Date of Submission

Spring 5-7-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Jeffrey Collins


Caricature, defined as exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics, has taken over the outskirts of cities across the country of Mexico. A landscape once characterized by intelligible urban form, architectural diversity, and walkability has been exchanged for walled in developments so poorly designed Levittown appears bespoke in comparison. But why Caricature? Simply, new residential developments value the erosion of public space, contiguous grids, and manufactured reliance on the automobile that is supported with a myriad of ill understood urban design elements inspired by American suburban design. With exaggerated features such as cul de sacs, gated entrances, and insular roadways these new residential developments sell the illusion of privacy and control while celebrating the privatization of public spaces and functions. These spaces create an orchestrated socio spatial segregation, blatantly attempting to create a city within itself. This systemic lack of interaction not only creates heavy reliance on the car, it also creates an environment in which the third place no longer has strong foothold. Mexican neighborhoods have traditionally valued mixed used development, public plazas and parks, as well as an interwoven unforced connection to the city surrounding it. The biggest issues associated with these developments lie within the lack of expandable grids, a focus on single use development, and a complete disregard for the role of third spaces in public life. In an effort to understand feasible solutions, urban analysis was completed of cities from the present to Mayan times. The purpose of these analysis was to synthesize elements that promoted sustainable and long term occupancy of these spaces which have been cared for through generations. Some of the most striking elements of successful neighborhoods was the value placed on developing public spaces activated through mixed used development all promoted through the use of an interconnected grid system. This allowed for a targeted approach at identifying characteristics which made public space relevant on a socio-spatial plane long term, which include accessibility, human scaled design, amenity, and safety. Further, understanding the role of block sizes, layouts, and roadway grids connections determined the impact of the neighborhood itself. It is through the extrapolation of these urban forms, blocks, and grids that modules can be made as a form of taxonomy for residential developments, and it is through the understanding of socio-spatial elements that new developments could once again find themselves eluding caricature.

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Architecture Commons