La Cuadra A.C. (Mexico City, Mexico)

North America
SSE Organisation
Urban regeneration
Social innovation
Sustainable Development
Disaster Recovery

We introduce one of our member based in Mexico City, La Cuadra A.C. and its initiative Huerto Roma Verde for disaster relief based on voluntary community participations. Below is a brief summary of Huerto Roma.

Huerto Roma Verde - community disaster recovery project(2017): Best practice of disaster recovery as part of community resilience from Huerto Roma Verde through the active participation by civil society and local actors against the natural disaster.

After the earthquake hit the central part of the country 19, September 2017, Huerto Roma Verde called on civil society to collaborate in the creation of an Emergency Help Center. The objectives were to offer immediate help to those affected by the earthquake, the areas that were developed and kept active in Huerto Roma Verde were:

  • Community kitchen and dining room
  • Temporary Shelter
  • Center for storing food, medicines, clothing, tools, etc.
  • Allopathic health care center
  • Care center with traditional medicine
  • Citizen intelligence panel (logistics and verification)
  • Sorting and organization area for collection shipment
  • Psychological assistance and emotional restraint
  • Child care area
  • Legal attention area
  • Registration of volunteers
  • Live music, film screenings and general entertainment

Aid was channeled to 44 municipalities, in the states of Oaxaca, Morelos, Estado de México, Puebla and Mexico City. It is estimated that there were 14,537 volunteers who, thanks to their participation, managed to activate and consolidate the different areas that were created in Huerto Roma Verde tackling the emergency caused by the earthquake. Since 19, September, 2017 Huerto Roma Verde had worked 24 hours during the first 9 days, and from September 29, continued working as a strategic aid collection center with established schedules.

a) Thanks to the citizen network of urban cyclists that was formed throughout the Mexico City, it was possible to take strategic help expeditiously, being able to transport medicines, food and rescue tools to the affected areas in the city, many of them in areas where conventional transportation could not arrive on time. From El Huerto, more than 7,500 trips were made by 1,500 cyclists brigades, a practice that was replicated in all the collection centers, thanks to the use of a suitable technology for mobility in the city. And also, thanks to the collaboration of neighbors, it was possible to transport aid goods through more than 550 trips by citizens and companies through lending vans and drivers.

b) Also the Citizen Intelligence desk that was created for the 19th of September in Huerto Roma Verde, managed to verify more than 480 deliveries which were delivered to the support receiving centers. The above was achieved and this system was replicated by other centers thanks to the citizen's effort to operate transparently and establishing itself as moral guarantors of its own management.

c) With the help of the community and restaurants in the disaster affected area, the kitchen was installed which prepared more than 7,500 foods that were consumed in El Huerto. These foods were prepared for the victims, rescuers and volunteers. In addition, more than 12,800 boxes of non-perishable food items were sent to the different disaster areas.

d) A shelter was also insatalled, offered temporary shelters to more than 167 victims during the first 9 days after 19, September, targeting different socioeconomic conditions, and particularly for those who presented conditions of vulnerability which required specialized attentions by doctors and volunteers.

e) In the Mandala (center of urban agriculture), where diverse vegetal species are cultivated, the childcare center was established in which 336 children and children of volunteers were acommodated and, in addition to providing them with psychological and pediatric attentions, all together enjoyed games, music, puppets, clown, opera, painting, film, storytelling, among other activities, all made by volunteers specialized in related areas.

f) Also medical and psychology centers were installed together and attended by 987 people. And vaccination brigades were coordinated, with the assistance from Ministry of Health, about 150 doses of tetanus toxoid were deployed between zone Cero of Alvaro Obregón, Eugenia, Gabriel Mancera, Huerto Roma Verde and Albergue in Tlaxcala 105. Also, an area of ​​traditional medicine was designated where it offered: acupuncture, massage, reiki, magnetotherapy and music therapy, which was attended by 380 people.

g) More than 150 citizens were organized and equipped with different rescue brigades with specialized equipment to assist different disaster areas, both in Mexico City and in other affected entities. An area of ​​lawyers was formed to provide assistance to the victims, which served more than 200 people.

h) For Huerto Roma Verde, the operation implied a challenge in the sustainable management, both in the treatment of water, as well as in the integral management of waste. Thus, a washing center was installed, avoiding waste generation, and waste separation area, organic waste was also composted. This improved the health and operation of the Orchard avoiding the generation of 5 tons of waste.

i) Huerto Roma Verde also formed a platform with more than 600 people dedicated to bioconstruction, ecotechnology, social integration and the environment. This network has already created several brigades of bio-builders that are serving the communities through the construction of temporary shelters.

All of the above is a snapshot of what organized civil society achieved in El Huerto, and which represents only one of the many examples of all the citizen's efforts that were undertaken throughout the country. The mobilization from the beginning went spontaneously, and as the days went by, the collective cell was organizing itself better and better. This shows that Mexicans are empathic, supportive and capable of responding to crises by generating models of self-organization and self-management to cope with emergency situations. The succession of natural disasters that the country has suffered and it undoubtedly affected the most forceful impact by the earthquake of September 19, 2017 invited us to reflect on the direction we want to take to rebuild the community.

"The lives of others that could have been their own", that feeling connected hundreds of thousands of people to create a new community occupied by Common Well-being. This situation opens an enormous opportunity to move towards growth models which are more harmonious with nature, empathetic, supportive and able to draw new directions, to move towards a condition of CIVILIZING beings. "THE EARTH WAS BROUGHT TO ACCOMMODATE THE HEART OF MEXICO" - Huerto Roma Verde 

- Resources:

- Project to be implemented in 2018: 2018 Huerto Roma Verde aims to conclude the development of "Local Market" together with the "Seed Value" Network, which is a local economy corridor, where merchants connect with local producers who share values and good practices that help the social, cultural development, human health care and earth care, where they will be using alternative values to generate economy while promoting a conscious trade and meeting socio-environmental needs.