45





0.284 80 65 0.243






43 0.158 0.189 0.139 0.172 0.169 0.129 0.135 0.127 0.126 0.122 0.124 0.159

21 9 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

Carbon Dioxide (average concentration ppm)

Carbon Monoxide (average concentration ppm) 0.07


0.06 3.0

0.05 0.04


0.03 0.02


0.01 0.0


2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 July

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 July

Heavy Suspended Particles (PM10) concentration (Âľg/m3)

Sulfur Dioxide (average concentration ppm) 0.02


50 0.01 25



2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 July

Atmospheric Monitoring Network

54 41

remote and sampling stations work continuously. are installed in the Federal District and 13 in the neighboring State of Mexico.

Source: Atmospheric Monitoring Sistem of Mexico City (SIMAT).

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 March



The Democratization of Citizenship Aimed at improving the overall image of Mexico City, and in particular the image of the very heart of the city, the Historic Center Authority has worked to recover common areas so that residents can reclaim the city center’s streets and reawaken life in the city’s oldest neighborhoods.


N 2007, the mayor of the Federal District, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón, created the Historic Center Authority with the aim of promoting and better presenting this important area of Mexico City. Historian Alejandra Moreno Toscano has been in charge from the start. “The idea behind setting up the Authority was to move towards some final decisions on the downtown area and to provide it with its own management,” Toscano explained. She continued by emphasizing attempts made by earlier administrations to coordinate all the activities carried out in the city’s historical downtown district. Restoring the image of this area imparts a sense of democratization for city residents and improves the area’s livability and the potential for co-existence in a space where all residents are given priority. “This remains the setting where key events in the national life have unfolded. The interface between the Mexico City’s government and the federal government is complex but there is a high level of coordination so that everybody achieves what we set out to do.” There’s no doubt that this is a difficult undertaking, but from the start, the Historic Center Authority has set itself specific goals that have led to a set of initial key projects. Repaving streets, the creation of pedestrian corridors, maintaining historic buildings and public plazas, repairing key building facades, the attractive lighting of monuments, and the construction of the Bicentennial plaza are among the most important public space priorities.



VÍCTOR ZAVALA Víctor Zavala is a Board Member at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Mexico City. He assesses green initiatives that work within the Historic Center. He is currently President of the association of neighbors Unidos por el Centro Histórico.

The project Unidos por el centro HistÓrico seeks to promote resettlement in Mexico City’s downtown and to improve its functionality.

For Dr. Moreno Toscano, the idea of the Historic Center takes on a vital relevance when we realize the role played by the citizen in the construction of the city. “Public space is where people come together. When people go out into the streets it’s a sign that they feel at ease there. The fact that people use and enjoy public spaces is a value. It’s linked to the democratic development of a society. For us, it’s very important to take into account what this society intends its public spaces to be, and then to interpret this in the physical creation of the space.” To achieve this, Toscano explains that a culture of protection needs to be established. Every building requires its own special care, both in terms of the building itself and in what it contains, since a number of them are museums. Once a consultant for UNESCO, Moreno Toscano confirms that the last few years have seen an increasing number of visitors to the old downtown area, and it continues to hold attraction for city residents who bestow a higher value on the zone. People come just to see the center, to stroll around, walk its streets, and this means that the maintenance of the public areas requires twice as much work as any other part of the city. “If you were to ask what differentiates the Historic Center area of Mexico City from that of any other in the country, the answer is the number of people. Mexico City’s center is distinguished by this flux and the presence here of all the society. This concentration and diversity make it an area that’s full of surprises. Part of the fascination with the city center is with all the people you find there.” This recognition lends itself to one of the key goals being backed by the local administration, to build a city of education and knowledge. “We are backing this goal because added value lies in knowledge. We’re backing the fact that scientific and technological developments are among the principal tools of survival. By incorporating new knowledge we’re better able to integrate it with society’s needs. We’re in one of those epochs

  How have changes been initially conceived in the Historic Center? How have the city government and the neighborhood civil associations collaborated?

Since the National Autonomous University ceased all operations in the Historic Center after the 1985 earthquake, it was virtually uninhabited. Buildings were abandoned and the streets were literally taken over by vendors. Re-population was difficult and costly. Then the government stepped in to offer a private initiative. A trust was created to buy up properties and to repair some of the infrastructure. With Bando Dos - a delineation to prevent the Center from continuing to develop outside certain limits - former Mayor López-Obrador also contributed to the work of restoration and recovery in the area.

  What has changed in the Historic Center over the last seven years?

The urban infrastructure has been repaired. There has also been investment in

Dr. Alejandra Moreno Toscano , President of the Historic Center Authority

5 de febrero street- Historic Center

where you have a synergy of change which you can realize in concrete ways.” Mexico City now functions as an open space for pilot initiatives, for a new society that Moreno Toscano defines as inclusive, equitable and open.

“The fact that people use and enjoy public spaces makes them a public value.” The participation of the private sector in all of these initiatives has been vital to maintaining the Historic Center. The role of the citizen has taken on a new importance as well, since it is the citizen who has to go out and enjoy and activate these spaces. “Maintaining means living in a space and making use of it, while caring for it and preserving it in its optimum condition.” Dr. Alejandra Moreno Toscano also points out that the historic downtown area of Mexico City, awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO, holds a great symbolic importance as the country’s capital. “It is part of the identity of society itself, and we should recognize it as such.” regina walkway- Historic Center

street lighting and public sanitation. Many street vendors have been relocated and overall security has increased. A commercial boom has sprung up with many new shops and an exciting nightlife. It is a totally different Historic Center that people are still discovering and admiring.

  What does the re-population of the Historic Center imply about the city?

The Center is growing as public spaces do. Its development involves more investment in security and innovative public services (like bike paths). But it is also creating discussions where new ideas like pedestrian only zones are being encouraged, and this could also mean that this development will be replicated in other parts of the city.

  What is life like for the residents of the Historic Center?

It's like living in the provinces, everybody knows each other. This creates an atmos-

phere of safety. People know they have support in each other.

  How have the residents participated in the building of this idea of a public space?

We’ve created an organized and united community. We address, together, the everyday problems and we’ve sought the support of private initiatives in the undertaken projects. We’re united by the Historic Center which is serving as a mechanism of communication. The government gives us information and we pass it on to all the neighbors.

  What will the Historic Center be like in ten years?

It’ll be better than it is today. The fact that it’s been declared a World Heritage Site and that every day there are increasing public and private interactions are both factors that point to the renewal of the Center. Commerce is growing and more people are committed to all of the positive changes that continue taking place.

corner of Donceles and Condesa Marconi Streets- Historic Center

Foundation for

the estanquillo museum- Historic Center

the historic CENTER In 2001, the Consulting Council for the Rescue of the Historic Center (CCRCH) was created to rescue, rehabilitate and preserve the Historic Center of Mexico City. The council was made up of representatives from the Federal Government, the Federal District Government and civil society organizations, including members of business and academic organizations as well as professionals in architectural restoration and preservation. The Executive Committee, chaired by Carlos Slim Helú, was intent upon the total revitalization of the entire area and not merely on the rescue and restoration of select buildings. Raising and improving the social and economic status of all of the residents of the area, improving health conditions, increasing the level and quality of education, and generating more and better jobs were among the goals of the government and private sector supporters backing the project. The committee also hoped to encourage residency in the area, by increasing security and the efficiency of public services. Toward the same ends, the committee also worked to encourage more ap-

pealing residential, commercial, cultural, and technological districts within the area. Urban optimization efforts have included regular street cleaning, reforestation and increased care for plazas and gardens. By 2002, the Mexico City Historic Center Foundation was designated as the designer and coordinator of the most prominent efforts from all of the different players involved. The foundation’s goal is to get people back to the Historic Center, to reactivate the area economically, and to increase fiscal stimulus through federal and local tax incentives for new businesses in the area. Several prominent real estate investments have led to extensive restorations and conversions of older building stock into attractive residential units. Projects in the Historic Center such as those at the Department of Foreign Affairs, at several call centers, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the University of the Cloister of Sor Juana, and INTTELMEX have generated interest from around the country. Data from the Federal District Government suggests that total investment in the area has so far exceeded US$20 million.

corner of Isabel la Católica and Madero STREETS- Historic Center


Ricardo Coronel Galvรกn- Fresh Produce Merchant

city to pass THE





THE New Urban Order and Public Space

The Department of Housing and Urban Development of the Federal District has developed a new strategic plan for Mexico City that has been called the New Urban Order.


He idea is to contribute to the city’s development by providing: Equity – ensuring accessibility to disabled people and support to vulnerable groups in finding housing. Sustainability - by protecting natural resources, taking advantage of existing infrastructure and working for greater energy efficiency. Competitiveness - by optimizing infrastructure services and promoting productive investment in a transparent and globally integrated environment. According to Alfonso Chávez, project coordinator of the University Program for Metropolitan Studies (PUEM) of the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM), this New Urban Order is of vital importance to the city. In recent decades, the structure of the metropolitan area has been set up to serve the economic activity of the city - the establishment of business corridors along the main avenues like Reforma and Insurgentes, and in neighborhoods like Santa Fe. Add to this a huge housing sector built almost entirely on an informal basis, and the need to address order in the city is urgent. One of the strategic priorities of the New Urban Order has been to consolidate the green areas that are fundamental to the public spaces of the city. These zones are essential for leisure and entertainment and include urban forests, parks, gardens, roundabouts, medians, among many others. Mexico City currently provides 5.4 square meters of green area to each of its inhabitants. This falls short of the international standard suggested by the World Health Organization of 9 to 16 square meters per inhabitant. Accessibility and inequity in the distribution of green areas also is a problem. Rescuing and creating new public spaces to more fairly integrate the city and to make it more habitable is more necessary than ever. On the other hand, there are also problems with the city’s image of itself, which can be appreciated if one considers the saturation level of advertising on the primary streets of Mexico City. This indiscriminate proliferation is due to a lack of proper regulation and the development of residential areas of irregular character. The situation requires a clear government intervention. To address the issue, the city needs to control the horizontal expansion of urban areas and to protect their natural resources. In 1950 the central neighborhoods of Mexico city had 2.2 million inhabitants, which represented 73% of the

total population. After the heavy depopulation of these neighborhoods between 1970 and 2000, central areas of the city had 1.7 million inhabitants but by 2000 they made up only 20% of the total population. Recent efforts to attract people back to neighborhoods such as Centro, Condesa and Narvarte, among others, have been very encouraging. "This new growth should be planned with regard to factors such as the carrying capacity of the ground, the availability of resources and the existing urban infrastructure," Chávez recommended.

Under the New Urban Order Mexico City has taken the following actions:  The Manos a la Obra Program, which has recovered 1,208 public spaces between 2007 and 2009.

  A program to create 22 new public spaces along Circuito Interior, the inner beltway that rings the central areas of the city.

  A program to reduce outdoor advertising, which restricts billboards on major thoroughfares of the city.

  The Promotion of the following Investment and Development Corridors:

PASEO DE LA REFORMA , 5.86 km of financial services and tourism Eje Central, 19.28 km with emphasis on commerce and services Calzada de Tlalpan, 18.25 km of specialized services such as healthcare Eje 4 South, 18.4 km for transportation, housing and commerce Azcapotzalco, 149.76 hectares focused on high technology

Calzada de los Misterios y Guadalupe, 427 hectares

for religious heritage preservation, culture and tourism.


    Geographic

Information Systems as Planning Tools

Garibaldi square- Historic Center


he University Program for Metropolitan Studies (PUEM) was created as a multidisciplinary space to support the development of new technologies and theory applied to the planning and analysis of the region. Founded in 1986, and drawing resources from the Center for Documentary Information, Statistics and Mapping (CIDEC) and the Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LABSIG), PUEM has become the official forum to address issues at the national and local levels, especially through studies that advance the fields of urban planning, land, housing and geomatics (geographic information planning). Alfonso Chávez, PUEM’s current coordinator, believes that information technology and telecommunications are tools that facilitate the transmission and management of data, information and knowledge. And in urban planning, this is essential. LABSIG currently has a substantial base of alphanumeric and geographic data, called GEOBASE, through which they can combine information from more than 400 population centers in Mexico, each with different coverage and themes. This information, along with high-resolution satellite images, generates spatial analyses that PUEM uses to consult with local authorities throughout Mexico.


Point of View


Jorge Tamés y Batta Jorge Tamés y Batta is the chair of the Department of Architecture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Having served as president of the Union of Schools and Colleges of Architecture in Latin America (UDEFAL) and the Association of Educational Institutions of Architecture of the Mexican Republic (ASINEA), Batta has collaborated with architects Ramón Torres and Abraham Zabludovsky, among others. He has dedicated his professional career to hospital architecture.

The Architecture Department at the UNAM approaches the challenges that the city presents from a multidisciplinary perspective. Challenges are addressed from a theoretical perspective, but the department also works as an architectURE firm with links to both the government and the private sector.

“We have to remove the word

‘sustainability’ from our teaching. It should be implicit in all of the solutions that we propose.”

    What’s going on at the UNAM in terms of confronting the city’s long term sustainability issues?

To start with, we have to remove the word sustainability from our teaching. It should be implicit in all of the architectural solutions that we propose. We’re changing syllabuses to include more subjects that actually connect with environmental issues of concern to the city. We’re also addressing the problems of the city within a more theoretical framework. We have an area in which we develop projects for the government and we attack the problems as if we were an office that has the endorsement and support from all of the disciplines of the university. But any project we’re asked to participate in, we contribute. We participate with the best teachers and students and the best experi-

ences we’ve had have been right here in the city. Sustainability depends on the participation of all of society and we try to see that the projects are integral to the city, from the materials and resources used to the technology and the values that are promoted.

    What role do alternative technologies play in solving the most urgent problems the city is facing? Every architect should consider using new technologies. All it takes is a willingness to look for them, and the creativity to adapt them to our environment. “Tropicalizing” some technology might be necessary as was the case with Ciudad Universitaria. We had to really innovate with the materials that were on hand, stone and lava in that particular case. We test materials with the Engineering Depart-

ment at the University, we’ve thought of new ways to build and we’re proposing new models for the serious cases of flooding in the area. There’s been a lot of research on the re-use of waste materials and into the use of solar energy. We designed a lamp that we’re using in rural villages of Oaxaca which operates with wind or solar energy, and a small electric-powered truck. These inventions and the research that goes into them are then presented in forums and seminars, but to produce and market them on a larger scale really depends more on political will.

    Where should contemporary architecture be focused and what criteria does it need to adhere to?

Those who’ve never stopped talking about the environment and sustainability are still

SUSTAINABILITY with us. In the department today, we’re working on projects that encompass both of these two basic areas. In 1968, when I went to school, I had to take a class called “Environment and City.” Suddenly, it disappeared. So did “Mayan Housing.” It was sustainable architecture, but it was rejected in order to pursue the new architecture, although it’s all based on expensive technologies that aren’t even ours. International architecture is still a dominant influence in the field, and prominent architects like Alberto Kalach and Enrique Norten tend to prefer the international style. The National Center for the Arts that Norten designed, for example, could just as well be in Iztapalapa, in New York or in Turkey. It relies on expensive technology that doesn’t correspond to our identity. I asked Norten once if he was producing Mexican architecture and he replied, “How am I going to not produce Mexican architecture if I’m Mexican?” I think the only architects to have created architecture with an authentic identity, although it may be obvious, were Luis Barragán and now, Legorreta. Also, José Iturbe and Javier Sordo Madaleno, though all of them belong to the same school, probably the closest one to being a “Mexican architecture.” At the UNAM, we have 16 workshops with 400 students in each of them and they’re all workshops of different ideologies. Everything from a really exquisite fashion workshop, resembling a catwalk, to a leftist rebels’ workshop is presented. It’s crucial to instruct from all of these different perspectives that architecture is for the benefit of a client or a community. And that should resonate with anyone’s local identity.

    Speaking of identity, what does the Historic Center represent to the identity of the city?

