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Mexico City Morphologies

"Mexico City Morphologies." Streetnotes 26 (2019), special issue 'From Above: The Practice of Verticality' (Click on the image for the PDF).

This essay uses Google Earth images to examine urban morphologies in Mexico City. Vertical views of the world embraced by cartographers and planners have long legitimated claims to authority, truth, and temporal power. Since its introduction in 2008, Google satellite view has only reinforced such presumptions, particularly given the company's entangled relations with the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Nevertheless, aerial photographs provide an undeniably useful source for architects and urbanists to study city form and metropolitan expansion. The vertical view is particularly valuable for its capacity to illuminate spatial relations that are otherwise difficult to trace on the ground, but which nonetheless shape everyday human experience. The goal of this essay is to discern a range of city forms in the rapidly expanding metropolis, and to contemplate the ways in which urban morphology frames everyday life in one of the world's largest conurbations. It is part of a longer- term study of Mexico City's urbanism based on fieldwork, mapping, and spatial analysis.

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