Why Mexico City’s Tepito ‘Exists Because It Resists’

For Over 100 Years, This Neighborhood and Its Black Market Have Thrived by Straddling the Underground and Official Worlds

In 2016, the leaders of several street vendor organizations from the Mexico City neighborhood of Tepito met with local officials with a request: They wanted the capital city’s new constitution to codify their right to sell in public spaces. Street vendors like them, they argued, were an essential sector of the urban economy. In exchange for their legalization, they offered to submit to regulation and taxation.

The image of vendors gathered around a table with officials is not one most would associate with Tepito, best known as Mexico City’s barrio bravo, …

Is Something Rotten With the State of Presidencies? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Is Something Rotten With the State of Presidencies?

Zócalo Heads to Mexico City to Understand Executive Power—And Why It Isn’t Always Best for Democracy

Last week, Zócalo Public Square held our first-ever event just steps from our organization’s namesake and inspiration, Mexico City’s Plaza de la Constitución, otherwise known as the Zócalo, one of …

Carta de la Ciudad de México: ¿Puede la polarización construir democracia?

Uchas veces, el desacuerdo implica enemistad. La mejor apuesta para nuestro futuro es tender puentes entre los polos extremos

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No existen democracias sin algún tipo de polarización, lo que no es en sí mismo nocivo ni patológico. En realidad, las instituciones democráticas están diseñadas para …

A member of the Mexican National Guard stands in front of a red moving train in the Mexico City Metro subway.

A Letter from Mexico City: Can Polarization Build Democracy?

Too Often Disagreement Means Enmity. But Bridging Extremes Is the Best Bet for Our Future

What are the obstacles and opportunities facing democracy today? Zócalo is publishing a series of letters to highlight how the world’s democratic ideals are faring in practice. From Mexico: Public …

The Whitewashing of Mexico City’s Hand-Painted Signs

A Ban on Colorful Rótulos Is Making for a More Generic Streetscape

This April, the government of Mexico City’s central Cuauhtémoc alcaldía, or borough, mandated that all its rótulos—the hand-painted signs decorating street vendors’ kiosks—be erased. The colorful optical illusions, diverse typographies, …

A Tale of Two Pride Marches | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Tale of Two Pride Marches

In the 1980s, Mexico’s Gay Rights Movement Was Fractured. Its Legacy Offers Lessons for Today

On June 25, 1983, two distinct marches set out from Mexico City’s Monumento a Los Niños Héroes. One was a traditional march, with a serious tone in line with the …