The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

Alameda Central

Mexico City

Mexico

Contributed by 
Julia De Martini Day
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
January 30, 2006
December 14, 2017

A place where people can relax and enjoy the energy of Mexico City without being overwhelmed by it.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Walking through the bustling streets of Mexico City can be an intimidating experience. Alameda Central is a safe haven where people can relax and enjoy the city's energy without being overwhelmed by it.

Access & Linkages

The diverse activities at the park's wide entrances, ranging from Mexican folk concerts and dance events to crafts' and food markets, draw people in from the sidewalks and the nearby museum, Palacio Bellas Artes. Inside the park, food vendors line the wide, paved walkways that cross the park and intersect at a pavillion in the middle. The park is near the center of the city and is accessible by the metro, buses and walking.

Comfort & Image

Couples displaying affection, old people sitting on benches, and kids running around lead the park to feel safe and comfortable. Curved, stone benches, both in the sun and shaded by trees, encirlce the gazebo in the center of the park and allow people to chat, observe dance classes and musicians performing in the middle, or watch pedestrian and car traffic pass by on Avenida Juarez.

Uses & Activities

Activities ranged from couples cuddling on benches and in the grass to musicians performing different types of music at opposite ends of the park to people participating in a dance class. Old and young people utilized the variety of seating options, which ranged from conventional benches to more creative trees-as-back-rests in the grass, to enjoy the diverse aspects of the park.

Sociability

The park has a calm atmosphere and people sitting alone, with their partners, or with groups of young friends all seemed to have come to the park to relax in a social environment.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

The Alameda Central began as an Aztec marketplace in the capital city of Tenochtitlan, founded in around 1345. By the mid-1500s under the conquistadors the central location was used to burn heretics at the stake under the Spanish Inquisition. In 1592, the governor of New Spain, Viceroy Luis de Velasco converted the Alameda into a public park and the marshy lands were drained and filled and planted with Poplar trees (Alamos). The park became a popular meeting ground for Spanish new society, and was the site of duels, courting and lively conversation. However, surrounded by a wrought iron fence the park still remained off limits to the general populace.

It was only after Mexican independence and the park was opened to the public that the Alameda Centrale achieved its present day incarnation as a gathering spot for diverse social groups. As modern Mexico CityÍs largest central park, the Alameda hosts a wide cast of characters including performers, candy sellers, shoe shiners, strollers, organ grinders, pick-nickers, school children, lovers and concert-goers. A downtown oasis of green, the park is surrounded by colonial mansions, cafes, restaurants, retail shops, skyscrapers and museums. Statuary and fountains embellish the landscape, including the famed Juarez Monument, commonly called the Hemiciclo (hemicycle or half-circle). The nearby Museo Mural Diego Rivera houses Diego RiveraÍs SueÕ±o de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda' (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park), a huge mural painted in 1947 depicting the artistÍs impressions of the cityÍs beloved park.

Related Links & Sources

Alameda Central
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Alameda Central

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

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