Ixtepec Railroad Park

Fall 2018
Location: Ixtepec, Oaxaca

Many migrant persons arrive everyday to the city of Ixtepec above the train called “La Bestia”. The zone of transit between the “jump-off” spot and the migrants’ shelter often becomes an urban conflict zone, the area where migrant persons commute. These spaces tend to have a negative connotation from the point of view of the residents.

This “Conflict Zone” has a many opportunities to explore. It’s a connector of the city, which is now acting as a barrier, diving the city of Ixtepec in two zones. It also connects to the old Market, now in new construction phase, which opens up to more program possibilities.

This project intends to change the negative connotation of this zone, giving back this space to the residents and creating alternative program that can also be used as shelter and resiliency node in case of earthquakes or other natural catastrophes. Changing the way in which the residents see this place, can help to mediate their relationship with the immigrants that pass trough the city and minimize their rejection against them. Also, this zone can act as a “Safe Heaven” for the incoming immigrants, that will arrive on a safer zone, with better infrastructure for them to wait for the train that will take them to the rest of their journey.

The proposal consists in transforming this 2 hectares-zone into a public space and shared street, acting as a connection node for the city and the market. The project consists of a series of strategies that will change the use of the area and turn it into a permeable and connector space.

Removal: The first step is the removal of the buildings and structures in the area that are in poor structural conditions, opening space and removing the “heaviness” of the zone. This step will help to create visual connections between the two pars of the city. The new organization and clear reading of the space will help to create a sense of safety.

Shared street: The proposal includes to unify the surface of the area, making it a shared space with no height differences or divisions that prevent people from passing from one place to another, turning it into a large square. A unified permeable surface will make this a friendlier zone for pedestrians and visitors and, along with other strategies as change of speed limits and adding shading, will make this a more livable area.

The station: The station will act as a dining room and will house a diversity of cultural programs for residents. A restoration is proposed among strategies of permeability of the structure, allowing passage and visibility from one side of the station to the other.

A new structure: The proposal includes a new, light, steel structure, permeable and used as a diner and space for social and cultural events of the residents, which can also act as a refuge, as well as the station, in case of emergencies.

Rearrangement of street vendors: A new permeable structure for vendors and a layout re-accommodation will allow free movement along the vendors’ markets and will connect them with the new city market, expanding the commercial area and serving as a connection to the public diners.

A big plaza: a park will be designed for children and adults of Ixtepec, with playground areas and areas for resting and vegetation, were children can play and adults can spend their afternoons. This space will function as a social and cultural node of the city, with new uses and a new appearance, removing the negative connotation that it has now.

Ixtepec has a privileged geographical site, it’s located between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and acts as an important bifurcation of the railroad system, where the train can continue through Oaxaca, with direction to Mexico City, or deviate to the state of Veracruz. The city of Ixtepec has 24,000 inhabitants and is an important receptor of migration flows coming from the south of the continent.

          Existing conditions of the train station zone