The Utopias of Iztapalapa are a series of parks, social centers, learning & cultural centers, and sports facilities. The first opened just in 2019. Today, there are no fewer than 12 across the considerable landscape of Mexico City's most densely populated alcaldía.
The name "Utopia" stands for Units of Transformation and Organization for Inclusion and Social Harmony. (Unidades de Transformación y Organización Para la Inclusión y la Armonía Social). But of course, Mexico City's long history with Sir Thomas More's 1516 book began only shortly after the book was published.
Vasco de Quiroga arrived in Mexico City already in 1531, his head alive with ideas of how to interpret and implement More's ideas in a real way in the Americas. His first Utopic project was the Hospital of Santa Fe in the mountains to the west of the City. But Vasco de Quiroga went on, and further west, to support other ideas in social engineering and city building.
Before one condemns all social progress in the name of Post-Colonialism, one should consider that many of these early projects of Vasco de Quiroga are still alive today, more than 500 years later. Like the villages of Michoacán, many still centered around craft industries, the Utopias of Iztapalapa are centered around community learning, sharing, and doing.
Importantly, they're addressing the most pressing issues for area residents, in the form of women's centers, and places to address addiction and recovery. But they're also architectural and outdoor marvels. Many take advantage of a historic landscape that's only ever been glimpsed between buildings. Today, Mexico City is talking about the new Iztapalapa. It's still not the Utopia of hyperbole and 20th-century social engineering. But these 12 Utopias are bringing it that much closer.