Alternative Futures for Tepotzotlan, Mexico

Alternative Futures for Tepotzotlan, MexicoPlease note that the lottery for this option studio has already occurred. The studio focus on the municipality of Tepotzotlan, which is part of the Mexico City metropolitan area. We will be working in collaboration with a faculty/student team from the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana (UAM) and with the full cooperation of the municipal government.Tepotzotlan is a municipality at the northern edge of what may be the largest city in the world. It is facing enormous development pressures, as it is on the main highway to the north of Mexico. It has, and is surrounded by, considerable amounts of \”social housing\” and distribution warehouses. There are increasing amounts of \”informal housing.\” The untreated sewage of the entire Mexico City area flows via Tepotzotlan, some in canals and some in a broken pipe system under Tepotzotlan. Yet the municipality retains the character of a group of relatively small settlements, with some agriculture and large adjacent national forest lands.The main attraction of the town of Tepotzotlan is the church and monastery of St. Francis Xavier, founded in 1584. This extraordinary complex is now the national museum of colonial art, and a major Mexican tourist attraction. The sponsor, FUNDEA, is the leading Mexican environmentally oriented NGO. It has a large landholding in the municipality, and this area is partly developed and operated as an environmental-education park. Tepotzotlan has been identified by the Mexican Ministry of Tourism as 1 of 10 national priority areas for tourism development.Thus the several potential conflicts needing resolution….housing? distribution? sewage treatment? tourism? conservation? recreation?…and all in a rapidly changing, environmentally degraded, politically complex, and relatively poor economy. There are issues and \”projects\” ranging from metropolitan-regional to very detailed scales…..and the need to play a constructive part in helping the municipality to shape its future.The site visit will be from September 2 through 12, 2004. We all will live at the FUNDEA complex in Tepotzotlan. There will be an intensive agenda that will include an orientation to the metropolitan region, and considerable activities \”on site.\”