May 8, 2013

Houses, Mexico

Photograph by Oscar Ruiz, Your Shot

This Month in Photo of the Day: The Stories Behind Your Shots

A few years ago when I was working as a helicopter pilot for a local radio station, we were required to fly around all of Mexico City chasing news and traffic. I remember flying up to the highway that connects Mexico City with the neighboring state of Puebla, and on my way back this housing complex that seemed to go on forever caught my attention. I decided to circle around to observe from up close what I later found out was the recently built San Buenaventura complex, which is located in Ixtapaluca, on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City.

The exceptional afternoon sun reflecting those thousands of recently painted small homes just looked so beautiful, and the lower I flew the better the angle, so I just got out my camera, opened the sliding window on my Bell helicopter, and snapped a couple of shots. —Oscar Ruiz

(This photo was submitted to Your Shot.)

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67 comments
Laura Martínez
Laura Martínez

Hola Oscar, me encanta la fotografía por el color, la alineación, el que sea real... como alguien decía, parece de portada de Tintin. Me encantaría tenerla en mi salón en un tamaño grande. Me puedes decir cómo puedo hacerlo? Si puedo disponer la foto e imprimirla en una buena tienda de impresión, dependiendo de los megapixels podré ampliarlo hasta un determinado tamaño para no perder nitidez.

Me puedes escribir por favor a littlepcmai@yahoo.es, o contestar aquí, que ya veo has colgado un par de respuestas.


Saludos

Michael Grundling
Michael Grundling

Call me ignorant but why does the top floor room not have a roof on it?

Luisa Tonietto
Luisa Tonietto

chi vive in questo complesso non può assolutamente tornare a casa ubriaco ma forse nemmeno sobri è facile trovare la propria porta di casa...

Clyde-Austin Greer
Clyde-Austin Greer

To live in a place as industrialized and cramped as this town must be horrible. Nice colors though. 

Ken Albertsen
Ken Albertsen

Looks like something drawn by Tintin on mushrooms. If the Chinese built those places, they'd all be cinder blocks with no color. Whether Chinese- or Mexican built, it's looks like it has no parks (not even a park bench), no libraries, no kids' playgrounds, no trees or bushes.  Nice looking pattern for a picture, but devoid of character as a place to reside.

Shannon T
Shannon T

Wow. How does anybody find their house in this neighborhood? It looks like a model that somebody created. Even the cars look like miniatures. Fantastic angle. Well done Oscar!

Eric B.
Eric B.

Nice photo though.

Immediately made me think of having to sing that dreadful song in grade school,

Eric B.
Eric B.

1962 ~ Malvina Reynolds

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,1
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one 
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky 
And they all look just the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.


Oscar Ruiz
Oscar Ruiz

San Buenaventura Housing Complex, which is located on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City, more precisely in Ixtapaluca, State of Mexico.  19°18.323'N  98°51.322'W. 


Jill Dunphy-Hanns
Jill Dunphy-Hanns

At least these people have actual homes.....not hovels as in some border towns. We're so spoiled, we look at them and go "ugh"......to these people who are thankful for whatever they have, they're probably mansions. Good picture!

K. Munro
K. Munro

I've looked at this photo several times today and I still can't get past it looking look a photo of a mock up of an architectural rendering of what is to be built. It's too perfect!

Manuel Francesco Mewes
Manuel Francesco Mewes

Nice picture. But still a construction mistake. I do not live in the unit look.

Xava Paredes
Xava Paredes

The style is original. There's a only idea

Robert Williamson
Robert Williamson

I think this is wonderful. Have you ever been to a third world country and seen the houses most people live in? This allows people the dream of a home. A home well built and not four wall and a corrugated metal roof. Also there is no planning consent in these places so build shacks and all different building making the landscape incredibly ugly with no proper roads. This is as lovely little community that even has water tanks to collect rain water. I wish there were solar power too and it would be a perfect place for people to start a family.   

Robert Williamson
Robert Williamson

I think this is wonderful. Have you ever been to a third world country and seen the houses most people live in? This allows people the dream of a home. A home well built and not four wall and a corrugated metal roof. Also there is no planning consent in these places so build shacks and all different building making the landscape incredibly ugly with no proper roads. This is as lovely little community that even has water tanks to collect rain water. I wish there were solar power too and it would be a perfect place for people to start a family.   

Adam Pinkham
Adam Pinkham

This is one of the ugliest and saddest things I have ever seen.  "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -forever." -George Orwell

Shabbir Ahmad
Shabbir Ahmad

Nice picture.  For a moment I thought these were toy houses.

