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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

She arrived in 1950, worked as a maid for the owner of apt.18. When the owner moved out of the building, she left the apartment for Nico and her family. She lived in one of the rooftop rooms with her husband and three dauthers for 30 years. .

Edificio América. Located on the street of Merida#90 on the nighborhood of Roma, central region of Mexico City. Facade and entrance door. In the 1930s, cars were able to enter the building, after the earthquake of 1957, the building sunk 2 meters.

Ludmila puts into practice her hair styling techniques learned a year ago, on her neighboor, Marisela. April 10th, 2010.

Barbara, one of the daughters of Blanca, a few weeks after giving birth to her second child, just out of the shower. Receiving a phone call, on a public phone installed by the phone company, which only receives calls. June 27th, 2009.

Yareni talking to her sister in the livingroom. View from the bedroom which she shared with her sister, mother and son and a dog. A strong matriarchical family, they all feel they are better off without men in the house. July 4th, 2010.

Remedios. One of the representatives checking on the bulding documents. She started battling to renovate the space and expropiate the building since all supposed owners were farses, in 1996. It wasn't until 2005 that the building was expropiated, after winning a case against a supposed owner, when in reality there was no hereditary owner that actually had rights over the space that could make the transaction of selling it to the company. An architecture and investment firm which has intentions on ¨purchasing¨ old houses for renovation was the company who attempted to buy it with forged papers. August 29th, 2009 .
Livia Radwanski
Tumbona Ediciones
fac    |  Colaboraciones: hand[a]lefthandrotation.com