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In Mexico, a City's Scar Becomes its Most Prized Park

In Mexico, a City's Scar Becomes its Most Prized Park | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Many good things are happening along a sliver of land that cuts through a crowded corner of Aguascalientes, a city of 1.3 million people. Fields strewn with garbage and a haven for criminals, followed the narrow path of an underground oil pipeline that traverses one impoverished neighborhood after another. In the past three years, the city has reclaimed almost all of this passage for the 300,000 people who live near it. The result is a 7.5 mile linear park that is one of Latin America’s most extraordinary urban green spaces: La Línea Verde  The Green Line."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The term "LULU" for city planners stands for local unwanted land use.  LULUs are necessary (prisons, landfills etc.) to the society at large but nobody wants to be close to the negative and undesirable aspects they bring to a community ("NIMBY"-not in my backyard).  Consequently, LULUs are usually concentrated in poorer neighborhoods with limited political capital and disproportionately bear the localized burdens of these sites.  Inspired by the urban transformations in Curitiba Brazil (see this TED talk from Jaime Lerner of Curitiba discussing sustainable urbanism), this is a great example of how an urban renewal project that was able to mitigate the negatives and even make a LULU a positive for a community. 

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Alec Castagno's curator insight, October 3, 2014 1:45 PM

This article illustrates how urban renewal can be carried out without the negative effects usually associated with gentrification. The local government did this by working directly with the residents to ensure the improvements made directly reflect the needs and desires of the people that live there. It led to an improved area that not only provided activities and facilities for the locals but helped reduce the criminals and other unsavory characters that frequented the areas before. As the mayor in the article states, the park worked so much better than the common "policy of more cops and guns".

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 16, 2014 9:20 PM

This article starts off with a story about a four year old girl named Jessica Lopez. Jessica has suffered severe asthma attacks since she was born. Her condition always worsened in the fall, due to  dust rising up from the abandoned fields that bordered her family’s one-room house. Last year, city officials turned the dusty fields next to her house into a beautiful park with trails, playgrounds and shaded pavilions. Oddly enough, Jessica's asthma did not come back that fall. Her mom insists that the creation of this parked saved her life and I couldn't agree more. Most of the pollution and dust were taken out of the environment, thus making it easier for Jessica to breathe. Jessica is just one person that got help out of this. However, the amount of people in that area is equivalent to about 1.3 million. It has to have helped millions of other people as well. The park's lawn are kept nice and green and watered. Solar powered lamps are used to light the park up at night and the park is a great afternoon spot for children and their families.

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, February 12, 6:44 PM

Personally, I love stories like this.  These people took something that wasn't doing anyone any good, and was just sitting there, and turned it into something that brought the community together.  This park brought life to a poor area, even though they really didn't have the means or the money to do so.  However, this park can have so many benefits, and it can become an outlet.  It can lower crime rates, promote health, bring in people from other cities, etc.

Geography Education
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Curated by Seth Dixon