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An aerial view of the proposed design concept.

A rendering of the new transit stop.


Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico, with its long history in industrial development and cultural landscape. The studio’s site, Huentitán, is an informal settlement that has expanded rapidly in the past two decades. Huentitán is proximate to precious nature assets and metropolitan settings, yet the entrance to the nearby canyon and the botanical garden are hard to access.


We proposed three objectives to help the area thrive with its unique edge which joins the neighborhoods and the barranca as one. First, the green armature system. Specific strategies include extending and enhancing the role of the existing zoo and botanical garden, while completing the trail system in the canyon and introducing metropolitan park. Second, economic development on a local to metropolitan scale. Vacant lots will turn into a job training center, public market, and mixed-use development that can enhance the local-scale economy. The development of larger scale tourist attractions and the implementation of the gondola system will bring city-scale economy to this area. Lastly, flexible community making and expansion of the informal settlement. By providing basic infrastructures and encouraging community self-construction in the expanded area, the neighborhoods can retain their characteristics while integrating with new metropolitan scale programs. 


We envision the project in a 12-year plan with three phases. The first phase will be completed in three years, enhancing connectivity and improving existing neighborhoods. A new street will be built at the north of the zoo to create a second access for people to go to the canyon more easily and an edge trail system will be implemented to link major programs along the edge. In the second phase, the Gondola system and civic spaces will serve both residents and tourists. The Gondola Line brings new opportunities for the larger informal settlements in the west of our site. Then in its final phase, mixed-use developments will be built around the Gondola station and the green system is completed. The Metropolitan Park will become a major natural asset in the city that promotes the ecology and attracts more visitors.


We divided the site into two unique neighborhoods: Huentitan el Alto (East Plan) and Huentitán el Bajo (West Plan). Located east of the zoo, Huentitán el Alto is mostly informal, including its infrastructure and buildings. However, the north of the neighborhood is vacant, which has the potential to become a new metropolitan area, bringing in the Gondola system to enhance connectivity within informal settlements and rediscover beautiful assets. Several massive vacant lots in the south also have development potential. We introduced four themes, local commerce, green corridor, metropolitan park, and development structure, indicating potential parcels for design interventions.

Huentitán el Bajo is easier to access from the city, while the neighborhood has kept developing along with the BRT system on the artery street. A neighborhood node can activate underutilized parcels in the center of this neighborhood, developing more public facilities in a relatively dense area. The new node can serve not only the existing community members, but also people from outside this area.

David Gouverneur


Carolina Schultz, Heejung Shin, Hengyu Lan, Sean Smith, Shaoan Chiu, Shiyu Mao, Zining Chen

An aerial view of the proposed design concept.

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