Walk Leader: Salvador Medina Ramírez
Text by: Salvador Medina Ramírez
Photographs by: Monica Tapia
This was the second year in which the Camina, Haz Ciudad (Walk, Make City) Collective organized a Jane’s Walk in Coyoacán, a traditional neighborhood known for its colonial streets. Celebrated residents of Coyoacán have included Frida Kahlo, Octavio Paz and Leon Trotsky. We tried to honor Jane Jacobs’ memory by presenting a walk that brought together the area’s residents and civil society organizations.
Members of Los Amigos de Viveros, a runners’ group, led us through the magnificent tree farm founded by Miguel Angel de Quevedo, known in Mexico as the “Apostle of the Tree.” Almudena and Manolo Ocejo talked about how their group organizes an annual race to raise funds to maintain the farm for the enjoyment of everyone who wants to run in it. Eduardo Bohorquez, director of Fundación Este País, knows a lot of stories about the neighborhood, and told us some, mainly about politicians who live and work here. Perhaps the best of them concerns the street Dulce Olivia (Sweet Olivia).
As the story goes, the City Manager built it by expropriating and demolishing the property of the famous Mexican director, producer and actor Indio Fernandez, because of a rivalry. The only right that was left to Fernandez was to name the street; he chose Sweet Olivia in honor of Olivia de Havilland, a Hollywood actress on whom he had a crush. His garage was transformed into a boardroom, a fact that might have pleased Jane Jacobs.
Among the beautiful plazas and streets, full of life, representatives of Nuestras Realidades explained its work to promote universally accessible pedestrian infrastructure, and the work of ITDP Mexico for sustainable mobility, especially for pedestrians and cycling. As Monica Tapia, local resident and member of the NGO Alternativas y Capacidades, put it, the lesson of this walk was that “the city is built on its neighborhoods and its people.”