Metropolitan Reform in Mexico: Some Key Ideas

Mexico city

City Profile:

Mexico City is the capital of Mexico.  According to the most recent definition agreed upon by the federal and state governments, the population is 21.2 million people, making it the largest metropolitan area of the world's western hemisphere and both the tenth-largest agglomeration and largest Spanish-Speaking city in the world. The city is responsible for generating 15.8% of Mexico's Gross Domestic Product and the metropolitan area accounted for about 22% of total national GDP.

Ciudad de Mexico



Alfonso Iracheta is Coordinator of the Program for Urban and Environmental Studies at the Colegio Mexiquense. He holds a Masters Degree in regional planning from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D. in geography and regional studies from the University of Varsovia. He is currently Director of the Interdisciplinary Program of Urban and Environmental Studies at the Colegio Mexiquense, the National Coordinator of the Mexican Network of Cities towards Sustainability, and Coordinator of the Permanent Committee of the National Congress of Urban Land. Iracheta is a level II researcher of the National System of Researchers, focused on issues of national and international metropolitan development, land, and urban and environmental development. He was previously President of the Colegio Mexiquense and Founding Coordinator of the UN-Habitat office in Mexico.


Continued and rapid urbanization in Mexico is creating larger and more spread out cities. Neither the spatial/urban planning system nor the administrative structures in any of the three tiers of the Mexican government have assumed their responsibilities for planning and governing them from a comprehensive governance approach. The case of the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico (MAVM) stands out for its fragmented and sectoral features, which have made it enormously difficult to define and execute a long-term metropolitan vision. And yet the city works! But how is it working? Does it offer reasonable conditions for comprehensive development and sustainable environment? The answer is no, as the positive conditions it has to offer diminish, and the simple problems disproportionately grow. It raises some key questions: why is metropolitan governance is so important for national and local security and development, and what are the key proposals to move from metropolitan crisis to successful metropolitan governance? This chapter provides some answers and advocates for the importance of metropolitan governance and the need for a long-lasting and effective urban reform in Mexico as well as a metropolitan strategy for MAVM.