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Mérida90 is a personal photographic project that reflect on the politics of public housing in Mexico City, the displacement of people inside a metropolis and the dificulties these afected people encounter in an ever growing city.

It has been 3 year since i have stared documenting the struggle of the inhabitants of Edificio América, located in the a central neighborhood called Colonia Roma, as they have battled to begin constructions on the building they expropiated 4 and a half years ago. According to expropiation laws in Mexico City, once the building becomes property of the government, they have up to 5 years to complete  the construction of social housing project, so that the owner cannot repossess it. Bureacracy, politics, economic downfalls at a national level have prevented them to move forward and settling for some understanding between the different social and private institutions.

Living in high risk conditions out of necesity, stagnated in time, and waiting these past 5 years, they have not been able to invest in maintaining the space, and with its pealed walls and the daily cup bath since the pipes are corroded, alongside the humidity of the thick walls which many times have never seen the light, the degree of unsanitary living and as designated, “ High Risk” living situation, is one that no one chooses.

A narrative in which the lives of 22 families represent and reflect about the situation of over 8,000 sites classified by the Government as in High Risk and the struggle for these individuals to obtain a dignified space they can call ‘home’, showing  us the whys and hows of a phenomenon specific to the great metropolis around the world, known as gentrification or residential elitization. 

Mérida90 was published by Tumbona Ediciones as a book in December 2011 after being selected by Conaculta ( National Council for Arts and Culture) to participate in an co-edition program, enabling the production of the book. The project is intended to continue with the creation of a archive of all the audio recordings compiled narrating the inhabitants lives and the judiciary and legal process the inhabitants that to undergo, to avoid another case of corruption, and to bring light to the problematic by demonstrating solutions to many others that might be suffering from the situation. This second part of the project will only be possible to be created with the help of a grant.

Contact Livia Radwanski : cavalosintensos[a]gmail.com

Mérida90 es un proyecto fotográfico sobre la politica de vivienda pública en el Distrito Federal, que retrata la historia de un edificio, el Edificio América, clasificado como “ de alto riesgo estructural” y de las vientidós familias afectadas por su evacuación.

Durante un año, documente la vida cotidiana de algunos de sus habitantes y el conflicto con el Instituto de Vivienda del Distrito Federal (INVI), siguiendo los pormenores de un decreto favorable de expropiación del inmueble. La historia de este edificio no sólo exhibe las consecuencias de un fenómeno propio de las grandes metrópolis conocido como “gentrificación” o elitismo residencial, sino que a través de las historias personales de los afectados narra los cambios sociales y los desplazamientos secretos de una colonia emblemática como la Roma.

Con cerca de ocho mil sitios clasificados como "vivienda de alto riesgo" en la ciudad, este proyecto contribuye a crear una memoria histórica no sólo de la arquitectura de la ciudad de México, sino de sus políticas urbanas. En la actualidad, el Edificio América, un espacio que por más de un siglo ha presenciado los cambios  más importantes, se encuentra en proceso de reconstrucción, sus habitantes han sido evacuados  y es un ejemplo de un caso de éxito contra el desplazamiento urbano.

Mérida90 se publicó en formato de libro por Tumbona Ediciones en Diciembre 2011, después de haber sido seleccionado por Conaculta, para participar en el programa de co-ediciones. El proyecto tiene la intención de continuar con la creación de un archivo conteniendo todos las grabaciones de áudio, narrando las vivencias y memórias de los habitantes del Edificio América y el processo judicial y legal que los habitantes tuvieron que enfrentar, contra un caso común de corrupción. Este servirá para dar a luz más a fondo la problematica, sirviendo como referencia a las personas que estan en este momento sufriendo del mismo problema. Esta segunda parte del proyecto solo podrá ser concretizada a partir de un financiamiento o una beca.

Contacto Livia Radwanski : cavalosintensos[a]gmail.com

Details of the interior of one house during demolition. The building was completely demolished, leaving only the facade and the frontal apartments to be restored.

View from the back of the building. One year later and construction has not started yet. Paralized for several months, the building was abandoned with one third of the debris still to remove, and new construction to begin. The inhabitants suffer the corruption of the Housing Institute (INVI) and the construction company, as they wait without a definite time for the project to be finalized, which was supposed to happen in July 2011.

Diego looking down to greet me, right outside his apartment, on the second floor at the back of the building. He is the earliest newcomer to the building, arriving only one year ago, along with his his brother and a friend. At age 20 he aspires to be an opera singer. November 25, 2009

View of the courtyard on the last day after everyone had evacuated the building. It was carefully sacked by the teenagers from any brass water pipes and trash was left behind.

Demolition took two weeks to start. With only two workers and no machines, all the work has been done by hand. The acummulation of debris reachead its peak at the height of the top of the entrance doors and windows by March 20th 2011 when the construction company finally decided to take action to advance the project, and remove it, to finish the demolition. August 28th, 2010.

A statuette of Diana, godess of hunt, as found in D. Romo's apartment. D. Romo's apartment was abandoned for over one year earlier than when I started the project, in 2008. When opened, on the day of the delivery to the Housing Institute, it was a life left behind with food and all. D.Romo is one of the eldest, still living person ,who lived all of his life in Merida 90. A famous lawyer, his family was one of the few that remained from the time when the building was occupied mostly by middle/ high class individuals. July 20th, 2010.
Livia Radwanski
Tumbona Ediciones
fac    |  Colaboraciones: hand[a]lefthandrotation.com