Changing Planet

Walking Towards Mexico’s Corporate Edge City

Carretera Mexico - Toluca — photo by author, click to enlarge
Carretera Mexico – Toluca — photo by author, click to enlarge

Santa Fe is Mexico City’s Edge City – a rapidly growing office park on the outskirts of an extant metropolitan area. Located along a major highway out of the city, the site (some 12 miles from the center) was once a landfill, and with significant investment from the city and federal governments, it was transformed into the metro area’s largest office district. It is host to Latin America’s third largest mall, the Centro Santa Fe, the main campus of the prestigious Universidad Iberoamericana, and major offices of such large corporations as Grupo Bimbo, Coca-Cola, Ford, Roche, and Chrysler.

From my home, Santa Fe is about a 10-mile walk, so I decided to wake up early one morning this week and set out. Below are some images of that walk. Pictured is major boulevard of the city center, the Paseo de la Reforma, which is currently undergoing it’s own skyscraper boom.

Paseo de la Reforma — photo by author, click to enlarge
Paseo de la Reforma — photo by author, click to enlarge
Torre BBVA Bancomer, Paseo de la Reforma — photo by author, click to enlarge
Torre BBVA Bancomer, Paseo de la Reforma — photo by author, click to enlarge

Further on, I passed through las Lomas Virreyes, an old, elite residential district of the city, where the majority of street life are bodyguards sitting in idling armored cars outside of sheer walls and security cameras.

Lomas Virreyes — photo by author, click to enlarge
Lomas Virreyes — photo by author, click to enlarge
Lomas Virreyes — photo by author, click to enlarge
Lomas Virreyes — photo by author, click to enlarge

The Paseo de la Reforma, which ascends through the Lomas area as a broad boulevard, then merges with the other main access road to Santa Fe, Avenida Constituyentes, and becomes the Carretera Mexico-Toluca. The pedestrian realm is diminished, to say the least, to a point where sidewalks disappear and the luckless commuters without car (something like 80 percent of the city) wait on the exhaust-choked highway for intermittent bus service. I had intended to walk the whole way, but at least on this route, it became a bit life-threatening.

Carretera Mexico - Toluca — photo by author, click to enlarge
Carretera Mexico – Toluca — photo by author, click to enlarge
Carretera Mexico - Toluca — photo by author, click to enlarge
Carretera Mexico – Toluca — photo by author, click to enlarge
Carretera Mexico – Toluca — photo by author, click to enlarge

After riding a bus for perhaps the last mile of the journey, I made it to Santa Fe, the experience of which will be the subject of an upcoming blog post.

Centro Santa Fe — photo by author, click to enlarge
Centro Santa Fe — photo by author, click to enlarge

Los Angeles native Michael Waldrep is a documentary filmmaker, multimedia artist and researcher, currently in Mexico City to document the city, its neighborhoods and its 22 million inhabitants through writing, mapping, data visualization, photography and video. He is one of five inaugural Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media