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Case Studies 

The Zocalo



Contributed by 
Jonathan Losee
Project for Public Spaces
January 27, 2010
December 14, 2017

A city square containing restaurants, vendors and live events. URLS: http://www.planeta.com/ecotravel/mexico/oaxaca/oaxacacityzocalo.html

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

The Zocalo is lined on 3 sides with loggia-type restaurants, a bandstand, vivd lighting and has loads and loads of things to do, see, eat, and hear. A great garbage collection program and manual street sweepers with giant brooms help keep the area very clean. The square is filled year-round with buskers, marimba bands, and other live music acts. Beautiful giant trees run through out the square and offer visitors shade. Everyone runs beneath the loggias during brief rain storms. It is a very happy place to be.

Access & Linkages

The plaza serves as the main anchor for a pedestrian loop that can be followed around a wide are, connecting the main Cathedral plaza to the main restaurant plaza. All along the way shops, beggars and small markets enliven the place.

Comfort & Image

Lots and lots of garbage containers help keep the park extremely clean. No cars are allowed in the square! Beautiful park benches and seating-height walls throughout the park encourage people to stop and sit. The square is easy to enter and comfortable to navigate.

Uses & Activities

The square is filled with restaurants, shoeshine stands, buskers, vendors, balloon sellers and is generally very active. It is self-policed by the business owners and visitors alike. People relax, eat, play games and take in live music.


People are happy to be there whether they are eating, resting, or simply people watching. There is always a good mix of locals and people from out-of-town. It is a major meeting place in the City. As a place of festivals and demonstrations, it is THE place to be in Oaxaca.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

The Zocalo
The Zocalo
The Zocalo
The Zocalo
The Zocalo
The Zocalo
The Zocalo
The Zocalo

*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.


Corrections or additions? Email info@pps.org
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