architecture / design / art / music / culture

informal typologies

1 / “colonias populares” 

2 / ejido development 

3 / chinampa development 

4 / “mancha hormiga” 

5 / traditional slums 

6 / mancha colina

manchas colinas

is the illegal settlement of the hills at the Western edge of the city, which are not typically suitable of construction. these settlements conform to the existing topographical morphologies of the landscape. 

chinampa development

is the illegal development of agricultural land that was originally developed following early Aztec farming methods. the majority of the existing chinampas are located within conservation areas, which prohibits urbanization; however in recent years informal settlements have been pushed to the urban periphery, which often includes conservation land. 

traditional slums

is the bottom-up illegal inhabitation of marginal areas within the city or along its periphery. it does not follow an inherently mexican pattern, but follows much more the global phenomenon of urban slums. in mexico city, these are generally newer and appear primarily in proximity of the existing “colonias populares.” 


"colonias populares"

are the most significant form of informality, due to the numbers they house, their age, and their proximity to the city center. during a significant housing shortage in mid 1900’s, private developers illegally divided and sold marginal land prone to flooding. in recent years these have been significantly upgraded and much of the land tenure has been regularized. 

ejido development

is the illegal development of government sponsored ejido land, which is established as part of an agriculturally oriented communal land sharing system rooted in early Aztec society. in recent years this land is being illegally converted from publicly to privately held by wealthy developers who have invented an informality for the city’s wealthy elite. 

"mancha hormiga"

is a term used to describe “ant-like sprawl,” which is the illegal settlement of land within conservation lands which occurs in smaller entities, often emerging from the urbanization of early agricultural communities. this is commonly the result of a rural-urban migration and includes communities of less than 100 people, but these are rapidly growing and spreading.