Mexico City is ‘crowdsourcing’ a new constitution. But will it change anything?

6/2/2016 The Guardian 

2547560556_22100c5f3d_mThe impossibility of defining Mexico City, a place where more than 20 million people converge every day, is one of its essential characteristics. From above, you can see pockets of wealth and luxury right next to settlements of extreme poverty; densely populated tenement buildings and large monochromatic swathes of shantytown punctuated by green foliage and, during spring, thick purple flower clusters.

Such contrasts reflect the overwhelming diversity of inhabitants of a city in the process of creating its first political constitution – a reform which, initially at least, was received with deep scepticism. The most important challenge will be to include this kaleidoscopic population in an initiative that aims to reshape the political, economic and social structures of one of the biggest and most chaotic cities in the world – where the average commute is one hour and 21 minutes.

In part, the new constitution is the result of a decades-long struggle that gained momentum when the population spontaneously organised to make up for the incompetence of both federal and local government following the catastrophic 1985 earthquake that killed many thousands of people.

 

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