Every Historic Center has a story that must be acknowledge by architects. Our city’s center is composed of buildings and squares that were made in a sustainable way for the time when they were built. Like Teotihuacan, which belonged to our oldest ancestors, we have more than 500 colonial buildings in the Historic Center. These buildings need to be respectfully preserved because they are part of our identity. The first university was founded in the center near the National Palace, and the corner still exists. There were special build-

ings for Law, Visual Arts and the Academy of San Carlos for architecture which is today used by the Graduate Arts Department. That history is ours. The university district was always very important, but this phase ended when they moved the university to the south of the city and founded Ciudad Universitaria which was still another architectural breakthrough. The Historic Center is extremely important, but as a living city, it can’t be treated as a museum. We have to pursue it as a neighborhood where, again, people live and where there are schools, and shopping and services to support a residential community. Since everything cannot be monasteries, there need to be some modifications with respect to these other uses. Otherwise, at night it would need to be shut down like any museum. Felipe Leal, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and many people in the local government, have made very clear statements expressing the same intentions.

TO any project we’re asked to participate in, we contribute.


Center needs to include options for all socioeconomic groups so that those with less economic power are not relegated to outlying but still sensitive and fragile areas.

  Ciudad Universitaria was an important but idealistic project. What role does the UNAM play in a sustainable city?

Very few people believed in Ciudad Universitaria. It was too far to the south and it broke all the paradigms for a school that, earlier, has been part of a neighborhood. Creating a city from nothing is not easy. It started to take shape, despite being so far, as a part of Mexico City. Although many architects participated in Ciudad Universitaria’s construction, it was all eventually united into one coherent identity. The pavement, the vegetation, and the art of O’Gorman, Rivera and Siqueiros, to name just a few, merged with the architecture into one entity. It’s a well-made and multidisciplinary city and it was sustainably designed and so, today, we have to maintain it as a World Heritage site. Some things have gone wrong. The number of cars, for example, wasn’t anticipated so we had to build a new parking lot, and there’s Pumabus, the bus route that circles the campus, and traffic lights to protect the pedestrians. But Ciudad Universitaria is becoming more sustainable in spite of new generations and time. It’s similar to what’s happening in the Historic Center.

  Ideally, what relationship should exist between the University and the public and     What’s the connection between re- private sectors to plan the perfect city? populating the Historic Center and the The private sector is interested in profits. growth of the city’s suburbs? Companies are very clear that their priorThe Center was basically emptied of inhabitants while the suburbs, some of which are extremely environmentally sensitive areas, have reached their limits. The same lot in Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl, which is a relatively new area, has now already been home to three generations of people. And people are still moving to Chalco and similar distant suburban areas. Every time a new avenue is inaugurated in one of these places, people push to invade these rural areas in Milpa Alta and Tlalpan in the very south of the city. This is an enormous problem, but I should also say that some people are doing a good job in attracting people to the city’s center. The practice of re-inhabiting the Center needs to be done carefully to integrate and set reasonable limits. The

ity is business and that the rules need to be enforced and respected. The government needs to enforce those rules, and the architects need to offer the best solutions within those regulatory guidelines. That is to say, the University has to offer better ways to involve the city and the private sector in questions of how the land will best be used. Academics have always participated in forums with politicians and private companies. Psychologists, philosophers, and engineers are always invited to the University because we’re a big clearing house of ideas. We support the government, whatever party is in power, and it’s a relationship that has become very close because we’ve done projects that have changed the appearance of the city in many ways.

Alternatives in Mobility If there is one issue that concerns every major city in today’s world, surely it is mobility. And in Latin America, governments are wondering how to contain the ever-increasing levels of traffic congestion. why do we spend increasing time moving to school, commuting to work or struggling to go shopping?


Oncerns over mobility are widespread and larger cities are finally beginning to take action towards building cities friendlier to inhabitants, which promote the use of public transportation and non-motorized modes of travel. Mexico City is no exception. Bernardo Baranda, the current director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) for Mexico, has been working closely with the city government to implement policies for alternative and non-motorized travel. What does it mean for a city to be sustainable when it comes to mobility? According to Baranda, a city should reduce the impact on its environment with transportation systems that are economically, socially, and technically sustainable. This should then result in the achievement of clear objectives such as reducing CO2 emissions and increasing vehicular miles traveled by a quality public transportation network. Baranda also considers the creation and promotion of non-motorized vehicles to be absolutely necessary along with economic disincentives to discourage inefficient modes of transportation such as private cars. In Baranda’s view, Mexico City is inefficient and inequitable in terms of mobility. With urban growth and the expansion of the city into the suburbs, the time spent traveling can vary between 1.5 and 3 hours per day, which represents a loss in productive time. As in other cities around the world, the majority of the emissions of greenhouse gases are produced in the transportation sector (40%). He notes that the city’s vehicle fleet offers low levels of quality and safety. About 50% of total trips are made in minibuses and buses, many of which are more than 10 years old and are not designed for appropriate technical specifications. Even more, he believes that the city pays a high price in terms of mobility due to the lack of intermodality, or willingness to change from one form of transport to another, and due to the relatively high risk of accidents. Transfer conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, people with disabilities, children and the elderly have yet to be adequately improved. The big challenge for Mexico City is to generate more high quality transportation alternatives for inhabitants and to reduce their environmental impact. It is also necessary to link mobility to urban development, to include the most vulnerable groups, and to achieve greater accessibility to public transportation for all citizens. Mexico City is committed to sustainable urban development, Baranda continued. The government of Mexico City has been taking action to curb the growth of congestion in the city and to generate worthy and efficient alternatives in transportation. In recent years, the government has initiated important projects including the construction of two Metrobus lines, a Bus Rapid Transit system which runs along 40 kilometers of dedicated lanes and has 80 stations and 200 high capacity articulated buses. This allowed for a radical shift that has eliminated the constant battle between bus drivers for passengers, and standardized the mechanisms of payment and collection through the use of smart, integrated circuit fare cards. Metrobus currently serves an estimated 500,000 travelers per day. Another project of great importance for the city is the construction of the subway line 12. With 20 stations along 25.1 kilometers, it will transport up to 450 000 people per day. This project will directly connect the southeast of the city to the center-west.

As far as bicycling, many believe that Mexico City is simply too big. Baranda contradicts this view, arguing that the majority of trips in Mexico City are less than seven kilometers, a distance that is easily traversable by bicycle in less than 30 minutes, making bicycles a great alternative travel option. A system of public bicycles was recently inaugurated in many parts of the city. Ecobici is the largest public bicycle system in Latin America and one of the 10 largest worldwide. With 85 automated distribution stations, the system provides 1,114 bicycles in the main streets of the city’s central neighborhoods. Ecobici is a response to the city’s strategy for bicycle mobility in Mexico City, which aims to make cycling a safe and viable alternative form of transportation, with the goal of increasing the number of trips by bicycle from 1% to 5% by 2012.

Some of the achievements of the city so far include: The Bus Transit corridor along Paseo de la Reforma has been modernized so that the avenue is again the most important street in the city. At 28.5 kilometers in length, the system carries 175,000 passengers daily and has replaced 369 obsolete buses with 173 technologically modern, low pollution buses.

The Taxi Replacement Program successfully took 9,165 outdated models off of the streets between 2008 and 2009. For Baranda, the future of alternative mobility in the city depends on how well the government can make all of these public resources more efficient. He believes it is necessary to continue investing in public transportation, especially in the Metrobus system, so that the city can count on a network of 20 or 30 Metrobus lines within about 20 years. This will require initiatives to encourage private sector participation, from the current system of concessions to a more business-like approach that will encourage investment in a transparently administered system of public transportation. Besides all these projects, the city must also begin to deepen the use of new technologies that are consistent with sustainable development. Baranda suggested that the next generation of applied mobility technologies in the city must include at least some intelligent real-time mobile telephone technology. New technologies should also be implemented in existing projects such as Transit Oriented Developments (TODs), Metrobus, Ecobici, city parking meters and toll booths. Mexico City has already started its journey towards sustainable and alternative forms of transportation and increased mobility. A lot remains to be done, but current projects have opened a gateway that will allow the city’s government in the future to complement the private sector and the universities, to generate and improve projects based on new technologies and knowledge, in order to make the city more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable.

    Mexico City’s

subway Station under construction- Line 12

Commitment to Public Transportation


he Government of the Federal District has taken long-term action in an effort to ensure an egalitarian, efficient, and sustainable city. Sergio Anibal Martinez, General Director of Highway Planning at the Department of Transport and Roads (SETRAVI), asserts that "The commitment is to public transportation, to systems that provide increased mobility through improved urban transportation networks that are more efficient and less expensive than private vehicles."


Metrobus statioN

 Transit Oriented Development




Artist’s renderings of tod el rosario


an effort to renovate more public spaces, Carso Infrastructura y Construcción S.A.B. de C.V. (CICSA), and Impulsora del Desarollo y el Empleo para América Latina S.A.B. de C.V. (IDEAL) are participating in the modernization of theTransit Oriented Development (TOD) El Rosario. A mixed-use complex that will revitalize the northwest of Mexico City, the center is designed to serve as a critical transit hub. TOD El Rosario is being built in the city’s northwest corner, and is planned as an urban transportation hub to reorganize routes for several public transportation services. These include the city’s subway system, local buses, interstate buses, trolleys and taxis - each offering a comfortable, safe, and efficient interconnection with the others. Routes are to be complemented by a wide range of nearby services such as schools, a hospital, government offices, hotels, retail shops, entertainment and housing and a financial center. The overall architectural complex is designed for daily use by more than 190,000 passengers. Originating primarily in the bordering State of Mexico, passengers will be efficiently directed from TOD El Rosario towards more central zones of Mexico City. Today, the high price paid by each passenger for these same trips is directly reflected in every household budget. With an understanding that more of the city’s growth will be vertical rather than horizontal in the future, the TOD project aims for the re-densification of efficiently located areas, convenient to public transportation, infrastructure and services for living. TOD El Rosario is to be located near the College of Sciences and Humanities, part of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The Autonomous Metropolitan University and the IMSS Medical Unit will constitute some of the nearby services. And the newly opened Bicentennial bikeway, green areas of the Tezozomoc Park, and the Solidarity Monument provide nearby recreational spaces for future residents and commuters.

subway lINE 12 As

subway LINE 12 aims to provide transit service for


part of its overall commitment to the greater good of society, Carso Infrastructura y Construcción S.A.B. de C.V. (CICSA) is participating, alongside other national and international companies, in the construction of Mexico City’s new subway, Metro Line 12, of the Public Transport System (STC). This is the most important public infrastructure project currently underway in the capital city. The new line 12 aims to provide mass transit service to 450,000 people daily in a fast, safe, economical, and environmentally sustainable way. Inhabitants of seven boroughs will be connected to existing subway lines 8, 2, 3 and 7 across the south and west of the city. At a cost of US$ 1.4 billion, subway line 12 will run from Mixcoac to Tláhuac, and, upon completion, will be the longest in the network at 25.1 kilometers with 20 stations. With 35 trains running every 2.5 minutes during peak hours, the new line will include additional services such as bathrooms, nurseries and Internet. To be built in two stages, the first willbe completed in April 2011, and the second in April 2012.


subway under construction- Line 12

New green initiatives Always promising, some green initiatives have only begun to take shape through the actions of citizens’ groups and these have slowly opened up opportunities for collaboration with the government of the city and with the private sector. Some projects are reaching new prominence and new success in the fight for a more sustainable future.


Abriela Rodriguez is the founder and director of VerDF, a project that started with the idea that “The first environmental act is to think of others... and to think of others is to think of oneself.” VerDF is an innovative community-based project working toward economic development through sustainability. Interestingly, the project takes communicative actions, as a great social ‘sensitizer,’ and uses design as a development tool. Actions are based on creative thinking and their applicability into science, art, and technological improvements. The project serves as a network of networks, promoting strategic links between businesses, government, and civil society. Opening opportunities for individual projects and to efficiently circulating systematized information about each project, so that they can make themselves known and find support and notoriety in its own right. A number of green and original projects are growing, each benefiting the city’s population, with the simple but important aim of improving life in the city.

Green Roof Tops

As has happened in cities like Berlin, Tokyo, Toronto, Portland, Chicago, Vancouver, and London, Mexico City began the construction of roof gardens in government buildings and some private ones. The idea is to cover all or part of a roof surface so that technological innovations can serve ecological functions, as in the case of solar photovoltaic panels. Green Roofs can be used for the cultivation of plants, to improve the climate of the building, to filter pollutants and Co2 from air and from harvested rainwater. They also act as an acoustic barrier, protect the diversity of urban areas, and counter the so-called “heat island effect.” Mexico City’s government has taken the first steps toward the promulgation of green roofs in the city as part of the strategies listed in the Green Plan. Nine thousand square meters of green rooftops have been cultivated on schools, subway stations, museums, and government buildings.

phytes, many types of mosses and lichens, orchids, ferns, and bromeliads. Also called “air plants,” many of these species are dependent on other plant species and do not root in the ground. Vertical gardens serve as air filters and regulate heat, reducing temperature by as much as eight degrees outside and can decrease as much as ten decibels of noise pollution. The first vertical gardens in Mexico City went up primarily on private property, but as they have become more prominent, public acceptance and interest in roof gardens has grown. The city expects to continue working with the Vertical Gardens initiative in the coming years.

Battery Recycling Program

Since 2007, the Mexico City government has offered a program for the responsible management of spent batteries as part of an initiative to protect landfills and to promote the responsible management of solid waste. Rusted or improperly disposed batteries contain highly contaminating chemicals such as mercury, cadmium, nickel, and manganese, and produce liquids and gases that pollute water, soil, and air. Environmental studies suggest that as few as 11 wristwatch batteries will contaminate 6.5 million gallons of water, enough to fill an Olympic size swimming pool. The project consists in equipping 250 Tourist Information Kiosks in the city with a container that allows collection and storage of used batteries city wide. The batteries are then recovered and recycled or properly disposed of, instead of being sent to the Bordo Poniente landfill. Gabriela Rodríguez

“The first environmental act is to think of others... and to think of others is to

Vertical Gardens

Vertical gardens are cultivated on exterior building walls with plants that grow without the need of any type of soil. Among such plants are epi-

think of oneself.”


GREEN roof- Historic Center




HELIODON, student architectural project- Ibero

ECOBICI- Reforma Avenue


Point of View


Private Sector

René Solís Brun General Director of the Center for the Studies of the Metropolitan Area / Metropolis 2025. A member of the Harvard Foundation of Mexico, Solís Brun has been Director General of Grupo Editorial Expansión and President of Metro Group in Mexico.

Mexico City is rich in resources, but only through cultural change and a strong coordination across the metropolitan area will it be feasible for these resources to be accessible to future generations.  Two issues are particularly relevant to the future of Mexico City: sustainability and livability. How is the city doing on these topics?

The availability of water has become one of the most sensitive issues in recent years, whether because of its scarcity or because of its abundance. The city continues to lose ecological conservation areas which are vital for both the groundwater and for the preservation of the other natural resources essential to the ecological balance of the Valley of Mexico basin. Payments to the city water department do not cover the actual costs of providing the service and maintaining the distribution system nor for the proper measurement of consumption that is necessary to achieve a sustainable service. The city has prioritized enormous projects to resolve the issue of flooding (such as the Emisor Oriente drain), but most important has been the recognition that an abundance of rain water is improperly channeled into the city’s drains, literally saturating the system.

The more walkable the city, the more Bikeable it is. The trend toward the horizontal expansion of the city, both in formal development (housing projects) and in the informal development of squatter settlements has resulted from a lack of a strong coordination across the metropolitan area. Public transportation has not yet received sufficient impetus. And despite the

“It’s a matter of more and more people trading the use of cars for public


ongoing construction of a subway line, putting transportation corridors into effect, and a strong initial impetus toward nonmotorized transportation, the better part of transportation investment still favors the use of private vehicles.

 There's a debate in many countries about the decentralization of economic activities or the re-densification of consolidated areas to curb urban sprawl. What model would be suitable for Mexico City? The lack of a planning and development strategy has led to a strong combination of actions that could favor either model. Activities that favor the decentralized model are not the problem. Rather, these are motivated by a laxity in the laws. The result has been serious problems - predominantly but not exclusively - environmental. The re-densification of traditional areas of the city will work but that doesn’t mean relaxing the rules.

