Sandra L. LÓPEZ VARELA
(Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico)
Keywords: Heritage, Preservation, Planning, Development, Mexico
“Alternative Mexico” is a mobile application drawing from the need to preserve and promote contemporary heritage resources that are of great value to Mexico’s citizens. Mexico’s heritage is preserved in terms of its monumentality, its relevance to the history of the nation, and within the aesthetics of Mexican nationalism. Infrastructure building and promotion of urban lifeways to modernize and strengthen Mexico’s economy, has resulted in the appropriation by its citizens of modern spaces, with the inevitable creation of new heritage values. These new heritage resources oppose the national definition of cultural heritage and are the main the main source of conflict during infrastructure planning and building.
How to effectively connect new heritage values to the national heritage preservation model and, at the same time, convey this rich and varied cultural heritage to those involved in planning and building for their preservation and to those visiting Mexico is the concept behind the design of this easy to use web-based (mexicoalternativo.com.mx) mobile application for iOS and Android platforms What makes us different is how we have built its contents, through a strategic alliance with Mexico’s citizens as part of a value chain teaching-research transfer. Students interview their neighbors within 1 km in diameter and research the area. The website and the app give the user the opportunity to add a place of interest by filling up a simple form, even loading a photograph.
The App is entertaining and educational. The application takes you to a menu listing the areas where heritage resources have been recorded. Clicking into the selected item takes you to an active or an offline Google map, pinpointing each heritage resource, displaying a simple and engaging text in Spanish and English, and a photograph or you can simply direct yourself to that point and visit it directly.