A 9.78-kilometer railway corridor section has established a barrier across the city of Xalapa that accentuates socio-spatial segregation and hinders the mobility of citizens. The tracks are no longer in use for passenger transport, but have been licensed to a private company, which runs freight trains to the port of Veracruz. Only a few trains per week ride across the city and the old railway station has been abandoned. As the city grew eastward and incorporated the railway into its urban area, this infrastructure became an issue both for the city and railway management. For the city, the railway corridor prevents continuity in the mobility of pedestrians and vehicular traffic, but is also an opportunity to transform an underutilized space into a quality public space or a green corridor. Citizens, for their part, feel insecure and try to avoid the area. Crossing the tracks can be dangerous and standing trains serve as hiding places for criminals. When trains also carried passengers, the place used to be lively, but now it is deserted.
The long-term vision for the areas bordering the railway tracks is to become an urban neighborhood that will support the new centrality by providing housing, public spaces and social infrastructure. The urban strategy has been set out in a phased plan containing the proposals that emerged from all participatory workshops. The strategy has been divided into four themes, each of which can advance at its own pace, independently of other projects. This provides a unified vision of an integrated plan varying from very basic short-term interventions to more complex long-term projects. Furthermore, it makes it possible to respond to unexpected changes and circumstances without losing the overall focus on the emerging themes.
May to October, 2014
Authors: Lisa Mittelberger, Roland Krebs, Andreas Hofer