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From the Top Down: The Governance of Urban Development in Mexico

June 20 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Although efforts were made to decentralize in Mexico during the late 20th century, federal and state-level policy has continued to supersede local governance. Local governments in Mexico have limited financial and institutional capacities and are seldom able to guide urban development and construction processes, for example.

The result of this top down approach has sometimes been sprawling and unsustainable development patterns, particularly during the 2000s, when federal and several state governments backed large, peripheral housing developments. These developments placed a burden on local governments to provide adequate levels of infrastructure and services. More recently, however, the federal administration advocated for densification strategies, including the implementation of Urban Growth Boundaries in almost 400 Mexican towns with over 15,000 inhabitants.

On June 20, 2019, IMFG Post-Doctoral Fellow Alejandra Reyes highlighted the experience of some of Mexico’s largest cities in the implementation of nationally mandated urban growth policies. In so doing, she also shed light on a particular challenge for Mexico’s large urban areas: the fragmented governance of Mexico’s metropolitan areas, which are often composed of disparate municipalities.

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Alejandra Reyes is the 2018-2019 Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance. She received her BA in Architecture at UC Berkeley and an MS and PhD in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin. Her academic interests lie at the intersection of housing and urban development, policy and governance, and socioeconomic disparities.


June 20
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, Room 208N
1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada


Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance