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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

"Please let know you are coming through, there is a dog. Thank you. Atte: rooftop neighbors." Entrance wall to one of the rooftops. Eliasar has lived with his family on one of the rooftops, not allowing much access to other tenants to the upper area, and protecting it from outsiders, since the entrance to the building is open, with a ferocious pitbull. April 7th, 2010.

Blanca checking on her drying clothes. After the warning letter, she moved with her husband and three daughters and grandchildren to another apartment, coming only on the weekend to wash clothes and check on their rooms. August 30, 2009.

Demolition begins. roof has been lifted from some apartments, like carcasses, the wooden beams are releaved. Sign of a solid construction of the early 20th century.

Doña Nicolasa sitting on the building courtyard on the day of the closing of the building. 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. One of the first to arrive in the building, she was the last to leave that day.

Eliasar, looking out from his kitchen in one of the rooftop rooms. He was born in the building and has spent entire like living on the rooftop, with his family. Maria Luisa is his daughter, he is now 40 years old.

Sipion. One of Charlie and his kids, Amapola and Carlos´s 5 cats. View from the livingroom to the courtyard.
Livia Radwanski
Tumbona Ediciones
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