Leading Mexican architect and landscape urbanist Iñaki Echeverria just shared his newest project with us, which when completed, will be the largest urban park in the world. Dubbed El Parque Ecologico Lago de Texcoco (Texcoco Lake Ecological Park), the wide, open development is envisioned as a green urban landscape integrating wetlands, lakes, and public space in Mexico City. The planned lake restoration is a massive undertaking as it will encompass more than 35,000 acres of space – which is 41 times larger than New York’s Central Park.
Echeverria hopes that the area of the central Mexico City valley once covered by Lake Texcoco can be reclaimed to create a new urban landscape that combines nature with infrastructure. The area of the planned park was historically covered by Lake Texcoco and other small bodies of water. In fact, the Texcoco region has been engineered by humans for centuries as dikes and canals were built to channel Mexico City’s water and lakes as early as the 1400s under Aztec Emperor Montezuma. One of the goals of the Lago Texcoco Park is to create a resilient and sustainable green border to the massive growth that Mexico City has experienced (the population has grown from 3 million in the 1950s to more than 20 million today).
In keeping with these goals, the urban engineering project proposed by Echeverria and his team draws upon a long history of landscape engineering in Mexico City. The Texcoco park project will become the largest piece of green infrastructure in the Mexico City Valley, while simultaneously drawing attention back to a largely abandoned area of the city. The project envisions creating lake, wetland, meadow and forest habitats, along with community gardens and will also include renewable energy installations such as wind and solar and an integrated transit system. In addition, Echeverria is designing a multitude of sports facilities, bicycle and pedestrian lanes, playgrounds, and visitor centers for Mexico City residents to enjoy when they visit Texcoco Park.
Also noteworthy is that one of the unique environmentally-friendly aspects of the plan is its waterscape. The park will include wastewater treatment facilities, wetlands and holding ponds that will function as part of a massive drainage system. Not only that but the green infrastructure of the park will enable it to act as a flood protection system for the urban landscape of Mexico City.