 What would it mean for the city to have a higher density of population in the Historic Center and other central neighborhoods?

It depends on your perspective on the matter. For residents, as mentioned before, it’s not really feasible. For city enthusiasts and urban planners it would mean realizing a dream that’s been reiterated endlessly. The idea depends upon identifying as completely as possible areas where feasible redensification could take place. It is simply not possible to exceed the capacity of an area to receive population. This policy also should include plans such as social inclusion, mixed-use zoning, the creation and strengthening of the social fiber, and so on.

 What are the main challenges facing the city in ensuring sustainability for future generations?

The answers lay in both natural resources and cultural change. It’s clear that the trend is towards less water being available in the basin, and this can only be resolved if the city better exploits the wealth of natural resources in the basin. The issue of urban transportation is one of infrastructure, but it’s also a cultural topic. It’s about more and more people trading the use of cars for public transportation and that really depends upon society tilting the balance in the right direction.

 What role do citizens currently play in the urban planning of Mexico City?

When the new law of urban development takes effect, there will be a council composed of a wide variety of people from many sectors and associations. They will be able to define issues, objectives, visions, and all of those will be, in turn, subject to the approval of the residents of Mexico City. The problem is that this exercise is only wit the purpose to meet a legal requirement, to satisfy the authorities, but functionally, no method can really create real citizen participation in democratic terms.

 Under what conditions would a sustainable Mexico City be possible?

More of the water available in the basin needs to be used. Gray water needs to be better treated and reclaimed, and more private cars need to stop circulating in the city. And the more walkable the city is the better the conditions for bicycling are going to be fulfilled.



Magdalena River Project

When the Spanish arrived in the old Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the capital

of the Aztec empire had been established on a system of lakes and rivers for almost 200 years. To this day, 45 of the river channels remain, most of them enclosed deep within the subsoil, but still crossing beneath the city.


ome principal avenues in today’s Mexico City still bear the original names used by the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan. Río Mixcoac and Río Churubusco are good examples. But most of the main avenues are called by their colonial Spanish names, still preceded by the word río (“river”) a memory of the thoroughfares where canoes and barges crowded until, in some cases, well into the twentieth century. Among them are avenues named after Río San Joaquín, Río Los Remedios, Río de la Piedad, Río Becerra, Río Hondo and, the longest of all, Río Magdalena. Part of the original Magdalena river continued to flow, at ground level, in spite of the urban development that took place over the centuries above and around the river. Flowing at about 1.15 cubic meters per second, in the rainy season, the Magdalena can reach 8 cubic meters per second. An ambitious project of the Mexico City’s government seeks to restore a clean and open Magdalena river to residents of the area and to the city as a whole. At approximately 20 kilometers in length, the river emerges from a forested area known as the Cerro de la Palma in the Cuajimalpa borough to the

west of the city. It ends at Churubusco river in the borough of Coyoacán. Much of the river flows through the subsoil, but about five kilometers of it flow at ground level. Thereafter, the river enters a conduit where it is mixed with sewage and storm drainage. The river’s tradition, though, is enormous. Ancient inhabitants of neighborhoods like Copilco, Chimalistac, Coyoacán and San Ángel organized their lives around the virtues of the Magdalena. Villages like San Nicolás Totolapan, inhabited since well before the arrival of the Spanish, based its entire economy on agriculture made possible by the river. In the seventeenth century, sisters of the Order of Carmelites acquired land around the river and established convents with productive vegetable gardens. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries several industrial firms, including the renowned Loreto y Peña Pobre paper mill, took advantage of the natural resources of the river and the productive local environment. The river’s energy also powered the Dinamos, whose name today is used for the national park that surrounds the original site, but which was originally an electricity generator.

Recovering the River M

exico City’s government has so far allocated US$150 millions to rescue the only living river in the city. Led by the local Department of the Environment, under Secretary Martha Delgado, work began on the project in April, 2010. The master plan, backed by the Federal District Government, is contracted to the University Program for the Study of Mexico City (PUEC). Phase one of the plan calls for ecosystem management and local sustainable development. Phase 2 includes the integrated management of the river and its watershed. Phase 3 will call for a reassessment of the urban landscape and, lastly, phase 4 will include revising local land use for the rehabilitation of the river. Part of phase 3 also includes the restoration of the river as a place for recreation and enjoyable use by city residents and visitors. Original vegetation will be recovered and integrated with 21st century architecture. The city has contracted the Environmental Operations Workshop (TOA) to provide a multidisciplinary plan for an integrated, sustainable urban landscape. TOA specializes in bioclimatic architecture that includes new technologies and sometimes old techniques such as the use of adobe. Having developed the master plan of what will be three green

Strategies for Community Connections

To be constructed or rehabilitated along the river:   Public square   Bicycle lane   Existing playgrounds and football fields   A community center   The present day plant nursery at Viveros de Coyoacán   A garbage collection and recycling center

kilometers called Parque Chimalistac-Viveros, TOA will develop the last part of the river before it flows into the existing Río Churubusco deep drainage conduit. The riverside park is but a small part of the huge project to recover the Magdalena river. To define an approach to the Parque Chimalistac-Viveros, TOA examined the context and the history of human settlements along the river. Architect Claudia Rodríguez, head of the project for TOA, remarked: “The idea is to change the relationship of the city’s people with the river and the water. We want water to again be an essential part of the landscape, in certain sense, on its own.” Although they are only speaking of a portion of what the Magdalena river is, in this space the architects intend that “people will reconnect with the source of the water, the forests and all the benefits of a good relationship between forest and city.” Several independent green areas line the river, even along subterranean stretches. “One of the first phases of the project is to reconnect these areas to ensure a continuity to the ecosystem.” Strengthening the cultural and historical identity of the site is another important part of the plan. “Archival research

The River’s Route he Magdalena river originates in the Cerro de la Palma forests


of the Cuajimalpa borough. From there, it proceeds through the Dinamos National Park where it enters an open channel into the city. The river then crosses the borough of Magdalena Contreras, along the Periférico beltway, before reaching the Anzaldo dam. There the river is split, with one part continuing to the West Interceptor and the other part being piped and continuing along the Río Magdalena avenue. That piped portion of the river then crosses Revolución and Insurgentes avenues before entering the picturesque Chimalistac neighborhood. From there, the Magdalena continues underground beneath the bridges, equally frozen in concrete, that once spanned its shores. At the temple of Panzacola, on Universidad avenue, at the corner of Francisco Sosa, the street that still leads to the center of Coyoacán, the river returns to its open bed, passing through the Viveros de Coyoacán before joining with the Mixcoac river to form the Churubusco river, which continues its passage beneath the city.

showed that in the 1950s the river was still flowing beneath the bridges that are today part of the median on a street called Paseo del Río in the Chimalistac neighborhood. Although some residents from the area still remember the bridges, most people are totally unaware that the Magdalena river flows beneath the street.” The enclosed stretches of the river will remain so for now. The long-term project includes returning the river to its natural course, but until that phase of the project is possible, surface level rain gardens will help to continue the riverside atmosphere. “Better storm water management will replace mere street drains so that rain water can go through the park and generate more humid parcels to keep the area focused on water.” A bicycle path built from a stable soil-cement will also provide an experience far closer to that of walking in nature rather than in a concrete jungle. The TOA’s Parque Chimalistac-Viveros project, at its earliest stage, runs along axis road 10 South, known as Copilco avenue to the Viveros de Coyoacán park. Likely to be included is a stretch of the river that flows into the park and then into the Río Churubusco drain.

Mexico City, June 2010

Peter Krieger Research Fellow at the Institute of Aesthetic Research, UNAM

Sustainability in the Mexican Megalopolis: Prospects and Potential D

uring the 1980s, Mexico City reached the darkest phase of environmental degradation. At that time, in the press, even in literature, countless negative metaphors recounted the phenomenon of the city’s environmental destruction. The city was often featured as a “ prelude to an ecological Hiroshima,” as Time Magazine put it in January 1989, or it was referred to as an “environmental limbo.” Local chronicler Carlos Monsiváis even referred to the city as a “post-apocalyptic” experience. Those metaphors and other negative stereotypes that circulated throughout the international discourse were deployed to huge media effect. In fact, though, they did not withstand critical scrutiny. Neither the atomic bombing of the Japanese city during World War II, nor the references to a biblical showdown - however misunderstood (after the Apocalypse, a return to Earthly Paradise is predicted, not something worse) - were able to effectively describe the actual, gradual process of urban environmental degradation. Rather, these were sensational exaggerations that merely cemented a negative cliche about a city in crisis. Of course, air, water, and soil pollution had reached alarming levels throughout the process of the



hyper-urbanization of the Valley of Mexico until it reached a critical point. But wherever problems dwell, intelligent proposals and solutions arise. Backed by a think tank like the National Autonomous University of Mexico - ranked as the best Spanish-language university in the world -, an intelligent urban society is able to research and develop programs to improve the living conditions for the more than 20 million people living in the metropolitan area. In the international press and in the field of urban studies, the aforementioned catastrophic cliches about Mexico City remain virtually intact. Thus, it is necessary to outline the subject and the problembased rational criteria, based on an interdisciplinary and complex urban investigation, and aimed at exploring the multiple potentials and drawing promising prospects in the Peter Krieger received his paradigmatic Mexico City of the 21st cenPhD in Art History from the University of Hamburg in 1996. tury. A century in which it is assumed Krieger is research fellow at the Institute of Aesthetic that the percentage of the world’s popResearch, and a Professor in the graduate programs of ulation living in cities is likely to soar Architecture and Art History of the National Autonomous from 50 to 75 percent. University of Mexico. A member Today, both problems and solutions of the International Committee of Art History board (viceare generated primarily in these urban president, 2004-2012), he is also editor of the art agglomerations that are emerging and history magazine “Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones growing in Latin America, Asia, and Estéticas.” His research on urban and architectural Africa. Within this context, Mexico City history of the second half of the 20th century, political has opted for a productive path toward iconography, aesthetics, and the ecology of megacities has development that is perhaps unattainaappeared in numerous relevant bly utopian, but that nevertheless remains publications in German, English, and Spanish. invaluable as a guide: “sustainability.”


“Wherever problems dwell, intelligent proposals and solutions arise.”

The concept of “sustainability,” which serves as the driving force behind the urban and environmental improvements presented in this book, was widely accepted at the Rio de Janeiro UN Earth Summit in 1992. Since then, sustainability has achieved an important political significance but its definition remains rather vague. Without going much into the concept’s essential complexity, it is possible to summarize the idea of the sustainable city which has surged in the minds of ecological critics, based on the fact that urban habitats today consume three quarters of all the available energy on Earth. They pollute and drastically over-exploit natural resources. Architect Richard Rogers has dismissed cities as “parasites within the landscape” (Cities for a Small Planet, 1997), which undermine the vitality of our world and its future. The Mexican megalopolis, hyper-populated - home to only about 340,000 residents at the beginning of the twentieth century – is a clear example of an irresponsible and unsustainable use of resources. Its surfaces were sealed with asphalt and concrete, rivers were locked into cement pipes, lakes were dried up, agricultural landscapes’ aquifers were overexploited, the air was polluted with exhaust and the soil with toxic wastes, among so many other factors. Based in part on the country’s oil wealth, road planning was undertaken almost exclusively for the use of individual cars in tandem with numerous North American



cities. And like in other cities, public spaces degenerated into contaminated non-places, noisy and even violent. In Mexico, awareness of the exhaustion of the fossil fuel funds is increasing. At a minimum, the continued exploitation of fossil fuels will be more difficult and expensive. Therefore, initiatives have arisen to re-define the city as a post-oil-city (the concept of Faisal Hamid). It will be a city governed by laws of energy conservation, the growth of efficient public transportation and the promotion of a pedestrian culture. Promising innovations include the Metrobus or the conversion of Moneda street in the Historic Center into a pedestrian-only street. There are also initiatives by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (SEDUVI), part of the Federal District Government, under the direction of Architect Felipe Leal since 2009, for the significant reduction of the dead space of parking lots through major new architectural projects throughout the city. These and other initiatives prepare the city and the society step by step, ever more clearly, and without the systemic violence of a masterplan, for a new and imminent modus vivendi. It is a mode of living in which energy conservation becomes a force for urban revitalization. As demonstrated by various European initiatives, but also by paradigmatic cities in Latin America: Bogota, Colombia (during the administrations of Antanus Mockus and Enrique PeĂąalosa), and Curitiba, Brazil (Jaime Lerner), there are attractive and “sustainableâ€? alternatives. These are opposed to the US model of cities fragmented by urban freeways and segregated into islands of gated communities, aseptic downtowns and un-crossable slums. It is not only in Mexico, but worldwide, that the master plan figures as an anachronistic instrument of urban planning. Urban development has ascertained through historical investigation (Peter Krieger,


Megalópolis. La modernización de la ciudad de México en el siglo XX, 2006), that modern planning instruments actually aggravated problems rather than solving any of them. The failure of one-dimensional urban modernization has freed creative potential in the design of cities under the principles of cybernetic theory: every decision and development step is fed back through a careful record of empirical reality. Instead of a superimposition of a large-scale fictional plan, the complexity of micro-scale urban space is analyzed, and thereupon, revitalization strategies are deduced. It is a process of creating sustainable networks, a viable social fabric, for a seemingly freeform megacity. All of this represents an almost imponderable way of redefining urbanism, where values and parameters of any intervention are concretized in specific places. Among these values, three kinds of sustainability should be emphasized. The first is “spatial sustainability” or what is seen as the green development in dense and gray megacities. Well-known landscape architects like Mario Schjetnan, and younger colleagues like Desirée Martínez or Alejandro Cabeza, have shown how the integration of green elements, including the revitalization spaces and public parks, increases the quality of collective life in the megalopolis. It is extremely important to maintain and expand the ecological reserves, as was done in the south of Mexico City’s Ciudad Universitaria and to preserve didactic spaces for the endangered biodiversity of the country and the city. Second, it is necessary to stress the importance of Social Sustainability. The former head of the UN Environmental Program, Klaus Töpfer, clearly stated that the so-called ghettos and lowincome neighborhoods, with a low quality of everyday life, clearly illustrate the functional defects in urban societies. Mex-



ico is not exempt from these disturbing global trends. A huge number - one third of the world’s population - live in squatter cities. To fight against urban poverty, to improve and revitalize these neighborhoods is a key pending item in the agenda of the development of Mexico City. Last but not least, it is worth noting the “cultural sustainability” of the megalopolis. The “image” of the city is not a superficial matter, but an expression of the achievements and failures of the entire community (Peter Krieger, Paisajes urbanos: Imagen y memoria, 2006). The aesthetics and ecology of the city sustain an urban culture whose characteristics serve as indicators of the quality of life. Highly fragmented or degraded areas created by standardized architectural intrusions like shopping malls and their enormous parking lots, just to name one example, prevent inhabitants from identifying themselves with their city. Instead of these interchangeable “non-places” (Marc Augé), urban architectural proposals have increased and call for the preservation of historic areas as well as to ensure that these communicate with new and significant developments of the 21st century. Mexico City faces a global paradigm of cumulative environmental problems, but also offers a laboratory for the generation of solutions that lead toward the sustainable city. This city is the product of ideas, initiatives and instruments of civic education, and an opportunity to change unproductive routines and replace them with positive interventions. It is a place to experience new urban forms, beyond the cultural patterns of the traditional European city. It is essential to ensure that the megalopolis does not become a necropolis. And in Mexico, the key to this task, and to competing with global cities in general, does not require negative stereotypes, but innovative proposals.


Mexico City

has 88,000 hectares of protected conservation land.

1980s The

Mexico City Bus Rapid Transit system,

saw levels near 400 on the Metropolitan Index of Air Quality (IMECA). Today those levels range between 80 and 120.

running 200 high capacity articulated buses along 40 km of dedicated lanes with 80 stations, provides an estimated

500,000 trips per day.

