Beginning in the 1990s different agencies at all levels of the Mexican government—municipal, state, and federal—authorized and subsidized the construction of massive affordable housing estates known as conjuntos urbanos. As many studies of Mexico City’s metropolitan area demonstrate the adoption of this housing scheme had similar outcomes in that it failed in delivering on the promise of a better quality of life. These studies of conjuntos urbanos, often quantitative in nature, focus on their failures as models of urban and metropolitan planning and examine their effects on larger demographic and economic patterns. They do not, however, examine the situated socio-political articulations that are emerging in these new urban formations as a response to their failures. This summer I spent two months doing ethnographic fieldwork in a municipality of the State of Mexico called Huehuetoca. This municipality is located about 45 minutes north of Mexico City and it is a place where many affordable housing development have been built in the last 20 years. I concentrated my efforts in establishing relationships with residents of a particular development called Santa Teresa. During my time in Santa Teresa I documented the various deficiencies that exist in the development. I focused on the irregular supply of water and the social and political dynamics that it produces among residents.
September 20, 2019