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  #101  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 2:08 PM
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niwell niwell is online now
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I imagine the differences in living in Mexico City vs visiting can be stark, but I'd still highly recommend going. We went a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it - easily one of my favourite short trips. At the time uber was shockingly cheap so we used that instead of transit, but at one point ended up walking 30 minutes to a place where an uber could easily get to (would have been stuck in traffic for just as long).

I'll say that the wide roads cutting through central neighbourhoods were terrifying to cross but luckily most of the places we went were within the residential street grid. I was far more scared of them then any potential crime situation!
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  #102  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 2:16 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
I'll say that the wide roads cutting through central neighbourhoods were terrifying to cross but luckily most of the places we went were within the residential street grid. I was far more scared of them then any potential crime situation!
Right, Mexico City is actually very safe crime-wise. It has the lowest crime rates in Mexico, very low murder rates, and is pretty much the only place in Mexico where the cops aren't ultra-corrupt. There are really no in-town no-go zones. Maybe Tepito, which is the traditional thieves/counterfeit market area, but I've walked around there, no issues. There are a few fringe shantytowns that might be shocking, but not dangerous.

I'd worry more about air quality and insane speeding taxis/motorcycles than criminals.

And yeah, Uber is still insanely cheap. I think regular Uber cars were like 150-200 pesos for a 10 km/1 hr in-town drive. So $7-$9 USD.
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  #103  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 3:40 PM
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Out of curiosity, how would major Latin American cities rank in general in terms of walkability?

It seems like - doing a quick Street View tour - all the South American ones are walkable (though some - like La Paz and Lima, are more functional than attractive). This is less true in Central America and the Caribbean.
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  #104  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 3:44 PM
Encolpius Encolpius is offline
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I lived there for three years. Don’t be dissuaded, but come and make up your own mind. Much of what Crawford says is true, and the Covid measures on public transport sound typically idiotic. His larger point, that Mexico City is ‘dysfunctional’ in ways most first-world cities are not, is hard to argue. But most people there don’t drive, and Mexico City is only actually difficult to get around in by private automobile. Most upper-middle-class residents feel as Crawford’s wife does about public transit. Hence their neighborhoods (some, not all) can be as car-oriented as Crawford describes. But if you can stand the noise and jostling on public transport and take the occasional taxi or Uber after the metro closes, you won’t have much trouble getting anywhere you’d want to go.

As for walkability, honestly. At the neighborhood level I’ve never lived anywhere that was more pleasant to walk around. Aesthetically it’s not Paris or Buenos Aires, but: great climate, lots of trees, amazing street life. Chilangos really live much of their life outside, in public, and they’ve made public spaces that are beautiful and well-inhabited. Lots of small parks, cafes, ubiquitous street food, and plenty of quiet streets in between the busy arterials. And it’s much easier to get around on a bicycle now than it used to be, from what I hear.
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  #105  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 4:01 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Out of curiosity, how would major Latin American cities rank in general in terms of walkability?

It seems like - doing a quick Street View tour - all the South American ones are walkable (though some - like La Paz and Lima, are more functional than attractive). This is less true in Central America and the Caribbean.
I've been to Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Brazil (if we're counting Brazil).

To me, BA and Rio were the only major cities with, say, "European" style walkability. Sao Paulo, Santiago, Mexico City and Bogota are dense but generally not very pleasant for walking, mostly bc they boomed at the wrong time, and the nonpoor tend to shun transit and typical urban norms.

Guadalajara is somewhat better than the latter but not quite as good as BA and Rio. Of course there are smaller historic cities, like Barranquilla, or Guanajuato, that are very walkable. Guanajuato is as walkable as Florence.
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  #106  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 4:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I've been to Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Brazil (if we're counting Brazil).

To me, BA and Rio were the only major cities with, say, "European" style walkability. Sao Paulo, Santiago, Mexico City and Bogota are dense but generally not very pleasant for walking, mostly bc they boomed at the wrong time, and the nonpoor tend to shun transit and typical urban norms.

Guadalajara is somewhat better than the latter but not quite as good as BA and Rio. Of course there are smaller historic cities, like Barranquilla, or Guanajuato, that are very walkable. Guanajuato is as walkable as Florence.
Santiago (de Chile) does a bit better than São Paulo and other post-war Latin cities, and it has the best subway system in South America (maybe one of the top 5 system in the Americas period). I agree that it's not to the level of Rio or Buenos Aires, though.

Also, ironically, São Paulo might be one of the least pedestrian friendly cities in Brazil. I've been to towns in Brazil that have better urbanity than most major U.S. cities.
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  #107  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 4:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I've been to Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Brazil (if we're counting Brazil).

To me, BA and Rio were the only major cities with, say, "European" style walkability. Sao Paulo, Santiago, Mexico City and Bogota are dense but generally not very pleasant for walking, mostly bc they boomed at the wrong time, and the nonpoor tend to shun transit and typical urban norms.

Guadalajara is somewhat better than the latter but not quite as good as BA and Rio. Of course there are smaller historic cities, like Barranquilla, or Guanajuato, that are very walkable. Guanajuato is as walkable as Florence.
A lot of these cities feel to me like supersized versions of Vancouver downtown and west end (which is a sea of condo towers). Sao Paulo being a less broadly affluent, gigantic incarnation of that.

All of which still have pretty decent vibrancy of course. Compared to many other cities in the world.
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  #108  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 4:32 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Out of curiosity, how would major Latin American cities rank in general in terms of walkability?

It seems like - doing a quick Street View tour - all the South American ones are walkable (though some - like La Paz and Lima, are more functional than attractive). This is less true in Central America and the Caribbean.
I'll talk about Brazil, as the only foreign Latin American city I know is Montevideo, which is very walkable.

I'd say Rio de Janeiro is very walkable. São Paulo tracks behind, with good walkability contained in pockets separated by autocentric sections.

São Paulo, however, is growing more and more walkable (and bikeable), specially after the last zoning changing in 2016, that once more allowed mix-used and more densification regardless the plot size. The new developments are much much better and there are ages since the last big highway, bridge, tunnel works on the city. Subway keeps expanding.

Outside that, you'll only have specific walkable neighbourhoods on the biggest cities Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Salvador, Recife. For the rest, you'll need a car to have a confortable life.
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  #109  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2021, 4:34 PM
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I found Vancouver pretty walkable. And basically no highways.

Vancouver might be superficially similar to South American cities with the skinny modern residential towers on platforms, but they really look/feel/function different at street level.

Vibrancy, to me, is a different discussion. Vancouver is walkable but not very vibrant. Mexico City isn't very walkable but is crazy vibrant. Probably too vibrant, if there's such a thing.
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  #110  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2021, 1:32 AM
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