Subway Line


will have 20 subway stations along a 25.1 km route. Its 39 trains will run at two minute intervals.

The Manos A la obra Program recovered 1,208 public spaces between 2007 and 2009.


better use of energy

in the city has resulted in an 11% reduction in power consumption in the city’s subway system, a 50% reduction by the city water pumping system, a 40% savings on street lighting, and a 50% reduction by the electrical transportation network .


The Atotonilco Wastewater Treatment Plant will be one of the ten largest in the world.


Subway stations have already been outfitted with solar cells and


The recently opened public bicycle system,


is the largest in Latin America and one of the 10 largest worldwide.

Investment and Development Mexico City is promoting important corridors for Investment and

Development. Among them are the Paseo de la Reforma, 5.86 km of financial services and tourism; Eje Central, 19.28 km of commerce and services; Calzada de Tlalpan, 18.25 Km of specialized services such as healthcare; Eje 4 South, 18.4 km for transportation, housing and commerce; Azcapotzalco, 149.76 hectares focused on high technology, and the Calzada de los Misterios y Guadalupe, 427 hectares for religious heritage preservation, culture, and tourism.



m u s t be p e r f o r m e d in t h e d a r k

Olympic Swimming Pool general anaya neighborhood

Julio Cesar Cu is

the only diver employed in Mexico City’s Water System. His job is to address the emergencies that arise in the


network of pipes that make up the water system of the city. IT is divided into three components: raw water, treated water and sewage. Working with this last is the most challenging. The inhabitants of Mexico City throw thousands of tons of garbage into it. Combined with the water which enters the drainage system through culverts and canals, waste can block the propulsion pumps that remove sewage from the city. Cu’s duties is to identify and unclog points of conflict where the garbage is aversely affecting the work of the pumps.

In 27 years of continuous work, I’ve had to extract a variety of objects, from cigarette butts and plastic bags, to refrigerators, carpets, animals, trees, tires, cars and corpses. Most striking is that my work must be performed in the dark. The sewage is normally so murky that I’m unable to see my own hand in front of the visor of my 10 kilogram (22 lb) helmet. By means of an umbilical cord, I remain in constant communication with my team on the surface who monitor my oxygen supply that lasts for up to two hours under water. I consider our Olympic pool one of the most beautiful places in the city. I learned to swim there at an early age. But the comfort of the pool has nothing to do with the difficult dangerous conditions that I have to endure in the pipes which are up to 6.50 meters in diameter and 15 meters under the city. My plastic suit protects me from anything sharp and it completely isolates me from the highly toxic environment. Although some years ago I lost one of my partners at work, I feel confident in my own safety. I consider my work essential to the city.

Deep drainage

ecatepec municipality

Strong ties between business and the entirety of the knowledge-base of the city are crucial. Partnerships lead not only to great business, but to advanced research, training and innovative technological and management breakthroughs. This brings the opportunities and the rewards of economic development to ever greater numbers of people and the promise of smarter, better planned and more thoughtfully delivered services to even the most neglected corners of the city. Mexico City’s economy is being bolstered by a range of publicprivate ventures that combine excellent know-how with the resources to effectively deliver solutions to society.






Point of View

Private Sector

Jorge Villalobos Executive President of the Mexican Center for Philanthropy

Jorge Villalobos is the Executive President of the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (CEMEFI). A non-profit association founded in 1988, the center aims to promote a culture of philanthropic social responsibility, and facilitate the organized participation of civil society. CEMEFI includes more than 600 active members among which are foundations, civil organizations corporations and individuals.

“Socially responsable

companies tend to offer products and services of better quality than those from companies that don't have this distinction.”  The Mexican Center for Philanthropy

Jorge Villalobos is the Executive President of the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (CEMEFI). A non-profit association founded in 1988, the center aims to promote a culture of philanthropic social responsibility, and to facilitate the organized participation of the Mexican people. CEMEFI includes more than 600 active members among which are foundations, civil organizations, corporations and individuals.

 Why is social responsibility important for corporations and what can be done to encourage it? It’s important because it encourages concern for social issues in both the public and private sectors. This results in the creation of more equitable societies. Encouraging social responsibility requires staff training and the systematization of knowledge. It’s essential that both schools and families explore these issues so that young people can adopt

a vision that appeals to the public good. The Corporate Social Responsibility movement is relatively new in Mexico. It began in the mid-nineties with the belief that public resources were not sufficient to improve the quality of life of citizens.

 What was the context that gave the CEMEFI its initial impetus? In Mexico, there were two groups providing social welfare. On one hand were those


who were serving the needs of vulnerable populations and on the other were those confronting emerging issues as they developed. But there was not really anyone in the private sector working to achieve the same public goals and no way to organize any sort of platform. The CEMEFI was born 21 years ago into this context with the mission of promoting philanthropy, social responsibility and improving living conditions in Mexico through civic organizations.

 What programs have worked at promoting social responsibility among businesses and other institutions?

Every institution in Mexico has a positive and a negative impact on society. What the CEMEFI tries to do is to stimulate the positive and minimize the negative. The basic question our programs ask is how do we stimulate social commitment among all of these organizations. In the mid-90s we identified all of them. We made connections with many social groups with the potential to mobilize resources, and those who can create products and offer services and improve the country’s development. CEMEFI programs today are promoting cross-sector partnerships, helping institutions to incorporate social responsibility into their business strategies and working together to be an effective engine of social change.

responsible has no impact on the market, it’s difficult for these organizations to want to meet the correct standards. We decided that companies that achieve certain standards are entitled to bear a label that would give them a competitive advantage. The CEMEFI looks at five indicators when granting the Socially Responsible Company distinction. First, the company needs to comply with all legal obligations. The second indicator concerns the circumstances provided for the employees. The third has to do with the responsible management of the resources the company is consuming or using. Fourth, the level of remuneration the company is giving to other organizations working for the betterment of society. And finally, the last indicator deals with ethics and respect for human rights.

 What achievements have there been and how many companies have been added in recent years?

Growth of the CEMEFI has been significant. The first year we granted recognition to only half of the 28 institutions that applied for it. The following year that number doubled, and so on. Today, we recognize 495 socially responsible organizations and businesses.

 What competitive advantages are there for socially responsible companies in Mexico at the national level and  What incentive is there for these at international levels? institutions to act in a more socially Socially responsable companies tend to responsible way? And what indicators streamline their production processes and can we look at to determine progress? offer products and services of better quality The CEMEFI realized that if being socially

than companies that don´t have this distinc-

tion not recognized. They also have a favorable image and that has a direct impact on customer decision making. That is whatgives them a competitive advantage nationally. But Corporate Social Responsibility is also fast becoming a generative principle in global politics. So, if Mexico City wants to have a real competitive advantage in the international market, you should bet on these factors playing a big part in the process.

The CEMEFI realized that if being socially responsible has no impact on the market, it’s difficult for organizations to want to meet the correct standards.

telmex elmex’s corporate values include growth, social responsibility and austerity. Business principles such as customer service, quality assurance and technological leadership reinforce the company’s role of support and direction of technological, human and financial resources that in turn consolidate its leadership in the Mexican marketplace. Telmex is the leading telecommunications company in Mexico, and has invested over US$32 billion to ensure the growth and modernization of its infrastructure. Telmex has developed a 100% digital technological platform, operates the most advanced optical fiber network worldwide, and includes connections via underwater cable with 39 countries. Telmex and its subsidiaries offer the broadest range of advanced telecommunications services, including voice transmission, Internet access


telmex's network administration center- Mexico City

Teléfonos de México, Telmex, is a Mexican corporation providing telecommunications services to the entire country. Telmex’s services include the operation of the most comprehensive network of basic, local telephone services and long distance services. Telmex also offers connectivity, Internet access, co-location, hosting and interconnection services to other telecommunications operators.

and integrated solutions to all segments of the telecommunications marketplace. This includes public telephony, rural and residential phone services, specialized services for small and medium business enterprises and attention to national and international corporate clients. All of this is thanks to advanced technical abilities and coverage through access and transportation networks. Telmex has the technological capability and strategic alliances to ensure that customers receive the technology, service, care and support they require to meet all of their telecommunications needs. Broad technological strength allows Telmex to innovate in products and services with extensive market knowledge and enables it to provide services for the benefit of the productive sectors that compete in the new global business environment.


Invested over

Developed a

US$32 100%


to ensure the growth and modernization

of its infrastructure.

digital technological


telme x

Operates the most advanced optical fiber

network worldwide and includes

connections via underwater cable with 39 countries.

high tech laboratory telmex- Mexico City

Telmex's team member

Telmex has the technological capability and strategic alliances to ensure that customers receive the technology, service, care and support they require to meet all of their telecommunications


telmex's network administrations center

The Telmex Foundation

Since December 1995, the Telmex Foundation has been supporting vulnerable parts of the population everywhere in the country. Through its programs, Telmex has worked in areas of education, health, nutrition, justice, culture, human development, athletics, and assistance in the event of natu ra l d isaster. T he Tel mex Foundation has increased substantially, year after year, the number of people benefitting from their programs and support for public and private organizations working toward similar goals.

The work of the Foundation is focused on effectively implementing creative programs with ongoing high-impact and national reach. The Foundation works to promote the development of individuals, families, and communities in the country who are benefited principally with scholarships, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology, transplants of kidneys, corneas, bone marrow, hearts, livers, lungs, bones, and skin. A bail bond program allows people arrested for misdemeanor offenses to obtain their freedom. Sporting events supplement a high level of social consciousness and the

Since December 1995, the Telmex Foundation has been supporting vulnerable segments of the population

everywhere in the country.

foundation offers emergency support in the event of natural disasters. As of June 2010, the Telmex Foundation reported the following accomplishments: 222,737 scholarships were awarded, 746 institutions were provided with computer equipment, 248,162 bicycles were provided through the program AyĂşdame a Llegar, 519,587 outpatient surgeries were provided, 6,332 organ and tissue transplants were performed, 82,240 bail bonds were issued, and 28,446 tons of humanitarian aid were distributed, among other achievements.

As of June 2010, the Telmex Foundation reported the following accomplishments:

222,737 519,587 28,446 tons of humanitarian aid were distributed.

scholarships were awarded

outpatient surgeries were provided

bicycles were provided through the program Ayudame a Llegar

organ and tissue transplants were performed

248,162 6,332 746

institutions were provided with computer equipment

82,240 bail bonds were issued

telme x

Corporate Responsibility

Telmex has been recognized for the ninth consecutive year by the Mexican Center for Philanthropy as a Socially Responsible Company (ESR). This designation is awarded for the company’s social vocation in all of its corporate work and for work carried out through the Telmex Foundation and the Carlos Slim Foundation. In conjunction with the Carlos Slim Foundation, since 2008, the Program for Education and Digital Culture has focused on reducing the backlog in both of these

areas. To date, the program has directly benefited children, youths, parents, teachers and schools through Casas Telmex, Aulas y Bibliotecas Digitales Telmex and Acompañamiento Educativo program. In 2010, Telmex renewed its commitment to education through the “Technological Innovation Drive,” which advances connectivity and information technology within the education system. Throughout its history, Telmex has contributed to

Mexico’s national development and infrastructure investment with the ability and talent of its human capital, and in its commitment to its customers, partners and shareholders. The Mexican Center for Philanthropy has also recognized Telmex as one of the pioneering companies in philanthropic work, thus confirming Telmex´s long term commitment to Mexican society and to economic development in all the areas where it is present.

The Carlos Slim


was created in 1986 under the name Asociación Carso, AC.

24 years after its inception, the

The Carlos Slim Foundation

The Carlos Slim Foundation works closely with each of the following:  Teléfonos de México and Telmex Foundation

The Fundación Carlos Slim was founded in 1986 as the Asociación Carso AC. In February, 2006, the name was changed to Fundación Carso AC, and finally on May 24, 2008 it was once again renamed the Fundación Carlos Slim. Throughout this history, the foundation's mission has been to establish non-profit projects in support of education, health, justice and personal and collective development. The Foundation pursues these aims by providing human and financial resources, in the hopes of extending the necessary tools for professional growth and social advancement to all of Mexican society. A fundamental aspect of the business strategy and culture of Carlos Slim Helu is social responsibility, which aims to maximize the positive impact of the companies, benefiting the communities where these operate, helping to fight poverty through nutrition, education, employment and through the implementation of aid programs of different foundations and institutes.

Carlos Slim Foundation has strengthened its principles and objectives.

 The Carlos Slim Health Institute  The Center for the Study of Mexican History  The Inbursa Foundation  The Mexico City Historic Center Foundation  The Soumaya Museum

BBVA BAncomer B

acked with high solvency and steady profitability, BBVA does business in 32 countries worldwide, employs 104,365 people and caters to more than 47.0 million customers in 7,407 branches. BBVA Bancomer is a financial institution with a strong presence in Mexico in the business of multiple-service banking, pension, funds, mutual funds, insurance and cash transfers. It conducts its core activities through BBVA Bancomer, Mexico´s largest bank in terms of assets, deposits, loan portfolio and number of branches. Its business model is based on a segmented distribution by type of client, with a philosophy of risk control and a goal of long-term growth and profitability. Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer, the leading private financial institution in Mexico in terms of deposits, offers universal banking services through a complete network of 1,797 branches and 6,442 automatic teller machines (ATMs), representing 16.3% and 18.5% respectively of the total Mexican banking system as of June 2010. The business model is based on BBVA Bancomer’s sophistication in serving different customer profiles, through business units that cater to

  Cultural Development

In 1990, Fomento Cultural created the Bancomer Cultural Foundation. The Foundation’s work, part of the group’s social responsibility program, reflects the will and commitment of BBVA Bancomer to enrich the cultural heritage of the Mexican people. Toward these objectives, Fomento Cultural promotes, disseminates and conducts artistic and cultural education, either directly or by providing economic support to creators, academics and institutions. Among the programs are the Support Fund for the Arts, a publishing program, a university short film competition, and the MACG Bancomer Contemporary Art Program and Art Show.

The history of Bancomer in Mexico City begins in 1932, with the founding of the original Banco de Comercio. Today, the Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer is a subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), one of the largest financial groups in the Euro Zone. Bancomer is also among the largest private institutions in Mexico in terms of deposits.

individual needs, creating a wide range of products and tailored services, all backed by the quality and strength of Bancomer. Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer also participates in the market of non-banking financial services. Afore Bancomer, which administers pension funds, showed a net profit of US$46.7 million as of June 2010. A group of subsidiary companies that includes Hipotecaria Nacional (National Mortgage) originated 14,880 individual mortgages, and financed the construction of 47,483 homes. Seguros Bancomer (Bancomer Insurance) reported a net income of US$104.9 million as of June 2010, 12% higher than that reported for the same period in 2009. And Pensiones Bancomer (Bancomer Pensions) reported a net profit of US$65.7 million as of June 2010, 38% more than during the same period the previous year. Bancomer Management, Bancomer’s Asset Management Unit achieved a net profit of US$11.2 million in June 2010, 8% higher than the previous year. They also reached first place in assets investment with a 21.7% share of the market. Casa de Bolsa Bancomer reported a net income of US$ 16.2 million in June 2010, 12% higher than the same period in 2009.

The first time that BBVA Bancomer reported based on the Global Reporting Initiative, its Corporate Responsibility Report of 2009 reached the maximum level of implementation of the guide (A + GRI Checked), becoming the first private company in Mexico to do so.

  Financial Education Program

Adelante con tu Futuro

The Bancomer social initiative aims to empower users by offering the tools and skills needed to use financial services to their own advantage. Online personal finance workshops are offered at, as well as in nine   Social Responsibility mobile classrooms and 20 established classand Corporate Reputation rooms in 14 cities around the country. Issues like BBVA Bancomer submitted its third corporate re- personal and retirement savings, credit, health sponsibility report which expressed commitment credit and mortgages are regularly covered. to the promotion and development of the commuNew Corporate Headquarters nities where it operates. The report is intended to   provide maximum value and balance to sharehold- Representing a total investment of US$900 milers, customers, employees, suppliers and to all of lion, BBVA Bancomer is in the process of building two new office buildings in Mexico City: Torre BBVA the communities where Bancomer is operating.

