CityLab: The Restaurant at the Center of a Gentrification War

I wrote for CityLab about the Trevi building in Mexico City and what it tells us about displacement and gentrification in downtown neighborhoods. MEXICO CITY—The Trevi is a six-story apartment building overlooking Alameda Central, an iconic park in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico neighborhood. On its ground floor there’s a time-worn little Italian restaurant, Cafetería Trevi, from which the building takes its unofficial name. With its red-vinyl banquettes and vintage neon signage, Cafetería Trevi looks like a time capsule of Mexico City’s past. But since last…Continue Reading “CityLab: The Restaurant at the Center of a Gentrification War”

Dissent: Mexican Labor Reawakens

Strikes at factories along the U.S.-Mexico border point to a new era for labor organizing in Mexico. “’The movement was the catalyst that we needed,’ Juan Luis Gaytán said, standing outside the Arca Continental plant in Matamoros, a city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Gaytán works at Arca Continental, the Coca Cola production and distribution plant for the region. That morning, the workers at the plant were on strike, among the thousands of workers who have gone on strike in Matamoros since the…Continue Reading “Dissent: Mexican Labor Reawakens”

Culinary Backstreets: Mexico City State of the Stomach 2019

I wrote a new State of the Stomach about Mexico City for Culinary Backstreets. Instead of a straightforward review, this article looks at the larger trends shaping how the city eats. I touch on tlayudas, NAFTA, native corn and rising rents in this article. “As Mexico City grapples with a changing urban landscape and the culinary world caters to the city’s new arrivals, the question now is whether everyday Mexicans will benefit from this resurgence of traditional Mexican cuisine and small-scale agriculture. Could native corn…Continue Reading “Culinary Backstreets: Mexico City State of the Stomach 2019”

CityLab: Mexico’s ‘Mayan Train’ Is Bound for Controversy

I wrote for CityLab about Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador’s ambitious plan to build a passenger train around the Yucatan Peninsula. Boondoggle or tourism boon? I’ll let you read and make your own verdict. “On December 16, two weeks after his inauguration, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stood alongside politicians, businesspeople, and representatives of Mayan indigenous communities outside Palenque, Chiapas, in southern Mexico. Smoke rose from traditional copal incense chalices as the president-elect oversaw a Mayan ritual asking Mother Earth for permission to build his…Continue Reading “CityLab: Mexico’s ‘Mayan Train’ Is Bound for Controversy”

Mongabay: Deforestation and mining threaten a monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico

I wrote for Mongabay about the threats facing the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán and the State of Mexico. The story is available in both English and Spanish. “ZITÁCUARO, Mexico – ‘As long as the butterflies keep coming, we’ll still have work here,’ says Javier Ambrocio, looking out over the Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. A cold breeze blows across the steep hillside, over 8,000 feet above sea level. Ambrocio works as a tour guide in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which straddles the…Continue Reading “Mongabay: Deforestation and mining threaten a monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico”

The Guardian: Zombie clunkers- has your local bus been resurrected in Guatemala?

“In a sparsely furnished office overlooking dozens of buses at the Zone 21 depot in Guatemala City, Jorge Castro flips through photographs on his mobile phone. He settles on one. ‘There’s the bus when I bought it in Maryland,’ he says proudly. It is a blue and white bus emblazoned with the words “Ride On”, the name of Montgomery County’s public transit system.’” I wrote about how one bus from Rockville, Maryland ended up all the way in Guatemala City. While vehicle emissions have tightened…Continue Reading “The Guardian: Zombie clunkers- has your local bus been resurrected in Guatemala?”

Thinking City: Preserving public art in a city of earthquakes

“Mexico City is a bastion of public art in the Americas, with murals, mosaics and monuments lining its most important streets. Yet the city is also highly vulnerable to earthquakes. Currently Mexican historians, artists and architects are contending with a unique predicament: What do you do with historic public art, when an earthquake can bring it tumbling down in a matter of seconds? When a massive earthquake hit Mexico City in September 1985, roughly 10,000 people died. Alongside this devastating tragedy, hundreds of buildings were…Continue Reading “Thinking City: Preserving public art in a city of earthquakes”