The land on which Mexico City’s new airport was to have been located could become the world’s largest urban park, a 35,000-hectare space designed by Mexican architect Iñaki Echeverría.
National Water Commission (Conagua) director Blanca Jiménez Cisneros has proposed implementing the architect’s plan for an ecological park in attempt to replenish the Valley of Mexico’s water supply and vegetation.
Echeverría, a faculty member at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, originally designed the Lake Texcoco ecological park in 2010 as part of a plan to develop and restore 14,000 hectares of the seasonally dry lakebed.
Four years later, former President Peña Nieto’s plans for a new airport sidelined the project, and only a few hectares of recreational areas were developed and opened to the public in 2016.
Following the promise by President López Obrador to cancel the new airport, Echeverría submitted his design for the ecological park to the new administration as an alternativee plan for the area’s development.
The park’s design includes a strong environmental focus that Echeverría dubs “cultural ecology:” the architect’s proposal includes plans for massive reforestation, the reintroduction of native plant and animal species and restoration of the lake to prevent flooding in Mexico City and México state.
The 2010 proposal states that the park was originally envisioned as a “soft ecological boundary” in the face of population explosions from the 1950s until the present, which have transformed the Valley of Mexico’s geography into dense urban spaces.
“The objective is to reclaim this area as the valley’s most important piece of green infrastructure. This infrastructure will be capable of reconciling the city with its geography.”
If built, the Lake Texcoco park would also include areas for water sports, sailing, biking and hiking and a museum suspended above Lake Nabor Carrillo.
It remains to be decided what will become of the partially-built structures at the site of the cancelled airport. According to the law, such projects must restore the site to its original condition.