Bancomer and BBVA Bancomer Operations Center. Both were designed by leading international architectural firms and the construction teams were selected through a public bidding process. The BBVA Bancomer Tower was commissioned to Mexican architecs Ricardo Legorreta and Víctor Legorreta, and to the British firm Roger Stirk Harbur & Partners, winner of the 2007 Pritzker Award. It will be a 50-story, 225-meter high building located in the heart of Mexico City´s financial district. The BBVA Bancomer Operations Center project will be the work of the American firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), and will have 32 floors and measure 137 meters high. Both buildings will, without a doubt, become two architectural symbols in the city. Both new buildings are being built with energy efficiency in mind and through sustainable construction methods. The goal is to ensure that both projects meet all the elements necessary for LEED green building certification, standards establish by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize buildings committed to environmental stewardship.



BBVA Bancomer's Tower Render

Casa de Bolsa Bancomer

reported a net income of US$16.2 million in June 2010, 12% higher than the same period in 2009.


million costumers


104,365 people

Bancomer’s Asset Management

Unit achieved a net profit of

US$11.2 million


countries worldwide

Fundación BBVA Bancomer


non-profit foundation, the mission of the BBVA Bancomer Foundation is to seek and channel resources to support social, educational and cultural activities that will help in the development of the population. Bancomer BBVA Foundation concerns itself primarily with the education of the children of emigrants through grants called Por los que se Quedan. With a fundamental interest in the social effects behind emigration, the scholarships offer incentives for children to complete their elementary education and to provide access to secondary and higher education and better paying jobs.

Point of View

Private Sector


“Our bank has weathered the crisis. It is well capitalized and liquid.”

Ignacio Deschamps González is CEO of Commercial Banking at BBVA Bancomer. He has worked at the institution since 1993 as Mortgage Banking Director, Director of Products and Director of Business Development. He previously worked for the National Foreign Trade Bank (Bancomext) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, DC. He is a graduate of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City, where he received his degree in Industrial Engineering. Deschamps also completed course work for his Masters Degree in the Engineering Management program at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Ignacio Deschamps González has broad experience in senior management positions and an outstanding track record in delivering positive results for BBVA operations in Mexico City. He has developed strong leadership and decisionmaking skills and created a large relationship network with the Mexican government, financial authorities and private and public enterprises. He was recently appointed Chairman of the Mexican Banking Association.

broaden access for the Mexican people to the Mexican banking system and to credit. Bancomer has grown from 9 to 16 million customers, which means we’re also investing in improvements to expand the services required to meet the growing demand.

The other great innovation, which is a watershed of the twenty-first century banking, is the incorporation of the cellular phone network, to be able to access accounts, transfer money, confirm balances and make payments through these devices.

  What do you think of the regulation of   Taking into account all of these techfinancial institutions and credit in Mexico? nical advances, how can small busiMexico is growing competitively in the banking nesses better participate in Mexico’s sector. But structural reforms are necessary in the economy and move forward in the tracks financial sector where changes are necessary to that Bancomer provides?

  What benefits does Bancomer perceive all banking regulations. Our bank has weathered It’s only recently that banks began granting loans to from their continued investment in Mexico? the crisis. It is well capitalized and liquid. Credit has small businesses throughout the country. We do so This is a country with tremendous potential. It’s among the most promising areas worldwide and this stems from the current demographic increase and the functioning market system which has been attractive to both domestic and foreign investment. There’s great potential capacity that requires high investment commitment and that is what has been done in recent years at Bancomer. This opportunity will not be missed and it will continue to offer promise for many years to come.

slowed, but far less than the decrease in economic activity. And now, as the recovery is upon us, the bank is ready to be an engine of re-growth, promoting credit and contributing to the economic re-activation of the country.

The biggest challenge presented to Bancomer is also a huge opportunity: banking itself. We seek to

portant strategies is to ensure that all businesses can join our banking network, irrespective of size.

through the collaboration with the National Finance Development Bank, which provides guarantees to help us to check credit histories. We’ve had some very important successes. There were only 120,000 private companies being served by banks. Today 430,000 businesses are being served, and our goal is to reach one million businesses in the near future.

  Regarding the financial services that Bancomer offers though technological innovations, how does it compare with   What does it represent to have been the those offered in other countries? principal institution issuing commercial The bank is adding the technology to offer its serv- credit during the most acute economic   What are the main challenges and oppor- ices to the entire population of Mexico. Our goal is crisis, especially after the collapse of Lehtunities that Bancomer has in Mexico City? to reach every Mexican citizen. One of the most im- man Brothers in September 2008?

With great satisfaction, Bancomer issued 60% of all the credit issued to the productive sector of the


BBVA Bancomer's Tower Render

and in other services. We’re also strengthening our networks. There will be strong investment in the branches, ATMs and in the services that we offer online and by phone. We’re also finalizing deals to cooperate with major retailers in the country so that clients can use these shops to access the bank.

tegic, long-term vision focused on education. Our main area of focus is to support the education of the children of emigrants. Our vision of social responsibility is to respond to the values of the company, which also resonates with the employees of the institution. It is a gamble with a view to generating sustainable and tangible value.

  Bancomer has received awards for the Best Corporate Social Responsibility Re  What significance is there to Latin Fi- port for the past 10 years. What actions do nance magazine’s designation of Bancom- you take to remain at the forefront on iser as the best bank in Mexico for 2009? sues of social responsibility?

  Does Bancomer’s call for investment in Mexico imply a wager on the human capital of the country?

country in those months. That’s double our market share, or more. We did it because we had the vision to build on our knowledge of risk, to differentiate the quality of projects, and I am sure that today we are reaping the benefits of those decisions. We’ve strengthened our position not only economically and with how we faced the risks presented by the crisis, but also in our relationship with our customers.

We were delighted that an international company of such high credibility acknowledged Bancomer as having the best performance during the crisis. However, the most important recognition is still given to us by our customers. For us, being big is not a justification to settle for average. What interests us most is that our customers recognize that Bancomer is committed, that Bancomer is investing and strives to be even better, because we recognize that there are many areas of opportunity to improve our services.

  What are the plans for the growth of Bancomer? To what extent has the strategy been realized thus far?

Today we are launching an investment plan for 2012. We want to invest in our new offices and in strengthening the city. We will also focus on investments related to our core business. We are changing the technology for customer service throughout the business, in the issuance of credit

Our foundation, Fundación Bancomer, has a stra-

"We were delighted that an international company of such high credibility as Latin Finance magazine acknowledged Bancomer as having the best performance during the crisis."

Our bet has been on comprehensive education and technical training. Our primary objective is to develop leaders with a strong sense of initiative but who are also committed to their teams. On that note, we’re also ranked as the fifth best company to work for in Mexico.

  What would you say to a foreign investor interested in Mexico?

It is very difficult to find a country more interesting than Mexico in which to participate. In the financial market, the banking sector is going to grow enormously. Also, there is no doubt that Mexican universities are educating young people who will be prepared to compete internationally, and who will be available for work in the best companies. There are also governments, both at federal and city levels, that are more and more committed to stronger institutions. Mexico is a great investment opportunity for both domestic and foreign capital. I think Mexico City is and will remain of the most attractive cities for investment.

BBVA Bancomer- Operations Center render


“Bancomer is created with the

objective to propel the development of physical and human


Foster + Partners ECOGNIZED WORLDWIDE AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S leading architecture firms, Foster + Partners is also on of the five largest in the world. Foster + Partners designed and built the HSBC Tower in Hong Kong, the City Hall in London and the Millau Viaduct in France among many others. The office was created in 1967 by Sir Norman Foster who, throughout his career, received over 550 awards and won over 100 international competitions. The Biometrópolis Campus project, an initiative of the Mexico City government and the National Autonomous University of Mexico is the British firm’s first project in Mexico. The multi-purpose development is designed as a bastion of information, a knowledgebased micro city that aims to be at the forefront in research, care and biomedical prevention. It plans to put Mexican medicine on the international stage, and set the base for a new high-tech economic infrastructure in Mexico City.


Campus Biometrópolis Front view Render

THE Biometrópolis CAMPUS PROJECT Nigel Dancey, Design Director, Foster + Partners, and Ricardo Mateu, Project Partner, Foster + Partners



The British Museum- London

Reichstag, New German Parliament- Berlin

F+P has won over

100 international competitions

Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House- Dallas (Co-architects: Kendall Heaton Associate)



Point of View

Private Sector

NIGEL DANCEY Design Director, Foster + Partners

Nigel Dancey studied architecture at Oxford Polytechnic and Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Washington, DC, where he graduated with honors. Dancey joined the team of Foster + Partners in 1990 and has since worked on projects in Japan, Korea and the United States. He was promoted to Associate in 1993 and became Director of Projects the following year. Since 2004, he has been Senior Associate Partner and has been responsible for more than 160 projects worldwide, primarily in America, Europe and Asia.


“The creation of a research facility at the Biometrópolis Campus will help to attract talented scientists and medical professionals to live and work in Mexico City.”  In a global urban environment, characterized by steady urban growth for the next four decades, what do you think the public policy priorities with regard to managing that growth should be? To accommodate this urban growth and create the sustainable cities of the future, we need to find a balance between retrofitting existing buildings and creating sustainable new communities. Reducing both our impact on the environment and our demand for natural resources must be at the heart of any public policy. In the industrialized world, buildings and the activities within them consume roughly a third of the energy we generate and are responsible for a third of carbon dioxide emissions – the remainder being divided almost equally between transport and industry. To be sustainable, our approach must be holistic, embracing buildings, their components, as well as transport, infrastructure, and the public spaces in-between.

 From an urban-planning perspective, what should be the main premises for the management and improvement of slums or informal urban growth that characterize cities in emerging economies like Mexico City?

It is difficult to comment on the wider issue as each community is unique and demands its own response. There are many ways that design can help to improve the quality of life in these areas, but this should not be at the expense of the unique character of each. Recognizing the history, traditions and identity of a place and strengthening these is important if an intervention is to prove a long-term success.

 To achieve a substantial improvement in the quality of life for its inhabitants, what kind of interventions should be implemented within a metropolis the size of Mexico City? If you are creating a sustainable environ-

ment, you have to think about people and how they live. Technology can follow but it is also about changing behavior – you have to make things easy for people. The combination of a unique climate and Mexico City’s rapidly expanding metropolis means that air pollution remains an issue, which is symptomatic of reliance on the car. With Campus Biometrópolis, we wanted to reduce emissions by encouraging the use of public transport. We would like to knit the transport strategy for the campus with the surrounding bus and metro network. While on campus, people will use solar-powered electric vehicles and a bus connection to the nearby UNAM Metro Station will fully utilise the available capacity on a quieter section of the metro line. There will still be a need to incorporate parking spaces, but by locating these beneath a raised podium level, we will maintain a pedestrian environment and maximize the available space for a nature reserve.


Reichstag, New German Parliament- Berlin

Our most important challenge for the project – in fact our primary responsibility – is the

creation of a sustainable community.  Globalization has led to a significant regional and urban competition to attract capital. What features do you consider essential in order for cities to specialize and thrive economically?

The creation of a world-class research facility at the Biometrópolis Campus will help to attract talented scientists and medical professionals to live and work in Mexico City. The creation of a mixed-use destination, which brings together places to work and study with homes, cafes, restaurants and community facilities is key to this. A research institution can be a powerful engine for economic growth. One preeminent center of technical excellence, Silicon Valley in the USA, offers an interesting case study as it has evolved from humble beginnings into the center-piece of the US economy in a little over 100 years. At the heart of this lies Stanford University, the institution that started it all. Similarly, in Abu Dhabi, the Masdar Institute is at the heart of the development of Masdar and will be a generator for the city’s green industries.

 Given your extensive experience carrying out construction projects around the world, what factors do you take into account in order to maintain and to reflect the local idiosyncrasies, traditions and lifestyle in your architecture?

There are often lessons to be learnt from vernacular architecture and traditional building techniques, as well as from nature.

While the same set of values underpin everything we do, our approach is always grounded in thorough research and we work to tailor the best response for each individual project and client. Our philosophy is a constant, but the outcome will vary dramatically according to the location. In the desert or a tropical climate, you will seek the shade, in a northern city you will want to maximize the sunlight. So the physical spaces and shape of the buildings will be dramatically different. Globalization in this approach does not mean that everywhere starts to look the same.

 From your perspective, what elements or characteristics of urban planning will favor the survival of cities in the decades to come?

In terms of sustainability, there is certainly a strong case for high-density urban living and this is sometimes unfairly associated with deprivation or poverty. Bringing everything together – home and work, as well as places to eat and relax – means fewer individual journeys, creates thriving communities and makes optimum use of the available space. Many of the more desirable areas of London, such as Chelsea or of Mexico City such as Polanco, are in fact quite densely populated. We should avoid urban sprawl and rediscover and revitalize our inner cities.

 What are the main elements that governments, the private sector, academics and social groups should consider for an urban intervention to effectively work together in benefit of the city?

As architects and designers we can – and must – advocate a sustainable approach. However, we are limited in this respect and rely on progressive clients and political initiatives to bring about large-scale change. In our own projects, engaging with the local community at an early stage to understand the needs of all users is vital. Any sustainable initiative must result in a place where people want to live, work or visit – if it fails to achieve this then it has failed in a central part of its function. Flexibility of use is also a key element in encouraging sustained use as well as in anticipating future demand. At the level of a single building, Foster + Partners' design for the Langley Academy

in the UK is an interesting example – the school has been configured to allow out-ofhours use by the wider community, giving them access to the sports facilities, restaurant and a venue for events, thus ensuring its sustainability over time.

 Given that cities are the main sources of pollution and energy consumption, what urban architectural criteria does F+P implement within their projects to counteract climate change?

There are a variety of strategies at our disposal, though each is unique to the local climate and culture. We often combine the very latest technologies with the lessons of ancient building traditions and natural forms. Within our studio, a sustainability forum has been established to raise the level of environmental awareness throughout the office, and to ensure that the use of sustainable technologies and methods are integral to everything we do. The forum is part of the research and development group, whose role is to ensure that the practice remains at the forefront of architectural innovation.

 What are the most relevant features of the Biometrópolis urban project that you are planning for Mexico City and what sets it apart from other urban developments? Our most important challenge for the project – in fact our primary responsibility – is the creation of a sustainable community. By integrating a nature reserve as part of the scheme, we help to preserve many of Mexico City’s indigenous plants and species. This wilderness area will provide an attractive natural setting for the buildings and our scheme will help to safeguard the future of the land through sensitive development. Importantly, the campus will not exacerbate Mexico City’s water shortage. Instead it will maintain the proportion of open space through which water can be absorbed into the city’s aquifer below through rainwater harvesting from roofs, as well as roads and other available space. Perhaps this sensitive ecological approach is the defining characteristic that sets the project apart from much of the current urban development in the city.

CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high-quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world. Cemex has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through its effort to pursue innovative industry solutions and efficiency advancements and to promote a sustainable future.

cemex ffering global solutions for the construction industry, CEMEX produces high quality products and provides reliable service to customers and communities around the world. The company focuses on improving the welfare of its stakeholders through continuous efforts to promote sustainable development. Some of the strategic strengths of the company are its unique customer service, a corporate culture of innovation, cross-functional collaboration with suppliers and customers, and socially responsible behavior. In addition, CEMEX seeks to achieve a strategic balance between the natural growth of markets and geographic diversification. This dual approach generates profitable growth in a global industry that is highly competitive.


CEMEX has built a portfolio of assets that provides sustainable, profitable and long-term growth potential. All based on the following strategies: 1. A focus on the core business of cement, ready-mix concrete and aggregates 2. Financial flexibility, the improvement of operational efficiency, and the promotion of sustainable development.

Cemex 2009 Sales Breakdown OTHERS


MEXICO 20% 22% 38%

20% U.S.

Global presence: more than 50 countries. 2009 Sales: US$14.5 billion Production capacity: 97 million tons of cement annually.

