TAAU explore conceptual realities in effort to stimulate action in Guadalajara, Mexico
The first response to a brief calling for ‘alternative realities’ for the Atemajac Valley, the area where Guadalajara (the second largest city in Mexico) settled in 1542, was to define the point where the urban growth of the historic city was organically capable of accommodating the new conditions its population demanded.
Accordingly, the following question arose: how would a city of 4.5 million inhabitants like Guadalajara be today if the sprawl that it experienced during the 20th century was replaced with a growth that took into account today’s concerns towards more efficient, compact and environmentally sound urban settlements?
Through a general conceptual platform defined as Intensity Based Planning and Design (IBPD), the master plan started with the definition of a Territorial Aptitude Map that translated specific spatial conditions prevailing in the valley during the first 350 years of existence of Guadalajara, and that were erased or severely changed during the last century; topography, connectivity, centrality, wetlands, water bodies, natural reserves, etc.
With the deployment of additional IBPD tools, this mapping lead to the definition of the urban reserve as well as the footprint of the masterplan, coded with criteria such as density range, type of urban block and hierarchical allocation of public space. The overall scheme at the scale of the city preserves the historic cores of the late 19th century and configures urban sub-centres around the main existing water bodies.
Even though the masterplan is not meant as an end result or fixed vision for Guadalajara, but as a tool that could stimulate action and negotiation between actors, the resulting urban tissue exceeds a population of 4.5 million while occupying only 42% of its current footprint, including vast green areas, corridors and linear parks along the natural system of streams that once existed in the Atemajac Valley.