2015 National Planning Excellence Awards: Pierre L'Enfant International Award

Tecnológico de Monterrey Urban Regeneration Plan

Monterrey, Mexico

Summary

Tecnológico de Monterrey (Monterrey Tec) is the first planned university campus in Mexico. While some of the essential elements of the 1945 plan still persisted, there was no culture of planning, and recent buildings violated the powerful sustainable integrity of the original plan's vision.

The university, along with a consultant team, undertook a planning process that captures the essence of the original plan but reflects a new education vision and sets the stage for continued expansion of Tec's role in the neighborhood, both in Monterrey and beyond.

The plan also focuses on helping reverse patterns of urban decline and return Monterrey to its reputation as the safest city in Central America.

The campus is isolated from its surrounding neighborhoods. A recent cycle of disinvestment in the community has reinforced the perception of unsafety and neglect.

Process

Monterrey is Mexico's third largest city and the heart of innovation and entrepreneurship. A combination of disinvestment in city center neighborhoods, long-term effects of urban sprawl, and aging campus infrastructure have led to the decline in vibrancy both on campus and in the surrounding communities.

Regeneración, developed in collaboration with Tecnológico de Monterrey, the City of Monterrey, and Sasaki Associates, addressed the role higher education can play in urban regeneration and building healthy and vibrant communities through community engagement. Throughout the planning process, the consultant team acted as the bridge between community and university, resulting in development and enhancement projects all supporting one another.

Regeneración places special emphasis on five ideas:

  • Committing to a campus that nourishes the mind, body, and spirit
  • Fostering a climate of collaboration and entrepreneurship
  • Stimulating engaged learning
  • Strengthening the relationship between the neighborhood and the city
  • Facilitating rapid growth of research partnerships.

To capture the importance of projects, the team created a dynamic chart that prioritizes more than 50 development projects based on amount of investment. The master plan also features design sketches for each of the priority projects. The majority of recommendations made in Regeneración are physical upgrades to joint spaces shared by both the community and university, such as the rebuild of Tecnológico Park, an outcome from extensive surveying of students, faculty, and university staff.

Tecnológico Park, the largest park in the district, had turned from a family-friendly community space to an unsafe, neglected property. Public meetings and in-person interviews helped uncover what the community and students felt was missing in the park space. Today, Tecnológico Park is a symbol of revitalization and the lasting bond between the university and surrounding neighborhoods.

The Master Plan also generated a district-wide mobility study on the creation of a natural resource-rich urban environment; reduction of parking lots; a proposed TransitHub that would integrate the existing Monterrey bus system with district shuttle system; and proposed streetscape improvements to create safer, pedestrian-friendly streets.

A new open space spine blurs the boundaries of the campus and ties together open space, new development, and the neighborhoods surrounding the university

Results

The plan has since been adopted by the university's board of trustees and earmarked for $200 million for implementation of priority revitalization projects like the rebuild of Tecnológico Park. Monterrey has already begun to see new investment in neighborhoods surrounding the university, marking an exciting time for city dwellers and students alike.

Team

Sasaki Associates
Dennis Pieprz, Victor Eskinazi, Youngju Cho, Brie Hensold, Lachlan Hicks, Laura Marett, Zhicheng Xu, Anthony Fettes, Marguerite Sulmont, Justin Garrison, Pablo Savid-Buteler, Bill Massey, Stephen Sefton, Ben Kou, Sarah Dunbar, Jerolim Mladinov, Catarina Belo, Jia Hu, Isabel Zempel, Vee Petchthevee, Lu Peng, Hansol Kang, James Whitten, Roberto Ochoa, Tom Simister, Ken Goulding, Phil Bruso, Thiyagarajan Adi Raman

Sub-Consultants
Parsons Consulting
Mobility in Chain