Mexico City’s new park’s bill of cost is of two billion pesos, which translate to about 107 million dollars at current exchange rates.
Let me explain how new it is...
This is a satellite image of the area from 11 months ago:
Now, you see that avenue with copious amounts of sky scrapers? That’s Avenida Santa Fe, a four lane avenue that looked like this 13 years ago:
This is the oldest image that google earth has of the area:
It really looks like a new zone in Cities Skylines.
This is avenida Santa Fe today:
Now people here think Santa Fe is quite big, but in reality it isn’t; most of those buildings are offices, which means that an area where 50 thousand people live gets 300 thousand visitors daily.
Why am I underlining the crazy rate of expansion of Santa Fe?
Well because of two reasons: water and money.
Santa Fe doesn’t have its own water supply, it is literally shipped in daily using huge trucks. Now, many of the residential buildings in Santa Fe do have their own, well.. not parks, but yards? But it doesn’t matter, for this park to be watered, and it is watered... all 3,229,170 sqft of it. According to the internet, it takes about .62 gallons to water a normal yard per square foot, meaning that if they water 60% of the park’s area daily, it takes about 1.2 million gallons of water. Its obscene, specially since we live in a city where up to half a million people don’t have safe access to water.
Second reason is money, this park costed 2 billion pesos, want to guess how much money the government put aside after the earthquake?
Three billion.. Now, I’m not going to pretend that the money disappeared from the City’s treasury the day the park was opened,it was a three year project. It involved:
1. Expropriating land
3. moving millions tons of earth
4. introducing tons of concrete
5. an underground parking area
6. a design study
7. road planing
8. plumbing for the park watering system.
9. hundreds of trees and thousands of plants.
10. Private security: yes. its a public park with private security.
I’m just going to say that we have our priorities wicked wrong.
Santa Fe used to be Mexico City’s dumpster before we exported our trash to lesser states; so plants naturally don’t grow here and have to be taken here, along with tons of fertilizer and constant monitoring of methane exposure.
But a project from the late 70's sought to reconquer this literal wasteland, my university was the first to set foot here , followed by banks hungry for large offices for their 80s bankers, all of this land was donated by the government, including the park’s land. The reason why this isn’t some large office building is because of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (The less unatractive version of Boris Johnson) and bad his management. He made a legal mess of this land while he was Mayor and Miguel Angel Mancera is trying to fix it by throwing money at the problem.
If you’re an immigrant to Mexico City you probably live here or in Polanco: there isn’t a real balance. If you’re the son of the 80's bankers, chances are you live here too: it is one of the most wealthy areas of Mexico City, along with Polanco, Pedregal, and Lomas de Chapultepec.
I have nothing against the immigrants in Santa Fe, on the contrary, I enjoy sharing my city with them. I just despise the fact that our mayor is trying to hide to them the issues we face in the city with this fancy façade. I would love it if this park was suddenly overran by many of the 2.4 million citizens facing various degrees of poverty as a protest!
Wanna know how fancy these areas are? Well, they have huge congestion issues but they despice public transportation so badly that when Mancera offered a BRT line from Polanco to Santa Fe, through Lomas de Chapultepec that would’ve taken 100,000 cars out of their roads they respectfully declined and proceeded to sue the living shit out of the government.
The worst thing about the park by far is that I really like it, and its hard to stand here and see a really nice park next to really beautiful buildings as people run with their dogs and gardeners wave at everyone saying “Buenos Dias!” knowing that we don’t deserve it. We cannot govern a country of poor people as if it was a country of rich people. In an era of ridiculous inequality do you really want these rich people having their land values skyrocket because of the new publicly funded park?
I don’t know... but this park just feels like we’re getting away with murder.
So, this is a list of things we could’ve done with 107 million dollars:
1. Give a 40 day bonus to every single police officer in Mexico City.
2. About 1.2 kilometers of the most expensive Metro line in Mexico City.
3. Invested about 12,000 pesos for every single city resident in extreme poverty, it sounds like little, but its the equivalent of three months of minimum salary.
4. About 5 thousand Ford Fusion patrol Cars.
5. Increased the earthquake relief effort budget by 66%
6. 17.4 miles* worth of the Segundo piso del Periferico, a six to eight lane wide elevated highway. *: Adjusted for inflation.