Commitment to Sustainability The CEMEX commitment to sustainable development in Mexico includes the following strategic components:

CEMEX to participate in the preparation and submission of the final reports on the Initiative for Energy Efficiency in Buildings in the last 3 years.


2.Impact Reduction:

The smart way of doing business is to increase competitiveness through improved operational efficiency and adherence to strict ethical standards while providing innovative products and services that meet the needs of communities with limited resources. CEMEX seeks to meet the essential needs of infrastructure and housing, while minimizing local and global impacts that operations can produce on people and their environment. CEMEX works to minimize accidents, emissions, noise, vibration, and any impact on the land in our operating sites. CEMEX works actively with stakeholders, inside and outside its industry, to promote innovation in the design, construction and maintenance of more sustainable buildings, plants and facilities. Membership in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has allowed

To continue reducing the company’s worldwide carbon footprint, CEMEX has improved the energy efficiency of its operations. In 2009, the Eurus wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico, developed as a joint project by CEMEX and ACCIONA Energy, was completed. Eurus is one of the largest parks of its kind in the world and it is the largest wind generator of electricity in Latin America, with 167 wind turbines. This wind farm represents the second largest reduction in CO2 emissions of all of the projects registered with the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations. Through this and other actions, in sum, as of 2009, CEMEX has reduced its specific net CO2 emissions per ton of cement produced by 21% from 1990 levels and the company remains on track to meet its 2015 target of 25% CO2 emissions reduction.

as of 2009, CEMEX has reduced its specific net CO2 emissions per ton of cement produced by

21% from 1990 levels.

3.Stakeholder Outreach:

CEMEX promotes positive, long-term relationships with stakeholders. Together they confront the challenges of sustainability. CEMEX partners with local governments and organizations to improve the conditions of community infrastructure, such as unpaved roads, sidewalks, parks, schools, and hospitals, and to rebuild following natural disasters.


cemex factory

sales FOR 2009 US$

14.5 billion

cemex's concrete mixer



47,000 employees worldwide

ceme x

BicenteNnial Circuit- Mexico City

Cemex provides global solutions to the construction industry worldwide. Cemex offers high quality products and reliable service to builders, developers, customers, and communities.

calakmul building- Santa Fe, Mexico City

TO continue reducing the company's worldwide carbon footprint, cemex has improved the energy efficiency of its operations and expanded company-wide use of alternative sources of energy. Lazos Familiares

The Lazos Familiares program aims to improve quality of life across society. The program seeks collaboration with customers, suppliers, partners and employees to support construction projects and the rehabilitation of areas and communities where CEMEX is working. Lazos Familiares' goal is to reduce service gaps in the communities through contributions that endure over time and benefit multiple generations. Lazos Familiares has been helping the elderly, orphans and abandoned children, families and entire communities with medical centers, food distribution center, shelters, orphanages, and schools.

ceme x

cemex's concrete mixer- the Fine Arts Museum in Mexico City

  Patrimonio Hoy





atrimonio Hoy program has helped low-income Mexican families to build or improve their houses for more than 10 years. The program provides counseling, building materials, and access to credit, to tackle the housing shortage of 4 million homes that affects more than 20 million Mexican people. Patrimonio Hoy has sparked the interest of internationally renowned academic institutions like Harvard University, the University of Michigan, the Tecnológico de Monterrey and the Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresa (IPADE). Patrimonio Hoy also has been the recipient of several prestigious international awards. In 2006, the International Chamber of Congress awarded the program a World Business Award. The International Business Leaders Forum of the Prince of Wales and the United Nations Program for Development recognized the program for its contribution to the Millennium Development Goals. In 2007, Patrimonio Hoy was awarded the Corporate Citizen of the Americas Award from the Trust for the Americas and, more recently, in 2009 Patrimonio Hoy was granted the United Nations HABITAT award for providing affordable housing solutions.

Reduced construction time by more than



cost reduction of building homes


rupo Carso is among the consortiums with the strongest market presence in Mexico and in the rest of Latin America. Active primarily in industrial, infrastructure and construction, and commercial enterprises, the group is one of the most competitive and dynamic corporations in the region. In 2009, the total assets of Grupo Carso amounted to US$7.7 billion and the equity reached US$4.7 billion. The group’s EBITDA is registered at about US$872 million. Grupo Carso's history begins with the firm’s formal establishment in 1980. Since then, the group has been able to invest in highimpact sectors and continues to produce goods and services that create jobs throughout Mexico.

Industry, commerce, hotel and travel

In the industrial area, Grupo Carso has global companies such as Grupo Condumex. Responsible for the manufacturing and marketing of products in the electronics and automotive areas, this is a conglomerate that handles high-tech metals such as copper, silver and zinc, and supplies manufacturers across the business spectrum. Among the products offered are copper telephone cables, optical fiber cables, transformers and power plants. The principal markets are fixed and mobile telephony in Mexico and Latin America, and the housing construction industry and producers of electricity in Mexico. In the commercial area, Grupo Carso offers services such as department stores such as Sanborns and Saks Fifth Avenue, restaurants like the Sanborns chain, and Mixup music stores, all of which are considered well-positioned companies not only in Mexico City, but in the rest of the country. In the hotel industry, the group provides services through Ostar Hotel Group, which has six distinguished hotels in the Mexican Republic, each with a different identity, serving as an icon of authenticity in architecture, history, decor and service in their respective cities. The Hotel Géneve, in Mexico City, dates back to 1907 and has since been host to prominent figures from the worlds of culture and national and international policy. Today, the hotel offers 1,101 rooms for leisure and for business.

Infrastructure and Construction

In the construction industry, Grupo Carso is represented by companies such as PC Builders Group, Swecomex and Carso Infraestructura y Construcción (CICSA), all part of the consortium of engineer Carlos Slim. All Grupo Carso companies are recognized worldwide for their top-level attention, extensive experience, skilled personnel, specialized contractors, and a deep sense of responsability when it comes to the design, engineering, management and construction, in every stage of the process. The groups primary areas of experience are in oil exploration and extraction, road construction, dams, aqueducts, shopping centers, industrial

plants and office buildings, and water treatment plants, mobile cell radio base installation, and residential construction. In 2009, CICSA established itself as an increasingly diversified builder, with a large capacity and experience in civil and industrial works in the five areas in which it operates: the oil industry, pipeline installation, infrastructure, construction and housing development. Likewise, Constructura de Infraestructura Latinoamericana (CILSA) specializes in the design and construction of facilities for the communications, water and energy industries across the region. Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo en América Latina (IDEAL), another important part of Grupo Carso, is a company with two purposes: first, the development of physical infrastructure, including roads, power generation services and water treatment facilities, among others and second, developinging human capital and activities that include the assessment and operation of long term infrastructure projects. Among the most prominent projects currently being pursued in the Federal District are the remodeling of the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) El Rosario, in the north of the city. This project is intended to provide commuters with a better and more accessible public transport system that links the city’s subway, buses and taxis. The development of the mixed-use complex required an investment of US$90 million and is designed to receive 190,000 commuters daily. The TOD also includes shopping centers, educational, health and cultural facilities.

Perspectives for the Future

Grupo Carso is committed to the further development of professional human capital, to supporting small and medium enterprises, and to building infrastructure. Thus far in 2010, Grupo Carso increased investments by 35% over the previous year. This has created a total of 217,000 jobs, and required a total of 41,033 Mexican suppliers, of which 80% are small or medium sized enterprises.


In 2009,

the total assets of

Grupo carso amounted to

US$7.7 billion thus far in 2010

grupo carso increased investments by

35% over the

sanborns de los azulejos- Historic Center

previous year.

hotel geneve- Zona Rosa


The Project in Numbers Surface Area in Square Meters


Square Meters of Construction


Green Areas in Square Meters






ith an investment of approximately US$800 million, Grupo Carso is currently constructing one of the most outstanding multi-use centers in Mexico City: Plaza Carso. At 74,890 square meters, the center is designed as a financial, cultural, residential and commercial center in the heart of Mexico City. The area being constructed compares with projects like the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the International Financial Centre of Hong Kong. Always interested in the revitalization of urban onaa areas, the new complex is being constructed in former industrial area sightadapted adaptedto tothe theneeds needsof oftoday. today. Building on the successful experiences of the Loreto y Peña Pobre factories, which were transformed into and alsothe on shopping and entertainment centers, as well the reclamation a former garbage dump in Ciudad reclamation of a of former garbage dump in Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, where a w Bicentennial Garden City Garden City was placed, was places. Carso to be one of Mexico Plaza Carso Plaza promises to promises be one of Mexico City’s most City’s most prominent attractions. prominent

residential apartment prototype

Plaza Carso includes 10 great architectural works concentrated in one space, with more than 860,206 square meters of construction in an area of 74,890 square meters, 50% of which are devoted to landscape. The new buildings are intended to be a watershed in the architectural development of Mexico, which will influence the transformation of many other urban areas in favor of sustainable development.

Square Meters


CORPORATE square meters 180,000

Residential apartments 980 Hotel: ROOMS 127 & Condominiums 38 Parking Spaces 9,000

Cultural Areas Soumaya Museum (6000 square

meters): 66,000 art works on permanent exhibition which include the second most important collection of works of August Rodin.   Jumex Museum   Cervantes Theatre – with a capacity for 1,500 spectators.


Construction of Plaza Carso began

in December 2008, and the first stage is expected to be completed in early 2011.


The Plaza Carso project

will include, the Soumaya Museum

and the Jumex Collection, the Cervantes Theater,

a shopping center,

980 residential apartments with luxury amenities,

a 5-star hotel,

and three corporate towers Commitment to the environment

Plaza Carso includes 30 thousand square meters of green areas and its buildings will be LEED certified. The site will boast efficient water management and energy use, and it will be constructed with sustainable materials, helping to protect the ozon layer. The development includes systems for the capture of rainwater with an annual capacity for injecting enough water into the subsoil to fill a major soccer field 3.4 times. The development also contains a well to satisfy 40% of the water demand of the complex. “Duo Vent� windows in the complex are intended to provide savings in energy consumption of 5.7 million KW per year, and the design of the air conditioning system will represent an energy savings of 20% over a traditional system.

Urban Revitalization

Plaza Carso, as previously mentioned, is being constructed on the site of a former industrial complex. The project is deigned not only to transform the site aesthetically, but to transform the livelihoods and the networking abilities of the entire area. Grupo Carso is working closely with the Federal District government to realize joint projects that will bring great stability to the area and allow for a development that assures peaceful coexistence. The improvement of streets and sidewalks, the provisioning of more green areas and bike paths with all required safety measures will also be an integral part of the project. These are expected to reinvigorate an urban landscape and to transform space as well as the public it is designed to serve.

which are to house Grupo Carso's corporate offices, and those of many other national and international companies.

intel i

ntel arrived in Mexico in 1992 as a sales subsidiary of the US based Intel Corporation. The huge potential of the country in terms of development, research, and the rapid adoption of information and communications technology were initially attractive. But further, Mexico represented one of the strongest and most consolidated economies in the region and despite the recent economic crisis, it has maintained sustained economic growth. While knowledge produced in Mexico is top quality, it is necessary to expand the participation and to support the further generation of knowledge, its widespread adoption and further marketing to continue its promotion. Providing the necessary platform to develop new value-added products contributes generating not only a qualified workforce, but also creators and developers of innovative solutions to many of today’s biggest problems.

Intel’s Role in Mexico Intel’s business in Mexico is based on 3 pillars: 1. The Final Consumer: Intel contributes to the achievement of objectives that help people improve the quality of their productive lives by offering technology to facilitate their inclusion in the information society where communication, entertainment and the exchange of knowledge are all important to personal development. 2. Business: Intel supports the productive sector with

technologies that enable them to be more efficient, to increase productivity and to save in a variety of areas such as energy consumption and improvements and, above all, to promote competitiveness so that companies focus on growing their own businesses by offering ever more perfect products and services.

3. Enabling a Technological Ecosystem:

Intel's philosophy goes beyond technology and always seeks alliances with other companies, governments and communities to extend the benefits of technology into areas such as health care, education and good government. These outreaches are aimed at promoting economic and social development by enabling programs to bridge the digital divide and to improve the quality of people’s lives through special programs and technology.

It is important to invest in IT and Communications Technologies, but still more important is what is generated with these tools and whether they can be used to solve problems facing everyone. With the intensive use of Internet, modern IT and Communications, the paradigm of current economic and social development based on knowledge management has evolved toward network cooperation, real time exchanges of information and production and knowledge management. This has generated more horizontal relationships than ever before, better communications among more participants, and thus the possibility for greater access to intellectual capital to help people improve their lives. Intel believes that much remains to be done to increase the penetration of services based on IT and communications into more of today’s life. We’re confident that relevant authorities will make the best decisions to strengthen this sector whose beneficiaries, at the end of the day, are all consumers and businesses.

Intel and Education

Activities Intel has developed include:

  Desafío Intel® América Latina is a regional competition for technology-based businesses to seek and promote proposals by graduates and entrepreneurs, and to develop business plans so that innovative projects can be realized or better implemented.

  With the Centro de Diseño de Guadalajara, a design center, Intel has undertaken several initiatives with local universities to encourage technical talent and innovation across the region. Agreements with leading universities in the region and nationwide help us to jointly develop internship, research and development programs.

Intel supports private initiatives to encourage innovation with social meaning through shared experiences and resources with different sectors of the population, especially with those who have less. With operations in many different countries, sharing best practices in education and technology has proven to be of great utility in Mexico.

  Intel, along with the Design Center of Guadalajara and the University of Guadalajara, has developed a collaborative agreement for the development and training of students from a variety of disciplines in the understanding and application of parallel programming for multicore processors. The program responds to the demand for professionals trained in the use of new technologies and new approaches to programming.


in tel

As a world

leader in technology,

Intel believes that investing in the future investigation of

“added value” is a priority decision for our business, and especially for the development of technology that helps people’s lives, and that helps businesses become more productive.

intel processors

Point of View

Private Sector


“The main goal of these programs is to contribute to the training of teachers and students in digital education.”

Scott Overson earned a degree in Finance from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and his MBA from the Charles H. Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon. Having joined Intel in 1990, Overson has held multiple management positions, and has extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of strategies aimed at different market segments including global business, retail, small business, manufacturing, telecommunications and in providing solutions for the public & government sectors.   What does investment in IT and Communications represent for the development of society?

Investment in IT and Communications is of tremendous relevance because the evolution of a global economy is based on instant communication and information exchange. Investing in IT and Communications is to bet on the further integration and strengthening of the position of the country within a global society, where bricks-and-mortar economies have given way to the “knowledge economy.” Although infrastructure as such is important, but more precious to triggering development, is the information and innovation from which development emerges.

From there, the generation of new alternative solutions to the problems that afflict all societies is just the beginning.

moting the development of innovative local talent to avoid “brain drain” would have important economic consequences.

  In your opinion, what should be the   What are the connections between role of private initiative when it comes Intel and the academic world? to the development of education and The links we have in Mexico are through the technology? Intel Higher Education Program (Programa The private sector should serve as a collaborator and enabler in the implementation of public policies initiated by the State. Private enterprise can supplement public policy by becoming a promoter of the initiatives that contribute to the development of those areas of the economy or educational sectors that governments, for various reasons, cannot meet.

Intel® Educación Universitaria) where we collaborate with several universities to develop entrepreneurship, research and curriculum programs that help more communities to thrive in today's knowledge economy. We concentrate on research and training in math, science and engineering at the university level.

Increasing competitiveness in relation to other cities would be the most prominent benefit. By strengthening the technological ecosystem, we could generate value-added jobs and boost the research and development of new technologies. Above all, pro-

main goal of these programs is to contribute to the training of teachers and students in digital education through the effective use of computers and software. We’re also working to develop twenty-first century skills: critical thinking, increased

  What vision does Intel promote through     What about the potential of Mexico in   What benefits to the city would there its Learning and Teaching Initiative? And the fields of technology and knowledge? be in being at the forefront of science what are the results so far? The country has enormous potential for the and technology? Our vision goes beyond technology. The adoption of technology. Beyond that, positive in itself, the long-term prospects include bringing a greater number of people into the knowledge economy, advances in network research and innovation, and in knowledge of trends that are shaping the course the life.

in tel

research capacity, collaboration, and development of communication skills. The results so far include 75,000 children trained through the Intel Learn Program and 300,000 teachers across the country have benefited from the Intel Teach Program.

