Transforming the low-income housing development paradigm

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Transforming the low-income housing development paradigm

Mexico
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The city of Aguascalientes is confronting XXI century challenges such as sprawl, inefficient transportation and high fatality and injury rates from traffic accidents. To face this, the Mayor requested our help to transform “Centenario de la Revolución”, a low-income housing development for 40,000 residents.

We promote mixed land use policies to create proximity to services, improved conditions for pedestrians and cyclists as well as added connections to high quality public transportation. Our recommendations included more commercial lots, higher density, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, more public spaces, better parking distributions, a pedestrian street and public transportation connections. By September 2010, the government had accommodated around 70% of the recommendations.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

•Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in Mexico between the ages of 5-29; claiming 24,000 deaths and 700,000 injuries annually. About 50% of these are pedestrians and cyclists and can be mitigated by building safe streets. •Mexico has the most overweight population in the world -70% of Mexicans- and leads to fatal chronic diseases. Dangerous streets contribute to less physical activity from mobility. •Increasingly aggressive streetscapes have alienated the population, favoring inequality, insecurity and other negative trends. •Transportation is responsible for 18% of all CO2 emissions, and 2/3 of GHG; non motorized mobility is important for environmental mitigation.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The current pattern of urban development in Mexico pushes the poorest the farthest, creating long and costly commutes that affect their quality of life. These low-income communities have an unequal distribution of land: too many roads, not enough public spaces and small homes –many of which are abandoned- in isolated communities. To change this, CTS-Mexico has adapted an urban model called Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) to Mexico. TOD refers to a set of urban development principles such as high density and accessibility to transportation that when implemented together create compact, walkable communities organized around high-quality rapid transit systems. TOD seeks to integrate transport and urban development so as to promote people-friendly communities that are environmentally sustainable, economically profitable and create high quality of life. TOD is a cutting-edge, comprehensive approach to development that has not yet enjoyed widespread application. By applying TOD concepts to “Centenario de la Revolución”, we promote places that offer their residents not only a home, but a community. Our recommendations include 4 times more commercial lots, higher density including 12 buildings, wider sidewalks, 9 kilometers of bike lanes, 25% more public space, better parking distributions; 23,000 square meters of pedestrian streets and better public transportation connections.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We have successfully modified the executive blueprints of this 40,000 unit low-income home development to include Transit-Oriented Development criteria. The municipal government changed the executive plans to accommodate around 70% of CTS-Mexico´s recommendations including those coming from a traffic safety audit. Pedestrians & cyclists will now enjoy safer spaces, traveling on wider sidewalks and riding on bike lanes. Higher densities liberated space to dedicate to parks and public spaces and proximity to services will create economic opportunities and reduce car dependency. Having a pleasant public space will motivate communities to abandon sedentary lifestyles and create stronger social bonds. With this new design, traffic speeds will be reduced by 34%. Demand for public transportation is expected to increase from 30 to 60% of trips, bike trips from 4 to 50%, and walking trips from 24 to 40%. Areas dedicated to public space are also expected to increase from 5 to 30% and we expect social interaction to quadruple through the addition of four community centers and a 1.5 km pedestrian-cyclist road. Additionally, the number of shops and services will increase 4 times to provide more access to opportunities and stimulate local economic growth. Success will be measured first and foremost by monitoring the recommendations are built into the development. Afterward, surveys and positive media coverage will be performed and monitored. CTS-Mexico already has methodologies to measure personal physical activity, pedestrian and cyclist flow, traffic accidents among other variables.
About You
Organization:
Centro de Transporte Sustentable de México
About You
First Name

Centro de Transporte sustentable de México

Last Name
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Centro de Transporte Sustentable de México

Organization Phone

(52)(55) 30965742

Organization Address

Belisario Domínguez #8 P.A Colonia Villa Coyoacán. Del. Coyoacán

Organization Country

, DIF

Country where this project is creating social impact

, AGU

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

1.600 caracteres

Social Impact
How many people have been impacted by your project?

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

*Bankers and land developers do not see the economic value of dense urban development &the incorporation of sustainable urban technologies into their business offers: CTS-Mexico has strongly developed the economic arguments for low-carbon, dense urban planning. We would do a close follow-up, engaging with relevant private sectors associations and commercial chambers.
*Municipal planning regulations must be modified to align correctly with federal level regulations: CTS-Mexico supports cities with alignment of regulations in workshops and workshop follow-up.
*Community (business in particular) rejects TOD concept fearing loss of business accompanying reduced parking space: CTS-Mexico will conduct participatory process to secure the support of all community stakeholders.

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

By redesigning Centenario de la Revolución, CTS-Mexico is beginning to transform urban development patterns. Furthermore, having INFONAVIT -responsible for financing more than 500,000 new low-income houses each year- as a partner is an opportunity to replicate and escalate this new way of building communities. The project in Aguascalientes proves the viability of applying more sustainable, low carbon strategies in a Mexican setting, stimulating the implementation of these concepts in the rest of Mexico and Latin America.

