Grain Collective: Throughout the country of Mexico, people are fighting for traffic safety from the ground up. According to the World Health Organization, Mexico has the 7th deadliest streets in the world. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among residents aged 5 to 29. Rapid growth has resulted in a sprawl of roads and private development that turn their back on pedestrian mobility. Those who cannot afford private vehicles are bound to navigate dangerous pedestrian conditions. The residual islands of abandon, inactive public space and fragmented communities impede resident’s safety and discourage a low impact, active lifestyle.
The city of San Pedro wants to change this. In 2013, community members and local stakeholders created Distrito Valle del Campestre (DVC), a community-led organization that aims to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in the district. Led by Capital Natural (CN), Distrito Valle del Campestre initiated a series of urban and mobility studies with the mentorship of Mobility in Chain (MIC), Sasaki and Dennis Frenchman; along with the participation of neighbourhood councils, local schools, NGO’s, property owners and government officials. As an outcome of these studies, DVC obtained a Sustainable Mobility Masterplan that consists of four main pillars: maintain the residential character of the area, improve mobility and safety for all, ameliorate the street network’s connectivity and increase public green spaces.
DVC continued to collaborate with landscape and urban designers, mobility and traffic engineers, local government, public service agencies, private developers, environmental groups and community residents. In 2014 DVC hired Grain Collective (GC) to advance this vision into a landscape masterplan. GC led this diverse group through over 200 hours of meetings; empowering, engaging and activating stakeholders in shaping their social and ecological environment. Carving out pedestrian space from the municipal realm was only the first step. Grain Collective team helped facilitate a cultural shift between private landowners and public agencies to see the streetscape, and its associated greenspace, as a centrally valuable asset. Easements from private landowners and over 3000 hours of talking and design work culminated in the birth of a public/private partnership that enables a network of pedestrian greenways to stitch the community back together and strengthen environmental, cultural and economic resources.
This new vision emphasizes pedestrian safety while prioritizing community building, education and environmental resiliency. The master plan proposes a series of pedestrian corridors that connect residential and commercial areas, link fragmented green spaces and calm traffic. DVC aims to build spaces that make people love their city by providing a calm continuous network full of choice to pedestrians. Larger greenspaces were identified to punctuate pedestrian corridors with pocket parks, activity nodes and gathering spaces.
The final implemented plan will provide a host of environmental services for the ecological economy, reducing flood damage and air pollution by incorporating green infrastructure, expanding habitat corridors and addressing stormwater management through urban day-lighting. A series of pocket parks, greenways and educational nodes will promote opportunities for outdoor activity and bridge the knowledge gap between community members and their local environment.
The Sustainable Mobility Masterplan was made possible by facilitating a cultural shift between private landowners and public agencies. Together they have embraced the public streetscape as a centrally valuable asset in economic, social and cultural terms. This innovative private/public partnership was forged by the community to benefit the community.
Short office name: Grain Collective
Role of the office in the project: Landscape Architect
Client: Capital Natural
Project location: Monterrey, Mexico
Project Area: 6.5 km streetscape | 4 acre park
Project Scope: Landscape Master Plan | Detail Design
Project Status: In progress
Capital Natural | Distrito Valle del Campestre | Grain Collective | Ecotono Urbano | MIC | Arista