research design / infrastructures / systems

zona hídrica

in collaboration with

Bella Carriker + Vanessa Gonzalez

Zona Hídrica: Water Infrastructures in Mexico City is an exploration of water controversies in the neighborhood of Iztapalapa. Beginning by mapping the evolution of the water ecologies of Mexico City to a sketched investigation of the water controversies within Iztapalapa, the research project aims to address water inequalities through an infrastructural intervention that introduces the development of research on algae cultivation and water purification processes. Zona Hídrica becomes a water insfrastructural complex within the borough of Iztapalapa to strengthen community ties to water sources and the agents contributing to its water access.


Mexico City's water crisis has been an ongoing problem throughout the urbanization of the city. This project specifically focuses on the inequities in the water system in the borough of Iztapalapa, Mexico City.


This project began with exploring the timeline of the city's water crisis. By contrasting the relationship of the city's inhabitants with the natural water systems during pre-colonial Mexico City to the present day water crisis, the research found that the crisis is built upon an unsustainable water system that has depleted the city's local aquifer and has thus resorted to importing water from regional sources that has led to the water controversies that this project is aimed to address. 

The list of water controversies include the fractured infrastructure that imports water from the region into the city, the faulty water treatment plants, the inefficiencies in water distribution and water drainage, and the informal communal water wells that have been utilized in the lower income neighborhoods. Altogether the research found an inexhaustible list of inequities surrounding the water system in Iztapalapa, Mexico City.

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The design was informed by an immersive site visit in Iztapalapa, Mexico City during Fall of 2018. The project aimed to reimagine the city's relationship with water through an water infrastructural system that engages with the community of Iztapalapa. Zona Hídrica is divided into 5 zones that address a different phase in the water system: (1) Aquifer Recharge, (2) Wastewater Treatment, (3) Greywater Distribution, (4) Potable Water Distribution, (5) Greywater Treatment