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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.132

Navigating promises and good intentions: technomorality and scepticism among peripheral mobility activists in Mexico City


  • Dr. Raúl ACOSTA

Primary authors


After activists have positioned urban mobility in Mexico City’s political arena, some peripheral groups have raised concerns about government promises. On the one hand, they point out that most of the new projects and policies benefit well-off areas. On the other, they draw attention to the disjuncture between local authorities’ discourses and the massive investment that is dedicated to infrastructure for automobiles. According to a government survey from 2017, 55 per cent of urban dwellers use public transport on a daily basis, and yet only 6 per cent of the mobility budget is dedicated to it. Three-quarters of such funds are devoted to infrastructure for cars, even though only 16 per cent of the population use a private vehicle as a form of transport. The increasing attention that mobility has garnered is often focused on matters related to environment, health, and congestion. Little attention is paid to its role in perpetuating socioeconomic inequalities. Recent studies show how the poorest urban dwellers spend the highest proportion of their income and the longest times in their daily commute. They also bear the brunt of risks of accidents and insecurity. In this context, some activists working in the peripheries of Mexico City have established coalitions with non-governmental organizations and expert activists, developing a sophisticated form of technomoral discourse. This combines technical knowledge regarding urban design, law, and transport, with a moral compass addressing local injustices and inequalities. With these alliances, peripheral activists navigate policymakers’ promises and stated good intentions with an informed scepticism.