Mexican Cities Initiative

Eastern Mexico City

The Mexican Cities Initiative (MCI) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design is an emerging platform for experimental ideas and actionable knowledge to help guide the transformation of Mexico’s complex urban landscapes over the next decades. The MCI supports a public archive of Mexico-based research conducted at the GSD and elsewhere, a network of partnerships in and beyond Mexico, and an annual summer fellowship for innovative student research.

MCI’s student research components, though highly varied, broadly fall into seven categories: urban vulnerabilities, innovations in everyday urbanism, new forms of urban practice, alternative urban features, rethinking scales of knowledge, contested geographies, and historicizing the urban fabric. Particular projects range from the regional scale – as in The Borderless Workshop’s rethinking of the US-Mexico border – to the hyper-local diagramming of Mexico City’s edge conditions.

The MCI Summer Research Fellows explore themes of risk, resilience, and everyday urbanism. Through fellows’ specific research projects, MCI pushes the bounds of design research methodologies, emphasizing the role of material culture, activist research, and urban pedagogy.

MCI is building a platform to strengthen urban research connections between actors and institutions already involved in novel or precedent-setting initiatives in Mexico and GSD students who propose new projects through MCI. Drawing on the MCI’s strong community of design alumni working in and around Mexican cities, students learn from and expand their collaborative networks with an array of urban innovators now in Mexico, thus helping to generate a more vibrant, transnational community of design activists capable of bridging the worlds of theory and practice.

Link: Project Website
Sponsor: Mr. Rolando Uziel, a GSD Alumni
Date: 2014–ongoing