  What does Intel envision by investing in the Guadalajara Design Center?

With this investment, we’ve expanded our contribution to the development of a national and a local technology ecosystem through the generation of value-added jobs, the attraction and development of national talent, the expansion of research areas, the boosting of innovation, and increased momentum for a National Digital Plan by the federal government.

  What steps has Intel undertaken to ensure the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly products?

The manufacturing of our processors is free of lead. All our processors are manufactured with 32 nanometer micro architecture, which helps to lower the power consumption of the computers. With regard to the investment in the new campus Guadalajara Design Center, Intel's building will fully adhere to LEED certification standards. That’s only our second building in the world that meets the highest construction and environmental standards, as certified by independent verification.

  How would investment in broadband   What are Intel Mexico’s plans for growth benefit the overall development of the city? over the next few years? The are many benefits to investing in broadband. According to research commissioned by Intel from the Competitive Intelligence Unit, a 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration will generate a total of 1,631,099 new jobs and economic benefits in the range of US$12.6 billion. Also, broadband would increase the national average level of

1,631,099 new jobs will generate an economic benefit of US$12.6 billion.

schooling by 1.32 years. Third, broadband would directly save US$6 billion in current spending, through greater administrative efficiency in economies of scale and process agility to name just a few areas of savings. Finally, the subjects aforementioned would have a cumulative effect in terms of GDP per capita of 5.2% within 6 years (maximum life of a PC). This translates into an increase in the total GDP of US$13.8 billion.

Our vision is to strengthen and increase our market presence in traditional segments such as PCs, laptops, netbooks and servers, using products that are increasingly smaller, smarter, and that offer better performance, and consume less energy. In the future, we’re planning to expand our presence in market segments such as smart phones, tablets, automotive products, digital homes, etc., to bring the best of computing to new segments of the population and to improve the lives of people.

  What advantages does Mexico City offer to domestic and foreign investors compared to other cities in Latin America?

Mexico City has a workforce that is highly trained in many areas. The necessary infrastructure, roads, airports and telecommunications, allows you to stay connected basically from anywhere in the country with the rest of the world. Mexico City has a wide network of universities and research centers that promote the generation of innovations in multiple fields. Proximity to the United States means many cooperative trade agreements can boost productivity, research and cultural exchange. Not to mention that it gives us access to one of the largest markets in the world.

INTEL- Mexico City Headquarters

ADO lways in pursuit of new development opportunities, ADO remains devoted to the quality of community life in the city and in the country and to the quality of our environment. ADO has been named a “Socially Responsible Company” and been awarded the “National Work Prize” and the “National Award for Energy Savings.” With 23,000 quality employees, ADO strives to be an outstanding part of the Mexican economy. The ADO Group consists of several companies with extensive experience in the areas of logistics, business development and land passenger transport for intercity, urban, tourist and metropolitan travel. Mexico’s operational transportation headquarters are centered in the metropolitan region of the capital city. Beyond Mexico City, connections to 15 states along the Gulf Coast and southeastern Mexico account for the heaviest transport operations following those immediately surrounding the Federal District. A wide range of options and complementary services are arranged to meet the mobility needs of all of these communities.

ADO Group is a 100% Mexican company, founded in 1939 by just over 400 families who are the core of the company. A leader in transportation services, ADO regularly moves freight and passengers all across Mexico.

ADO’s Business Logistics division – including the well-known Multipack brand – operates throughout the country and offers the most extensive experience in freight handling, delivery and logistics. The Business Enterprise division focuses on the development of convenience stores, restaurants, franchises, cafeterias, restrooms, parking operations and the management of advertising space in bus terminals and similar spaces. Along this prestigious trajectory, the way forward for ADO Group is the development and implementation of self-financing transportation hubs of high social impact. These are to be inclusive, sustainable and replicable for the benefit of every community, and thereby help to improve the quality of life for all of Mexican people. ADO supports the development of urban policies and the development of transport systems aimed at environmental protection. ADO’s aspiration is to be, together with the city government, a generator of innovative ideas within the transportation sector, and thereby support a more mobile society in the country’s capital.




Hop on-hop off turibus

ADO and Connectivity

Attracting and holding onto intellectual capital is one of the most important challenges for the city. Mexico City recognizes the need to be open and connected and to offer competitive advantages based on the quality of the entire urban infrastructure. The availability of basic services and efficient infrastructure for communications, transport, telecommunications and easy accessibility to the best centers and activity areas are vital to all of these efforts. The situation in the city is a reflection of the cultural and social norms, as well as of economic interests, as much as it is an expression of the belief in a better future. ADO is driving this transformation so that this great metropolis will become an open and creative community of knowledge. Ensuring that every resident is afforded the possibility of moving forward, carrying out and enjoying their full economic and educational potential is among the company’s principal objectives. Improving the quality of life for all Mexican people depends on the use of integrated systems and infrastructure to prioritize and facilitate mass movement. ADO shares this vision with the government of Mexico City, and is constantly involved in the improvement of means of transportation - to and from the city- and in connecting the suburbs to the center of the capital. Likewise, developing and investing in the operations of simple transportation alternatives that provide timely and high quality services to the tremendous number of passengers and destinations, not only offers great benefits to the community, but remains among the core missions of the company. The ADO Group continually invests in passenger boarding points, in the construction of terminals in strategic locations to offer lower travel times, and greater possibilities for transfer between routes. ADO works to develop additional services that benefit the connectivity with other modes of safe transport such as taxis, the subway system Metro, and city buses, so that passengers can make transfers easily and safely. ADO also shares a strong commitment to create a new culture of transport and to offer high quality services that contribute to change the lifestyle of the inhabitants, making Mexico City a more productive organization.


Presenting the Biggest City in the Hemisphere! Visitors of every stripe enjoy the full city from atop double decker buses running regular routes through the city’s streets and almost 50 different city neighborhoods.

  A living city can be a difficult place to visit, and a really big city can be even worse. Multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, it used to take visitors weeks or even months to find their way around to the many fascinating and important spots.   More than 100 of the city’s most celebrated spots are more accessible than ever. North and South routes are available for the full day or at night – or you can choose a two full days package.

  The heart of the city plus distant neighborhoods like Polanco and Condesa, through the enormous Chapultepec Park are easy to find and visit. A second southern route includes Ciudad Universitaria, the Colonial Center of Tlalpan and the nearby flower markets… and much, much more.   Not simply a Drive-By, passengers can board or disembark at any of 36 stops on the same ticket as often as they like. Stops are clearly marked on the map and on the street and buses follow a clearly marked time table. Passengers can deepen their experience of any one place on the map and then move on when they’re satisfied.   The City and the Pyramids – Turibus includes not only the entirety of Mexico City, but you can even add an option to visit the Pyramids of Teotihuacan in the same day or as part of a simple affordable package.

  Interconnection with the rest of the city’s transportation

system is also simple and allows visitors not only a thorough cultural experience but the chance to see more of Mexico City than ever before.


Point of View

Private Sector

Gonzalo GarcÍa Director General of Metropolitan Transportation, ADO Group

Gonzalo García began his career with Grupo ADO in 1993. In diverse areas as transport logistics and new business development, he quickly moved into the area of Business Organizations and Intermediaries. Today, he is responsible for urban projects as Director General of the Metropolitan Transportation Unit, one of four group Ado divisions.   What does ADO Group do to contribute to the productivity of Mexico City?

For 70 years ADO has assured inhabitants in any location – in the city, in the suburbs and in other locations – of the possibilities in Mexico City. Through hard work, economic, educational and personal activities, we’re improving the quality of life, moving people and connecting with other transport systems to facilitate travel. In doing so, we contribute to the population’s access to health systems. We provide access to better education institutions, museums, concerts, conferences and sporting events. We allow people to participate in a variety of activities through convenient, comfortable and timely service that is accessible to everyone.

  Can you speak about ADO Group’s commitment to the environment?

Our interests are in quality of life and one fundamental part of that concept is care for the environment. ADO Group has consistently introduced technologies that minimize environmental impact, both in the buses that we buy and in the infrastructure that is built including workshops, offices and terminals. We also develop technological systems that contribute to the environment through our business processes and we participate actively in the design of the buses and their components.

  What’s the importance of Turibus to the current state of tourism in Mexico City? Turibus has become an emblem of the city and it’s given domestic and foreign visitors the opportunity to really see Mexico City and the many distinctive places within it. For cultural and recreational activities that we travel, the collaboration with the local government has been essential to the operation of the service. We’ve supported children’s participation in projects with

“The way forward

for ADO Group is the

development   and implementation of self-

financing transportation hubs of high social impact.” trips to the Papalote Museum, and we’ve sponsored many athletes and sport events. The diversity of passengers using the service, which contribute to cultural interaction and exchange, has placed the Turibus side by side with some of the cultural places that we visit.

We develop technological systems that contribute to the environment and we participate actively in the design of the buses and their components.   What are the landmarks that bear witness to the city's connectivity? One of the prominent landmarks in Mexico City is the Eastern Bus Terminal, more commonly known as TAPO. It’s an icon of national and international architecture and it’s the only terminal in the world with a re-

markable circular design and a dome measuring 60 meters in diameter. The highest point is 26 meters. It’s the only fully multimodal transportation terminal in Mexico, with two metro lines, multiple city buses and of course, taxis and the intercity buses for which the terminal was built. Every year, TAPO receives millions of passengers who bring their their life stories to Mexico City.

  What’s the importance of connectivity to a megalopolis like Mexico City?

Connectivity is vital. Facilitating access to our services, we have presence in every terminal, and we’ve extended our coverage and invested in the construction of alternate terminals that interconnect with other transport systems like the subway, taxis and other public transportation, further enhancing urban life.

  What goal is ADO Group pursuing in Mexico City?

ADO is committed to creating a more mobile Mexico City. We’re integrating new rhythms and we’re developing more dynamic and safer ways of travel, relying on 70 years of experience and the strength of the company to become an international reference point for mobility solutions.

dina D

ina is a 100% Mexican company with more than 60 years of experience in the transportation industry and international presence in three continents. Dina is responsible for manufacturing high-tech vehicles that provide Transport Solutions that deliver value to customers, share- holders and employees, through products that meet the highest standards of quality for local and global market. With a proprietary technology called “High Technology & Quality”, Dina designs their Urban Bus Line based on the strictest international standards. Domestically as well as in numerous international markets, more than 200,000 (of our) freight vehicles and passenger vehicles are contributing to the efficient and reliable development of communities. Dina Camiones constitutes the Trucks division of the G Consortium, a leading business group in the construction, food, logistics and financial services fields. More than 30% of the current vehicle fleet that its circulating within Mexico is Dina brand and it is a result of pioneer technologies that improve the transportation and quality of life of Mexicans.

Technology, engineering, design, along with sales service and guarantees are the basis for providing the market with products that meet and surpass national and international standards of advanced fuel efficiency, safety and confidence in the suppliers. The Dina company reaps satisfaction in delivering products and transport solutions that exceed expectations of their customers.

Sustainable Transport

  The Linner G drops particle emissions to near zero, and releases 50%

  Dina is aware that one of the primary concerns in all international fo-

rums is the reduction of global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG’s), especially from the transportation industry. In today’s Mexico,18.2% of GHG’s are generated by the transportation sector, according to the Global Mapping of Green House Gases. That is much higher than the global average of 13.8%. In response to this concern, Grupo Dina decided to propose real solutions to ecological matters.   Contributing to the sustainable development of the country and supporting the growth of the economy of Mexico, is a constant challenge that has always concerned Dina Trucks.

generated by the In today’s are transport sector,

Mexico 18.2%ofGHG’s

according to the Global Mapping of Green House Gases.

  With this in mind, Dina developed the Ecological Urban Bus, which is

sold under the trade name, the Linner G. A one of a kind unit with a natural gas engine developed by the University of British Columbia in Canada, the Linner G offers the very latest in electronic fuel controls.   The most important advantage of the natural gas is safety. Because it is less flammable, and it is lighter than air, natural gas quickly disperses in the atmosphere in cases of leakage. The Linner G carries tanks manufactured to withstand high impacts and high temperatures, meaning the risk of fire or explosion is greatly reduced.

Contribute to

the sustainable

development of the country and support the growth of the economy of Mexico, is a constant challenge that has always raised the Mexican: Dina Trucks.

less nitrogen oxide emissions than a diesel engine. When natural gas is burning, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions, two important green- house gasses, are reduced by about 40%. The Linner G saves customers about 35% in fuel consumption.   On issues of sustainability and mobility in transport , Dina has also dedicated themselves to created the world’s first 100% Mexican articulated bus called Dina Brighter. With a capacity of 164 passengers, the bus was design to meet the environmental and terrain conditions and brings a modern aerodynamic design along with comfort and safety to passengers of the Bus Rapid Transit System.   Thanks to their versatility and design, Dina Trucks also facilitate the availability of parts on the market. This further lowers the cost of operation and maintenance of every unit. Dina vehicles provide the carrier and the passenger with a safe and environmentally friendly alternative, with cutting edge technology characterized by the best powerweight ratio, superb design and versatility, engineering, technology, and better performance than the competition.

Dina’s Commitment

Grupo Dina is committed to the welfare and development of mexican communities. With that in mind, a talent recruitment project called “DINA School of Sales” was developed to train sales professionals focused on promoting and encouraging Mexican products in the local and global markets. Dina has the support of the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) in developing projects that positively impact the quality of life of the Mexican people. By hiring professionals, scholars and regional labor, we contribute to the development and proliferation of employment in Mexico. Dina also collaborates with the Mexican government and many local governments to promote programs that enhance the growth of our communities and particularly to help children with disabilities and cancer.


gasses are reduced by

40% 35%

savings in

fuel consumption

DINA bus- Monument of Independence

din a

SOUMAYA MUSEUM The most iconic building within the Plaza Carso complex, the Soumaya Museum, is 6,000 square meters and intended exclusively for art exhibitions, on six levels. The upper floor will house one of the world’s largest private collections of the works of Auguste Rodin. The museum will also feature an auditorium for 340 people, a library with a collection of 5000 volumes, a cafe restaurant for 150 people, offices, shops and a mixed-use lounge. The new Soumaya Museum along with the Cervantes Theatre and the Jumex Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art, will together constitute the cultural center of Plaza Carso and major additions to the cultural life of the city.

The museum also will house an underground conservation and restoration laboratory and storage areas.

Plaza carso Designed as a real estate development on the cutting edge, Plaza Carso is a modern mixed-use urban center that will promote economic growth through hotels,comercial and corporative spaces.

980 apartments

for living, and commercial and corporate complexes. Connected to the Soumaya Museum, Jumex Museum and the Cervantes Theater. A mixed-use space for work, living and recreation, it’s also 100% sustainable as fully half of the construction area is made up of green areas.

Plaza Carso is being built in what used to be an industrial site. Once the construction is finished, it is expected that the area will be revitalized and new spaces forrecreation will be created.


A representation of the prophesied sight that led to the founding of Tenochtitlán based, on the Mendocino Codex.


The ancient Mexica people believed that the shape of the lakes of the ancient Valley of Mexico corresponded to patterns on the moon.

After wandering for many generations,

the Aztecs

encountered a Tenuchtli, a prickly pear cactus, and recognized it as the fulfillment of an ancient prophesy that here they were to found their city. One hypothesis, among many, suggests that the word “Mexico” means “Spring of Origination,” for the city of the Mexica people, was founded atop a lake, one of many that, with the surrounding mountains, dominated the landscape of the Valley of Mexico. After the conquest of the Spanish, the city was to serve for 300 years as the capital of New Spain. In 1824, just a few years after the struggle for independence from Spain, the city was designated as the official headquarters of the new Federation of Mexican States and the Federal District surrounding the city was demarcated.

16 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.



