Mérida City Council reviews plans to control a fast-growing city

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City sprawl should be stemmed to control Mérida’s growth, the mayor told City Council. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán — The city has grown 200 percent in 25 years. So what about the next 23?

Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal on Friday presented the Municipal Program of Urban Development of Mérida 2040.

The plan has been in the works for a long time, and even included a trip to Cambridge, Mass., where the mayor met with Harvard students to discuss ideas.

The program aims to halt Mérida’s urban sprawl by encouraging growth within the ring of the Pereferíco, the highway that circles the majority of the city. That is where public services already exist, and there are still 1,700 unoccupied hectares.

In past decades, the city has accommodated a growing population by annexing land and approving subdivisions. But more centrally located vertical housing would be key to concentrating future generations where there are already paved roads, water lines, street lights and police patrols, the mayor said.

By the numbers

    • The number of homes has risen from 120,000 to 323,000 in the last few decades, and there are approximately 40,000 uninhabited homes within the periphery.
    • In 2003 there were 120,000 cars, in the city. Ten years later, there were 330,000. Today, the city estimates that number is close to 530,000.
    • In Merida there are six square meters of tree cover per inhabitant. The World Health Organization recommends nine square meters per inhabitant.
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