Cooperativa Palo Alto: the first housing cooperative in Mexico City that is still working to protect its community 50 years later
Places Journal, a journal about architecture, landscape and urbanism recently featured a story written by Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, an assistant professor of architecture, and co-director of the architecture program at Bard College in New York State, USA. The article is about a housing cooperative in Palo Alto, Mexico City that was founded nearly 50 years ago on the outskirts of the city in a former sand pit. Now the cooperative sits among tall office and apartment towers in an exclusive district called Bosques de las Lomas. With the value of the land rising decade by decade, divisions are building up among members – those that want to protect the collectively owned community and others that want to privatize their ownership.
The author states, “In examining the community’s history, therefore, my aim is to consider housing cooperatives not only as a social process uniting members in intimate solidarity but also as a viable model of collective resistance against hypercapitalist urbanization.” Santoyo-Orozco also seeks to center the voices of Palo Alto women and how collective property creates an alternative to structural dispossession and is key to organized political resistance.
You can read the fascinating history and current situation here.