Álvaro Obregón Azcapotzalco Benito Juárez Coyoacán Cuajimalpa Cuauhtémoc Gustavo A. Madero Iztacalco Iztapalapa Magdalena Contreras Miguel Hidalgo Milpa Alta Tláhuac Tlalpan Venustiano Carranza Xochimilco

Historic Center








Meztli: Moon Xictli: Navel or center Co: Place




Number of inhabitants who speak indigenous languages

Miguel Hidalgo



The Most widely spoken INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES Náhuatl

The navel of the moon



SQUARE KILOMETERS At 0.1% of the total Mexican territory, the Federal District is the smallest federal entity in the Republic.



Álvaro Obregó

Magdalena Contreras





1 is the



Gustavo A. Madero


In 2009, more than

348,000 FLIGHTS



place in the

GLOBAL CITIES Index ranked by


st Place in

Latin America









Iztacalco Benito Juárez

o ón









0.3 % Rural

99.7% URBAN

Milpa Alta SOURCE: INEGI • Population and Housing Census of 2005. • Federal District Statistical Yearbook. Mexico. • Statistical Perspectives, Federal District. Mexico. • Municipal Geostatistical Framework. • 2nd Counting of Population and Housing, 2005. • Foreign Policy, AF Kearney and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs: The Global Cities Index 2010.


Schools in the Federal District

Sources and references Knowledge Archivo General de la Nación (AGN) <> Cámara Nacional de la Inustria Farmacéutica (Canifarma) <> Centro de Investigación Agrícola Tropical (CIAT) <> Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT) <> European Organization for Nuclear Research <> Foro Consultivo Científico y Tecnológico < php/estadisticas-del-foro/29-estadisticas-sobre-recursos-humanos-en-cyt/97sistema-nacional-de-investigadores> Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología (ICyTDF) <> Instituto de Investigaciones Eléctricas (IIE) <> Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo (IMP) <> “Interview with Sam Pitroda during the World Economic Forum” < com/watch?v=bO_pYwh4wvc> Mochila Digital Telmex <> One Laptop per Child <> “René Asomoza Palacios, nuevo director”, La Jornada, miércoles 6 de diciembre de 2006 < 46n2soc> Science and Technology-Based Regional Development for Mexico City: a Project Mid-Term Report, Gobierno del Distrito Federal, Mexico City, August 2008. Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência (SBPC) < asbpc/mostra.php?id=474&secao=304>

Education Association of Children’s Museums <> Brooklyn Children’s Museum <> Evaluación Nacional del Logro Académico en Centros Escolares (ENLACE), Comparativo de resultados 2006-2009, October 2, 2009 < HYPERLINK “http://enlace.” docs/presentacion_comparativo.pdf> Hands On! Europe <> Infed <> Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Geografía (INEGI) < contenidos/espanol/soc/sis/sisept/default.aspx?t=cuna14&s=est&c=6612>; <> Instituto Nacional para la Evaluación de la Educación (INEE) < index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=721&Itemid=576> Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon. Tercer Informe de Gobierno 2008-2009 HYPERLINK “” <> Museo Interactivo de Economía (MIDE) <> Nemo Science Center <> Olivares Alonso, Emir. “Rechazados, 91 por ciento de los aspirantes a ingresar a la UNAM”, La Jornada, April 8, 2010 < HYPERLINK “http://www.jornada.unam. mx/2010/04/08/index.php?section=sociedad&article=038n1soc” www.jornada.> Ordaz, Pablo. “La UNAM, Príncipe de Asturias de Comunicación y Humanidades”, El País, June 10, 2009 HYPERLINK “ Principe/Asturias/Comunicacion/Humanidades/elpepusoc/20090610elpepusoc_2/ Tes” < Humanidades/elpepusoc/20090610elpepusoc_2/Tes> Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) <> Papalote Museo del Niño <> Portal de Estadística Universitaria, UNAM <> Programa Integral de Conectividad Escolar “Aula Digital” <> Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) < HYPERLINK “”> Reglamento General de Pagos, UNAM <> Secretaría de Educación del Distrito Federal <

principal-motor-para-disminuir-la-desercion-escolar-mdc> Secretaría de Finanzas del Gobierno del Distrito Federal <> Subsecretaría de Educación Superior <> TecMilenio HYPERLINK “” <> Times Higher Education <> UNESCO < HYPERLINK “ ntent&view=article&id=2324%3Amexico-se-espera-concluir-2010-con-cobertura-de30-en-educacion-superior-&catid=11%3Aiesalc&Itemid=466&lang=es” www.iesalc. 3Aiesalc&Itemid=466&lang=es> Universum <> Webometrics <>

Health Centro de Investigación de Sistemas de Salud (CISS) <> Centro de Investigaciones de Enfermedades Infecciosas (CISEI) <> Clasificación Internacional de Enfermedades, OMS (Organización Mundial de Salud) <> Comisión Coordinadora de Institutos Nacionales de Salud y Hospitales de Alta Dirección Médica, ISSSTE <> Companion Global Healthcare < procedures/heartvalvereplacement.aspx> Comisión Coordinadora de Institutos Nacionales de Salud y Hospitales de Alta Especialidad <> Instituto de las Mujeres del Distrito Federal <> Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) <>. Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública <> Ley de Salud del Distrito Federal, September 17, 2009. Ley de Voluntad Anticipada <> Secretaría de Salud <> Sistema Nacional de Información en Salud <>

Development AMNET < HYPERLINK “”> Competitividad 2010, Fortalezas ante la Crisis. Escuela de Graduados en Administración Pública y Política Pública, Tecnológico de Monterrey, 2010 < HYPERLINK “”> Fernando A. Paredes Castillo, Foro Económico de la Ciudad de México, UNAM, 2010 < HYPERLINK “ PonenciasPDF/1_LaZMCMFortalezasYdebilidadesEnElContextoGlobal-FernandoParedes. pdf” CMFortalezasYdebilidadesEnElContextoGlobal-FernandoParedes.pdf> Índice de Competitividad Estatal (IMCO) 2008 y 2010. International Labour Organization (ILO), 2002. Murillo, José Antonio. La Banca en México: Privatización, Crisis y Reordenamiento, Banco de México < HYPERLINK “”> Pezzini 2008: OCDE, presentación en Estocolmo. Competitive Cities in the Global Economy Stockholm and OECD Metro-region HYPERLINK “http://www.sweden.” < c6/07/94/28/bcae6a66.pdf> PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2007 < HYPERLINK “ assets/document/UK_Economic_Outlook_Nov_09.pdf” assets/document/UK_Economic_Outlook_Nov_09.pdf> Urban Age, a worldwide investigation into the future of cities <>

APPENDIX Sustainability Bando Dos, under López Obrador’s administration, December 27, 2000. Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI), <>. Inventario de Residuos Sólidos / Plan Verde, Secretaría del Medio Ambiente, Mexico City, 2008. Ley Ambiental del Distrito Federal, Gaceta Oficial del Distrito Federal, January 13, 2000. Ley de Desarrollo Urbano del Distrito Federal, Gaceta Oficial del Distrito Federal, August 11, 2006. Plan Único de Especializaciones Médicas (PUEM), 1994. Programa de Acción Climática de la Ciudad de México 2008–2012, Secretaría del Medio Ambiente, Mexico City, 2008. Programa Sectorial de Medio Ambiente 2007–2012, Secretaría del Medio Ambiente, Mexico City, 2007.

Bibliography Chhaya, Mayank. Sam Pitroda: A Biography, Konark Publishers, India, 1992. Ebrard Casaubon, Marcelo L., Mariagna Prats Donovan and Mario M. Carrillo Huerta. Hacia una educacion de calidad en la Ciudad de México. El programa Niños Talento, Galilei / University of Puebla, Mexico City, 2009. Ebrard Casaubon, Marcelo L., Mario M. Carrillo Huerta and José A. Cerón Vargas. La política del desarrollo a favor de la educación. El caso del programa Prepa Sí de la Ciudad de México, Galilei, University of Puebla / Prepa Sí, Mexico City, 2009. Harley, T. Rutherford. “The Public School of Sparta,” Greece & Rome, vol. 3, no. 9, May 1934, pp. 129-139. Hodges, Andrew. Alan Turing: The Enigma, Random House, London, 1992. Kennedy, Robert E. and Ajay Sharma. The Services Shift, Seizing the Ultimate Offshore Opportunity, Pearson Education Inc. / Publishing FT Press, New Jersey, 2009. La tecnología mexicana al servicio de la industria. Casos de éxito presentados en los seminarios regionales de competitividad 2005-2006, Foro Consultivo Científico y Tecnológico, A. C., Mexico City, 2008. Líderes mexicanos, special edition, year 18, vol. 150, June 2009. Loet Leydesdorff. The Knowledge-Based Economy: Modeled, Measured, Simulated, Universal Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida, 2006. López G., Julio, Evolución reciente del empleo en México, Serie Reformas Económicas, 1999, p. 40. Luebkeman, Dr. Chris. Drivers of Change 2006, ARUP, Editorial Gustavo Gili, Barcelona, 2006. Mejía Botero, Fernando, y Félix Francisco Martínez Rodríguez. Un vistazo a Enciclomedia, Centro de Estudios Educativos AC, SEP, México, 2010. National Knowledge Commission, Report to the Nation 2006-2009, Government of India, Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, March 2009. Pohjola, Matti (ed.). InformationTechnology, Productivity, and Economic Growth, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001. Promoviendo la innovación y el desarrollo tecnológico, Programa de Estímulo Fiscal, Foro Consultivo Científico y Tecnológico, A. C., Mexico City, 2008. Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic (eds.), The Endless City, The Urban Age Project by the London School of Economics and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, Phaidon, New York, 2007. Schneider, Friederich. Size and Measurement of the informal economy in 110 countries around the world, The World Bank, 2002.

Abbreviations and acronyms ANFEM: Asociación Mexicana de Facultades y Escuelas de Medicina (Mexican Association of Medical Faculties and Schools) ANUIES: Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior (National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions) ASINEA: Asociación de Instituciones de Enseñanza de la Arquitectura de la República Mexicana (Association of Educational Institutions of Architecture of the Mexican Republic)

CENEVAL: Centro Nacional de Evaluación para la Educación Superior (National Center for the Evaluation of Higher Education) CIDE: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (Center for Economic Research and Education) Colmex: Colegio de México (College of Mexico) CONACyT: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (National Council of Science and Technology) DUIS: Desarrollo Urbano Integral Sustentable (Integrated Sustainable Urban Development) ENLACE: Evaluación Nacional de Logros Académicos en Centros Escolares (National Evaluation of Academic Performance at Schools) ENSI: Encuesta Nacional sobre Inseguridad (National Survey on Insecurity) EXCALE: Exámenes para la Calidad y el Logro Educativos (Quality and Educational Achievement Tests) Ibero: Universidad Iberoamericana (Ibero-American University) ICESI: Instituto Ciudadano de Estudios sobre la Seguridad (Citizen’s Institute for Studies on Insecurity) IFAI: Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información Pública (Federal Institute for Access to Public Information) IMCO: Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (Mexican Institute for Competitiveness) IMSS: Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (Mexican Social Security Institute) INEE: Instituto Nacional para la Evaluación de la Educación (National Institute for educational evaluation) INEGI: Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (National Institute of Statistics and Geography) Infonavit: Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores (Institute of National Workers’ Housing Fund) IPN: Instituto Politécnico Nacional (National Polytechnic Institute) ISSSTE: Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado (State Employees Institute of Security and Social Services) ITAM: Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology) ITESM: Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education) LABSIG: Laboratorio de Sistemas de Información Geográfica (Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems) OECD: Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Pemex: Petróleos Mexicanos (Mexican Petroleum) PISA: Programme for International Student Assessment PUEC: Programa Universitario de Estudios sobre la Ciudad (University Program for the Study of Mexico City) PUEM: Programa Universitario de Estudios Metropolitanos (University Program for Metropolitan Studies) Secretaría de Educación (Department of Education) Secretaría de Finanzas (Department of Finance) Secretaría de Salud (Department of Health) SEDUVI: Secretaría de Desarrollo Urbano y Vivienda (Department of Housing and Urban Development) SEP: Secretaría de Educación Pública (Department of Public Education) SETRAVI: Secretaría de Transportes y Vialidad (Department of Transport and Roads) SNDIF: Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (National System for Integral Family Development) SNI: Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (National Researchers System) TOA: Taller de Operaciones Ambientales (Environmental Operations Workshop) UACM: Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México (Autonomous University of Mexico City) UAM: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Autonomous Metropolitan University) UDEFAL: Unión de Escuelas y Facultades de Arquitectura de Latinoamérica (Union of Schools and Colleges of Architecture in Latin America) UNAM: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico)

thanks to Special thanks to: Alejandra Moreno Toscano Thanks to our sponsors: GRUPO CARSO BBVA BANCOMER TELMEX CEMEX Impulsora del Desarollo y el Empleo en América Latina GRUPO ADO-Transporte Metropolitano DINA INTEL FOSTER and PARTNERS Thanks to all of the subjects of the interviews, and to the authors and researchers whose collaboration, insight and expertise made this book posible: Rubén Aguilar Monteverde Ramón Aguirre Armando Ahued Sergio Alcocer Jesús Álvarez Calderón Jaime Álvarez Gallegos Sergio Aníbal Jaime Arceo Carmen Aristegui René Asomoza Palacios Paula Astorga Klaus Boker Leticia Bonifaz David Calderón Jesús Calvo Areli Carreón Mario Carrillo Jorge Carvajal Luis Felipe Castro Elena Cepeda de León Alfonso Chávez Rosalba Cruz Nigel Dancey Alejandro del Valle Mario Delgado Martha Delgado Ignacio Deschamps Arturo Dib Kuri Liliana Domínguez René Drucker Fernando Esponda Guillermo Fernández de la Garza Enrique Fernández Fassnacht José Luis Fernández Zayas Julieta Fierro Horacio Franco Germán Freiberg Fernando Gabilondo Pablo Galván Téllez Dalia García Gonzalo García Juan José García Ochoa Gustavo Garza Javier Gavito Mohar Daniel Gershenson Aurora Gómez Galvarrito Rogelio Gómez Hermosillo Gabriella Gómez-Mont Enrique Graue Blanca Heredia Rubén Illoldi Mercedes Juan López Arnoldo Kraus Peter Krieger Armando Laborde Juan Pedro Laclette Felipe Leal Juan López de Silanes Carlos Márquez Rosa Márquez Antonio Martínez Ríos Ricardo Mateu Fernando Mejía Botero Julio G. Mendoza Álvarez Fernando Menéndez Lorenzo Meyer Alejandro Mohar Betancourt Mario Molina Ariadna Montiel José Morales Orozco Carlos Muñoz Izquierdo Michell Nader José Narro Robles Esther Orozco Scott Overson Jaime Parada Octavio Paredes López Sam Pitroda Julio César Cu Leonardo Ríos Guerrero Rodrigo Rivero Lake Gabriela Rodríguez Alejandro Rojas Betsabee Romero Enrique Ruelas Barajas Manuel Ruiz de Chávez Carlos Sainz Ricardo Samaniego Beatriz Sánchez Lucrecia Santibáñez Martha Schteingart Elvira Schwansee Marinela Servitje Enrique Simón Rueda René Solís Brun Julio Sotelo Jorge Tamés y Batta Gabriel Quadri Jaime Uribe de la Mora Misael Uribe Laura Velázquez Alzúa Jorge Villalobos Víctor Zavala Special thanks for photography, artist’s renderings and other artwork and support is due to: Telmex Grupo Carso CEMEX DINA BBVA Bancomer Azcania El palacio de Minería Impulsora del Desarollo y el Empleo en América Latina Foster and Partners Papalote: Museo del Niño Taller de Operaciones Ambientales (TOA) Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud Hospital ABC Instituto de Astronomía UNAM


was printed in May 2011. Fonts used were the ITC Conduit Std and Emona and their entire families. The book was printed on matte art paper 150 g/m2 in its interior and lining and includes matte coated guards at 250 g/m2


Tel: +52 (55) 5264-6235

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