Sustainability
For each selection, please explain the financial and non-financial support from each

Financial Support:

We have received funds from the “Strategic Programme Fund” from the Brisith Embassy.

Non Financial Support:

SEDESOL: The Secretary of Social Development has provided institutional support for the whole Low Carbon, Competitive Cities project. It was part of the scientific committee, supported the workshops, attended the meetings and helps spread the benefits of projects such as the Aguascalientes one.

INFONAVIT: Mexico’s biggest mortgage lender, the National Workers' Housing Fund Institute (INFONAVIT) signed a collaboration agreement with CTS-Mexico. As a result of the workshops we held for them, INFONAVIT - for the first time- will incorporate sustainable mobility criteria in their housing developments.

Consorcio Hogar: A housing developer who held workshops for the "Valle de Encino" development in Culiacán.

Aguascalientes Municipal Government: The Municipal Institute of Planning (IMPLAN) and the Public Services and Ecology Secretary supported CTS-Mexico’s project and introduced us to the Municipal Housing Institute (IMUVI), who stated its interest in developing a pilot project. This interest derived in our latter work in “Centenario de la Revolución”.

Scientific Committee: Institutions such as the MIT, UC Berkley and NASA evaluated the concept of our project and oversaw the construction of the methodology to evaluate: 1) public and private costs of the current urban sprawl model & 2) the benefits of implementing strategic public policies that promote compact, dense, low emissions urban growth towards 2030.

How do you plan to grow and/or diversify your base of support in the next three years?

CTS Mexico recently completed a revenue strategy for the years 2010-2015. CTS Mexico plans to rely primarily on philanthropic contributions and public-sector/multilateral organization funding to sustain its operations over the long term, given the high priority we place on our independence and restrictions on earned income from Mexican tax law. As a result, our primary goals are to (1) grow our budget to meet the resource requirements of our strategic plan, and (2) to diversify our revenue mix. We plan to reach this goal through several actions:

1. Seeking a new strategic partner to support the organization’s Mobility and Urban Development projects, which have achieved concrete results in the past 6 months and are ready to be scaled up.

2. Diversify revenue by systematically pursuing opportunities for project-based funding from national and international foundations, bilateral donors, multilateral institutions, and others.

3. Diversify revenue by changing the nature of our corporate support from a transaction-oriented approach, based on sponsorship of CTS Mexico events, to a relationship-based approach anchored by a new corporate leadership council.

4. Grow and strengthen our Board of Directors to position it to play a more prominent role in fundraising.

Collaboration
Please select your areas of intervention in the home improvement market

Technical assistance, Environment, Urban development, Citizen/community participation.

Is your innovation addressing barriers in the home improvement/progressive housing market? If so, please describe in detail your mechanisms of intervention

The current pattern of urban development in Mexico too often promotes an unequal distribution of land: too many roads, not enough public spaces, and small homes in low-density areas. This has especially negative impacts on marginalized communities: These housing developments are usually built in the periphery, far away from the working centers in the cities. In addition, the high transportations costs in time, money, and carbon emissions affect them as well. CTS-Mexico’s Transit-Oriented Development and Smart Growth project promotes mixed land use policies to create proximity to services and to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists adding important connections to high quality public transportation: wider sidewalks, bike lanes, more public spaces, better parking distributions, a pedestrian street, commercial lots and public transportation connections.

Pedestrians and cyclists will now be able to enjoy a safer space, traveling on wider sidewalks and riding on bike lanes. Proximity to services will create economic opportunities and reduce car dependency. By having a high quality public transportation, CO2 emissions will be reduced. Furthermore, having a pleasant public space will motivate communities to abandon sedentary lifestyles and create stronger social bonds.

With this new design, traffic speeds were reduced by 34%, increasing road safety. The number of shops and services will increase four times to provide more access to opportunities and stimulate growth. Demand for public transportation is expected to increase from 30 to 60%, bike trips inside the development from 4 to 50%, and walking trips from 24 to 40%. Areas dedicated to public space are also expected to increase from 5 to 30% and we expect social interaction to quadruple through the addition of four community centers and a 1.5 km pedestrian-cyclist road.

Are you currently collaborating with private companies, or have you partnered with private companies in the past? With which companies?

- Casas GEO, the largest housing developer.

Please describe in detail the nature of the partnership(s)

CTS-Mexico conducted a workshop with national and international experts for Casas GEO, the largest housing developer in Mexico; to propose competitive improvements to their urban model, including higher density, mixed use, and changes in road section to favor pedestrians and cyclists. The results were presented to a high level advisor for Casas GEO’s Chief Executive Officer and will likely present a contract with the developer for 2011.

Select the unit(s) with which the partnership was formed

Other (please specify).