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  • List of Abbreviations  vii
    Acknowledgments  ix
    Introduction  1
    I. The Making of a Metropolitan Environment
    1. The Porfirian Metropolitan Environment  19
    2. Revolution and the Metropolitan Environment  51
    II. Spaces of a Metropolitan Environment
    3. Water and Hygiene in the City  81
    4. The City and Its Forests  109
    5. Desiccation, Dust, and Engineered Waterscapes  136
    6. The Political Ecology of Working-Class Settlements  164
    7. Industrialization and Environmental Technocracy  193
    Conclusion  218
    Notes  235
    Bibliography  291
    Index  321
  • "For Mexicanists, political historians, urban historians, and historians of planning, I suspect, Vitz’s emphasis on the politics of planning and what it reveals about the Porfiriato, the revolution, and the Cárdenas years will be well placed."


  • "For Mexicanists, political historians, urban historians, and historians of planning, I suspect, Vitz’s emphasis on the politics of planning and what it reveals about the Porfiriato, the revolution, and the Cárdenas years will be well placed."

  • “Tracing the relationship of social and ecological change during Mexico City's crucial stage of development in the early twentieth century, A City on a Lake is the most compelling environmental history of modern Mexico City available.” — Christopher R. Boyer, author of, Political Landscapes: Forests, Conservation, and Community in Mexico

    “Matthew Vitz’s focus on how the relationships among Mexico City’s inhabitants and its ecology, the state, and developers played out in the process of urbanization is absolutely novel. To my knowledge, this is the first book to bring the generally rural-centered analysis of agrarian reform into the urban fabric, and its fusion of political ecology with a rich empirical history will be welcomed by Mexicanists as well as students of urban ecology and popular movements in Latin America. Conceptually and analytically complex, yet crisp and clear, Vitz's book offers us a new way to understand a familiar period in Mexican history.” — Vera S. Candiani, author of, Dreaming of Dry Land: Environmental Transformation in Colonial Mexico City

    “Based on exhaustive archival research and engaging theoretically with new scholarship in political ecology and urban environmentalism, A City on a Lake adds critical new dimensions to the history of modern Mexico. Matthew Vitz transcends arid dichotomies between urban and agrarian history, and deftly interrogates the once-sacrosanct watershed of the Mexican Revolution. Like few other studies, A City on the Lake demonstrates how ecological transformation and the struggle for environmental rights factored importantly into outcomes of the Mexican Revolution’s modernizing project of capitalist development. This exciting monograph should establish Vitz in the vanguard of Mexico’s and Latin America’s new environmental and urban historians.” — Gilbert M. Joseph, Farnam Professor of History and International Studies, Yale University

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  • Description

    In A City on a Lake Matthew Vitz tracks the environmental and political history of Mexico City and explains its transformation from a forested, water-rich environment into a smog-infested megacity plagued by environmental problems and social inequality. Vitz shows how Mexico City's unequal urbanization and environmental decline stemmed from numerous scientific and social disputes over water policy, housing, forestry, and sanitary engineering. From the prerevolutionary efforts to create a hygienic city supportive of capitalist growth, through revolutionary demands for a more democratic distribution of resources, to the mid-twentieth-century emergence of a technocratic bureaucracy that served the interests of urban elites, Mexico City's environmental history helps us better understand how urban power has been exercised, reproduced, and challenged throughout Latin America.

    About The Author(s)

    Matthew Vitz is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego.
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