Merida’s new Urban Development Program (UDP), presented by the City Council, is addressed to the whole society and to the harmonious development of Mérida, with a broad vision towards 2040 and with measures that, if aren’t taken, would already affect the quality of life of all the citizens, said representatives from various sectors of society.
Following the presentation of the UDP, headed by Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal, the State Secretary for Development and Environment, Eduardo Batllori Sampedro, highlighted the courage with which the City Council redefined the non-buildable areas to prevent continued chaotic growth of the city.
In the previous UDP, he recalled, it was mentioned that the whole municipality was buildable and that is why there has been an unstoppable growth, which increases the costs of the provision of municipal services to the people.
“The presentation shows us how good the job of the City Council along with the society was,” he said. Having already a primary division of the city is fundamental to establish policies of growth in the short, medium and long term.
The interviewee considered that if the measures included in the UDP were not taken, Mérida would face a terrible fragmentation and dispersion, with small developments in different parts of the territory that would require services, infrastructure and equipment at a seriously high cost, such that municipal authorities could not support.
In addition, if the city continues growing as it is now, it would increase the use of the car and the costs of transportation and mobility, would it make difficult to provide maintenance services to parks and gardens, roads and other services,” he warned.
Armando Valencia Castillo, president of National Chamber of Development and Promotion of Real-estate (Cámara Nacional de Desarrollo y Promoción de la Vivienda, Canadevi, in Spanish) in Yucatan, described the municipal work as extraordinary for the UDP. He said that the organization participated from the beginning in working meetings and considered that the time it took to elaborate the program was worthwhile because it combined the work and vision of the different sectors of society.
“As a chamber we had the opportunity to give our points of views and opinion as developers and just like the other participants, we were always heard,” he added. “I believe that precisely the strength of this program is the plurality with which it was managed and that will be the fundamental pillar of its success.”
The business leader commented that because the previous UDP indicated the entire territory of the country as buildable, some members of the chamber acquired reserve lands outside the peripheries of the city, which may no longer be able to be urbanized.
“However,” he said, “as a chamber we are aware that it is not healthy or correct that the city continues to expand and we support which is good for the community.”
“If the City Council continues working with the previous program, the services such as garbage collection, street lighting and transportation would be much more expensive and difficult to render”, he added.
Most of the cities that are considered as first-world cities are compact and that allows the council, for example, to provide them with an innovative and efficient transportation system, he said.
The president of the National Chamber of Processing Industry (Cámara Nacional de la Industria de la Transformación, Canacintra, in Spanish) of Mérida, Juan Manuel Ponce Diaz, expressed his satisfaction because “we finally have an UDP that has everything that is required with a long-term vision.”
The leader considered that the guidelines of the UDP that were released, as well as the work done in conjunction with the City Council, make it clear that this program envisages an sistemic growth of the city, which will be less expensive to stop the geographic dispersion that Merida experiences today.
He also noted that it has been a pleasant surprise the willingness of this City Council to work along with society.
“The Participation Councils promoted by the City Council are not only paper, as it happens in other parts of the country and the world, but in this case include real meetings, which listens to all parties and conclusions are obtained for to arrive to the result that we are seeing today,” he said.
He also considered that the challenge will be to move from planning to implementation so that the city is well-organized, peaceful and logical, to help solve the traffic problem, the environmental issue and maintain the quality of life, a statement said.
“Firm hand and clear procedures are required so that we all know what can and can’t be done”, he said.
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