Transforming Communities in Mexico with Transit-Oriented Development
EMBARQ Mexico signed a Memorandum of Understanding on February 28 with Casas GEO, the leading private housing developer in Mexico and one of the largest in Latin America, to incorporate sustainability criteria into its development plans.
The aim is to work initially in three housing developments, with the option to extend to five, to incorporate concepts of the Transport-Oriented Urban Development (DOTS) concept and methodology that EMBARQ Mexico adapted to the Mexican context two years ago, with support from the British Embassy in Mexico and the World Bank.
This model of development prioritizes pedestrians and cyclists, and the recovery of green areas for people. It also highlights the issue of road safety within these communities.
This work to create vibrant, sustainable and safe communities is in line with EMBARQ Mexico's commitment to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, a global movement that seeks to reduce and prevent road traffic crashes, which kill an estimated 1.2 million people worldwide each year.
The ceremony to sign the agreement between Casas GEO and EMBARQ Mexico was attended by Luis Orvananos Lascurain, president and director of Casas GEO, and Victor Manuel Borras, director of INFONAVIT, Mexico's biggest mortgage lender.
EMBARQ Mexico Director Adriana Lobo said that one of the serious problems in the field of urban development in Mexico is the concentration of commercial areas and their lack of connectivity to public transport
"We should decentralize employment areas," she said. "Either we decrease the number of trips, or we build housing developments closer to working centers, or we offer high quality transport connectivity."
EMBARQ Mexico Deputy Director Salvador Herrera said that "while progress has been made on elements of sustainability, such as the use of environmental technologies, there is much to be done regarding mobility."
In Mexico, plans to increase vehicle ownership and use are very popular, even though only 30 percent of people who live in low-income housing developments have the resources to own a car.
Herrera added that a sustainable model is economically viable: a 5,000-house residential development costs about 700 million dollars and could save between 10 percent and 15 percent of the costs to expand the road network.
During the ceremony, British Ambassador to Mexico Judith Macgregor presented, through a video, her government's interest in investing to improve quality of life in developing countries. She emphasized the need to share knowledge and build relationships between foreign governments and private enterprises.
A version of this article originally appeared in Spanish on embarqmexico.org.