27 May 2010

Zócalo 11 de Julio | Shanghai or Tijuana?

These Shanghai postcard knockoffs are actually mock-ups of Zócalo 11 de Julio, a 10-acre, $100 million project alongside Tijuana city hall that would include an outdoor area for 35,000 people, an 11-story tower that houses a public library and a three-level parking lot. Penning the design is 7XA Arquitectos, a Monterrey firm run by architects Angel López and Carlos Ortiz.

Private investors are footing 70 percent of the bill; the government's taking care of the difference. Construction, which began in November 2009, is expected to take four years.

Some Tijuanenses are all for it because public green space is minimal and the city lacks a proper zocalo, a central plaza area common to Mexican cities. Others say the money should be spent on, oh, filling all the potholes. Also, some 20 people have been camping outside city hall for about two months, protesting the removal of some 900 trees despite the fact that they'll supposedly be replaced by 1,200.

More here.


The Real Tijuana said...

The zócalo is more of a Mexica phenomenon found in the colonial part of Mexico. Here in the north we tend to have an unpretentious central park, a block square containing shrubbery and a disused bandstand. Tijuana's is called Parque Teniente Guerrero.

Our zócalo project is disturbing in that it is being promoted by the Catholic Church and the extreme right. As you can see from the drawings, their architectural taste is both pompous and appalling, a huge sweeping mall of concrete leading from the center of political power to the new Catholic cathedral. Most of Tijuana stands on the sidelines, watching aghast as this monstrosity takes shape. Not unlike the baseball stadium that went up in San Diego recently.

The loss of the trees in the present greensward will be as if all of Balboa Park were razed overnight. Tijuana exists in a desert and has never wasted water attempting to look like New England, so what few trees we have will be sorely missed. These are forty-year-old trees with extremely deep root systems, so don't expect transplantation. As to the twelve hundred trees that are supposed to replace them, how many do you see in those architectural drawings?

The folks who have been camping outside city hall have been there now for a lot longer than two months. They might have started in January or even earlier. You have to give them credit for their tenacity. And the scary part is when you talk to them -- because they're not crazy. They hand out flyers describing the ecological aspects of the trees marked for destruction; the language is sober but the flyer begins by saying "Protect me! The government/clergy/oligarchy want to cut me down!"

An accurate choice of words because our government currently is clerical and almost always has been oligarchic.

Normally one expects the reactionaries to oppose change but in this case the reactionaries are fomenting it. As Edward Abbey once said, "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

Anonymous said...

Great project for tijuaan!