Monterrey, a Mexican City and Landscape in Transformation: Three Rivers, One Region

Monterrey, a Mexican City and Landscape in Transformation: Three Rivers, One Region. OUTLOOKMonterrey is located in the north east region of the country and is Mexico\’s third largest city. A Metropolitan Area of approximately five million people, which has grown at an intensive rate in the last thirty years. The economic base of the city has been the steel and metal industry as well as beer, which evolved into a solid glass and packaging industry. Today, Monterrey is one of Mexico\’s more dynamic economic and cultural centers; a complex metropolis with a diversified economy complementing the industrial base with a strong tertiary sector of services and several universities. SETTINGThe geographical setting of Monterrey creates a landscape situated between the Eastern Sierra Madre and the plains in a semidesert environment. The Sierra creates a magnificent background for the city; a limit, a wall, as well as the originator of a complex system of rivers and creeks. The city originated between these seasonal rivers, the Santa Catarina and the Topochico. The intensity of a rapid urbanization, as well as a lack of understanding and sensibility for its setting have traditionally ignored those natural features, either as landscapes of potential green beauty; as ecological resources for water, plants and fauna; as form givers and organizers for the city or as possible public open space corridors and connectors to the Sierra. VISIONTraditionally, planning in Monterrey has been looking at land use controls and change, and circulation and traffic arteries as structural elements of the city as well as infrastructures of services to the industrial base. The new planning authorities at the state and city level want to reverse this erosive trend of relationship with its rivers and mountains, with its regional landscape. Starting from the need to plan from the origin of these natural features by creating a system of linear parks and corridors. The effort is phenomenal, since it has to be initiated at the level education, reversing a cultural pattern of alienation to the regional landscape as nature and culture. CHALLENGEThe Monterrey Studio will look at a dynamic city in continuous and rapid evolution. It\’s setting, region, history and culture, with particular emphasis on the hydraulic aspects. It will deal with three rivers, of different character, location and urban or natural condition. The Santa Catarina, which crosses the city from north to south, including a portion at the urban center, an urban swath without character, bordered by high speed arteries; the Arroyo Topochico, which crosses part of urban, residential and industrial areas an still maintains its natural character within part of the metropolis, and the San Pedro River, still in its natural state bordering the city on the north side. The Challenge of the Studio will be to look at these natural features as possible elements to propose a way to reorganize the structural landscape of the city, and to develop at the design level portions with visions and possibilities of urban and natural settings. APPLICABILITYThe Monterrey Studio is the possibility to look at rapid growing cities within the context of rapidly developing economies and sensitive environments. There can be similarities between Monterrey and other regions of the world in similar developmental conditions such as China, Northern Eastern Europe or Latin America. STUDIO DEVELOPMENTThe Studio will initiate with a visit to the Metropolitan Area of Monterrey and its region, including a visit to the Canyons of the Sierra Madre Oriental. There will be a series of meetings and discussions with authorities, natural scientists, architects and urbanists as well as ecological or social organizations. The base maps, and information will be provided by the State Planning Authorities of Nuevo Leon. The Authorities will closely follow up the