© GIZ / Josafat de la Toba


Mexico: joining forces to make cities greener

In Mexico’s coastal regions, residents design their own urban districts. The aim: healthy cities with a high quality of life for everyone.

Around 108 million people in Mexico live in cities – that is more than 80 per cent of the total population. Located in the southern tip of the state of Baja California Sur, San José del Cabo is one of the fastest-growing cities in the whole of Mexico. Its urban infrastructure is focused almost entirely on hotel facilities and other tourist areas along the coast. Public spaces and green areas for the city’s residents, however, are few and far between. Their benefits would be manifold: as protection against flooding, as respite during heat waves and dry periods, and as recreational areas, especially in socially disadvantaged districts.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is working to ensure people in San José del Cabo live in healthy surroundings. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ supports the city in designing public spaces and green areas that are adapted to local climate conditions and suitable as communal spaces. The wishes and needs of local residents play an important role in this context.

As part of the project, more than 200 trees have already been planted in a public park in San José del Cabo, a botanical garden has been created and small water reservoirs installed to collect and store precious rainwater. Close to 200 of the city’s residents volunteered to help in the project. They conveyed the community’s wishes and ideas as to how the park should be redesigned. Beatriz Gonzalez was one of the many helping hands: ‘I come to the park quite often, that’s why it’s important to me that it should be a nice place for everyone.’

Similar to the initiative in San José del Cabo, the project seeks to develop measures in another two of Mexico’s coastal regions in a bid to protect urban ecosystems while increasing the quality of life of local residents. The objective is to revitalise and protect a total of 30,000 hectares by 2024, always in close dialogue with local communities so their needs and ideas are taken into account.

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