Redevelopment of an urban area in Monterrey, Mexico
Ransom, Harry S.
Master of Architecture
The disordered and deficient growth of Latin American cities, fundamentally provoked by intense migratory influx and a lack of realistic planning, justifies reconsideration of the premises and goals of technical plans which are being developed for many of these cities. The most pressing necessities facing Latin American cities in the near future ought to be given priority in an objective hierarchy of both short range and long range needs of the population of these cities. The conditions under which new immigrants and poor people live in these cities requires the immediate attention of planners and policy level governmental officials. The plans they make and the priorities they set should be addressed to the problems which the people themselves indicate are most pressing. Planning and governmental action to solve these immediate problems should be related to long range programs which are designed gradually to upgrade the quality of life in cities. This study focuses on a slum neighborhood in a typical Latin American city, Monterrey, Mexico. The study addresses itself to the problems of one neighborhood in the overall context of city wide planning. A central purpose of the study is to compare the immediate problems of a typical poverty neighborhood (as expressed by the people in the neighborhood and my own observations) to an overall plan for the city recently developed by the Monterrey City Planning Department. Another objective is to compare my own ideas for redeveloping the neighborhood with those of the city master plan, on the one hand, and what I learned about needs from neighborhood residents, on the other. My purpose is to lay the ground work for a redevelopment plan that is realistic in the short run and feasible in the long run. The Comprehensive Plan for Monterrey has not been officially adopted by local authorities. Once the plan is adopted, actual implementation would require a housing code, land control, specific exercise of power of eminent domain and other legal instruments, as well as the appropriation of resources for both short range and long range follow through. However, is the conclusion of this study that no such actions should be taken until modifications are made in the present Plan which take into consideration the needs and desires of the people who live in the community, because most of them are in such precarious circumstances that disturbing them would require prior planning involving rehousing, relocation, or some other specific form of assistance.