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The Lack of Trees in Poor Urban Areas of Latin America

Published June 13, 2022 in Health & Safety - 0 Comments

When you live in Mexico City and other parts of Latin America, one thing you notice between urban rich and urban poor areas is the amount of trees.

How green the area is.

Generally urban poor areas have basically few trees compared  to urban areas that are not relatively poor.

A correlation between the wealth of said urban area and how green it is.

In Coyoacan of Mexico City -- which is an area well known for how green it is with all its parks -- one can see this difference depending on what part of Coyoacan you are in.

If you are hanging around the Center of Coyoacan, you'll see way more parks and a lot more trees than if you go to the south by around Copilco El Alto or Pedregal de Santo Domingo.

And it again comes down to how poor the area is.

It reminds me of this tweet I saw the other day that I thought was kinda funny as you can see here.

In reality, it is like that.

Now, as I said in response to the tweet, the "unaesthetic" aspect of the areas like this does grow on you over time after you've been here long enough.

In a very weird way, you do appreciate it more.

But, no matter how much it grows on you, objectively speaking everyone would agree that more trees in said areas would make them look nicer.

And it's a question too: why do said areas have less trees when they are relatively poorer?

Well, to be fair, I don't know 100% of the reason why but I have heard explanations for this and so I'll do nothing more than to simply explain the reasoning I have heard over the years.

Why So Green?

So let's get to it.

First, as I wrote here, sometimes you have the influence of businesses in rich and poor areas that want to cut down the trees in front of their property.

Here's a video of such below.

Second, another issue is that sometimes people extend their property to basically the sidewalk and naturally would not want or respect any trees outside the house.

Perhaps having a "mini garage" of sorts extending into the sidewalk or whatever.

Third, poorer areas tend to have less regulations enforced in regards to urban development (where said laws do require x amount of trees but that isn't respected and enforced).

Fourth, I have heard some jokingly say that having more trees would block the view of political propaganda put on the streets.

I could see that actually.

Fifth, people in poorer areas tend to have bigger priorities to focus on than the amount of trees and have less fucks given about how green the area is versus other concerns they have. Also, I've heard some folks call them "mal educados" or "mal criados" and that's why they don't want a greener area.

Sounds classist on the second point but I get where they are coming from with the first point.

Sixth, on that last note, sometimes a Mexican might get rid of a tree because of concerns it "creates garbage" with leaves, fruits, etc.

Seventh, sometimes blame is put on poor city planning by the local government too when promoting urban development somewhere.

Like how you see the settlers in a "barrio popular" or "barrio joven" having to handle the services of water, gas and whatever else instead of the local government.

Imagine then what work can be done in regards to trees or making the area green.

Same people will try to maximize the space they can get out of the building they live in and that means cutting down trees.

Eighth, trees cost money to maintain. Poorer areas have less money invested in them.

And you need plenty of water too. In places like Mexico City, water can sometimes not always be very abundant and obviously less of it is going to maintain trees in poor areas.

Ninth, I've heard that certain areas like in poor areas of Neza or elsewhere have had such poor urban planning that supposedly some trees have fucked with power cables and so cutting the trees down made sense in the moment.

Anything to Add?

That's all I got to say for now.

There might be other explanations and obviously

As a foreigner, obviously I don't understand every single detail and there might've been some minor things I missed.

If you got anything to add, drop a comment below in the comment section.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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