Jude Jackson
Jude Jackson

@Marco Acuña That reminds me of when Stewart Brand was invited to Britain to talk about prefab housing. There was a big population boom in England and there was a big debate over whether they should use prefab, and if it would hurt England's character. A lot of passionate politicians pulled up photos of Levittown, Pennsylvania, to illustrate the horrors of prefab, with rows and rows of identical houses.

Stewart Brand got and pulled up the same photo of Levittown, and agreed that on the surface it all looks very bland and samey, but only from a distance. When you go inside, the homes in Levittown came with a few alternate floor plans, and a prefinished first floor, but the second floor was free for the owners to do whatever they wanted. By necessity they were restricted to a certain specific house plan, but beyond that they were free to do whatever they wanted and express their individuality within a community.

He then contrasted that with the gated community model, where every house is different and rustic and luxurious, but at the cost of personal agency. In gated communities, to maintain optimum property values, very strict codes are put in place defining exactly what plants you can grow, how much your lawn needs to be trimmed, what objects can be seen from the road, all the way down to what color curtains you're allowed to have. In exchange for a unique facade, you have to give up all your individuality.

All in all, I think this is an attractive regional take on the Levittown model. I like it.

Christina Cygnus
Christina Cygnus

Reminds me of the book a Wrinkle in Time, but perhaps it's just because it's newly built. With time I'm sure people decorated the homes more individually. 

What are the boxes on the roofs for? AC units?

Oscar Ruiz
Oscar Ruiz

@Laura Martínez siento mucho tardar tanto en una respuesta pero no habia visto tu comentario. Gracias por tomarte el tiempo de escribir, mi correo es: helipilot(arroba)mac(punto)com, saludos!!!


Miguel López
Miguel López

@Michael Grundling  That's because those are not rooms, those are spaces for placing water tanks (black things inside them) but have walls to prevent theft. 

And yes, those houses are real, I live in one like that xD

Sorry for my English!

Augustus Tiambeng
Augustus Tiambeng

@Eric B. 

I like this.  You think this came from one of the post-modern beatniks? If yes,

I'll keep this as a great example of that era. ...Still relevant though until today.

Oscar del Valle
Oscar del Valle

@Oscar Ruiz  


Hola Oscar,  Primero que todo excelente imagen, felicitaciones!... segundo podrías compartir tu correo electrónico o algún tipo de contacto? Este ultimo año me han escrito repetidamente pensando que te contactan a ti. Una razón es que la pagina de NatGeo el link de tu nombre lleva a mi perfil.  Saludos

Tim Reaus
Tim Reaus

@Oscar Ruiz I used those coordinates to pull it up on google earth... This area is now a blighted slum...  bars across all the doors and windows.. everything is covered in graffiti.. weeds everywhere.. houses falling apart.. the streets all have gates across them... people build chain link fence cages along the street to park their cars in.. 


It's a crying shame.  :(

Tim Reaus
Tim Reaus

@Jill Dunphy-HannsI used those coordinates in the previous post to pull this area up on google earth... This area is now a blighted slum...  bars across all the doors and windows.. everything is covered in graffiti.. weeds everywhere.. houses falling apart.. the streets all have gates across them... people build chain link fence cages along the street to park their cars in.. 


It's a crying shame.  :(

Tim Reaus
Tim Reaus

@Robert Williamson I pulled this area up on google earth to see what it looks like on street view. It's a complete shambles. It's run down, graffiti everywhere, the streets are lined with what looks like 10 ft. high chain link fence boxes where they park their cars to keep them from getting stolen, their homes are surrounded by bars and fences  to try and keep the thieves out.. the people who live there essentially live in wire cages like animals.

Alice Bluebirds
Alice Bluebirds

Not in every corner of the world people aspire to live in a "lovely little american community", which is unsustainable from every point of view. In this commmunity there are no services, and there is no need to say that this is not the way people in Mexico use to live. I've been to a conference and they were talking exactly about this project and of all the social probles thet rised in the "lovely little community". Plus,  it's an architecture and urbanistic nightmare.

Eduardo Macias
Eduardo Macias

@Robert Williamson The tanks are not to collect rain water.  In most places in Mexico water is not available all day.  Those tanks collect water when it is available from the Water Utility and release it to the house when there is not water comming from the network. 

Eduardo Macias
Eduardo Macias

@Ashish Bihani  It is not the Mexicam Dream.  They are called "Casas de Interes Social".  They are houses for very low income families, sort of the US Public Housing Program. 

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