The Sustainable Rural Cities Program: Chiapas, Mexico

City and Regional Planning Spring 2012 International Planning Colloquium

The Sustainable Rural Cities (SRC) Program is a Chiapas state government initiative that aims to combat population dispersion and poverty through the relocation of poor households from isolated rural localities to newly built rural cities. The SRC sites are designed to deliver improved access to health, education, and basic urban infrastructure services for poor households, including the provision of income-generating opportunities. However, the SRC Program has received widespread criticism from NGOs and researchers both within Chiapas and abroad. Focusing on the second SRC site at Santiago el Pinar, a team of five graduate students from the International Planning and Development Workshop (CRP 5076) traveled to the region in fall 2011. The team analyzed the SRC Program and conducted research on the extent to which the SRC Program is consistent with the U.N. framework of economic, social, and cultural rights. The talk is based on their final report, titled “A Rights-based Analysis of the Sustainable Rural Cities Program,” which focuses on the three central tenets of the program: governance and social services, physical infrastructure, and economic viability.