Mexico City is the epitome of both all the potential and all the challenges that the city of tomorrow holds. As a megalopolis of the developing world, it shares many the problems that cities in Latin America, Africa and Asia are facing. But as the 8th largest city economy in the world, it also has the necessary infrastructure to create important experiments and become a city capable of prototyping, testing and implementing ideas that can later be exported to other cities. In that sense, Mexico City is the perfect bridge between first world and emerging world, since it is both a complex and enticing mix of both.
Throughout this development, Mexico City has quietly become one of the world’s most progressive and creative urban areas. Its energy continues to amplify as it embraces its density and cultural roots. Mexico City is getting bigger, more imaginative and sexier.
Despite the bubbling cultural scene and its inherent vitality, Mexico City faces many challenges, including an enormous health problem. Diabetes in Mexico is now the leading cause of preventable disease death in the country, and ninety percent of the cases stem from obesity. This has the potential to overwhelm the health system in Mexico in a decade if important measures are not taken.
If framed with such dire circumstance, the lifestyle changes necessary to combat this problem become overwhelming, and change becomes difficult. Instead, TED Senior Fellow Gabriella Gomez-Mont--in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of experts, including Pablo Landa, Clora Romo, Constanza Gómez-Mont & Taxidermie--plans to use the natural celebratory nature of Mexican society as a common (butt-shaking, earth trembling) ground for change: Dance as part of the solution, and as a way to get the conversation started in different corners and from different perspectives.
From older couples dancing salsa, to young people dancing techno, to children dancing cumbia or almost 14,000 people getting together to set the record for most people dancing to Michael Jackson's thriller, dance has always been part of Mexico’s social fiber. Gomez-Mont wants to concentrate that energy to tell the story collectively and use it to challenge a very real problem. “What if we could turn a whole megalopolis into one gargantuan dance floor, and promote an active lifestyle while having fun and taping into the playful, social and happily competitive side of the city?"
With the help of City 2.0, Gomez-Mont is creating a citywide dance competition that will be held both on virtual and real space. Propelled by the existing energy and culture, this event will promote dance as exercise while simultaneously starting a dialogue about health and vitality. The whole city will become a dance floor—the largest in the world.
This project bridges digital and physical space as it heightens awareness. Crowd-sourced entries of people dancing in all neighborhoods will be submitted for awards with the help of a new website and Gomez-Mont’s independent culture lab Tóxico, as well as Laboratorio para la Ciudad, a new creative urban think-tank that she directs and recently co-founded with Clora Romo. Social media will also allow people to vote and connect with other communities. Plus Mexico City's Government has been very open to new frameworks and to tackling city problems ingeniously, in collaboration with its citizens, helping spread good ideas throughout the city streets.
"I am intrigued by the idea that cities should not only house the human body,” writes Gabriella, “but also provoke the human imagination... this for me is the essence of City 2.0." With this mega dance party, Mexico City will be become a healthier urban playground, experimenting with new social scripts and other urban futures.
Mexico City- F. Enrique Camacho
Dance Hall- Stefan Ruiz