The gentrification of Oaxaca by foreigners worrying

A study by the Congress of Oaxaca indicates that although tourism boosts the economy, in the capital’s neighborhoods it leads to increased costs for housing, food and more, in addition to degrading traditions.

The gentrified municipalities of Oaxaca focused on attraction tourism for economic and market purposes, without considering its serious effects, placing economic interests above social values, according to an analysis of Arturo Mendez Quiroz and Mario Samuel Ceballosof the Center for Social Studies and Public Opinion of the Oaxaca Congress.

In the report, it is noted that the regulation of these neighborhoods is focused on encouraging tourism and land use change, without considering a new approach to sustainable tourism.

To date, he points out, there are also no regulations on temporary accommodation via digital applications.

“This was largely due to the conditions of the city’s tourist offer, after being declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanityan improvement in living conditions and general appearance was achieved, as well as an increase in costs.

The study indicates that there is gentrification in the city of Oaxaca, particularly in the neighborhoods of Xochimilco and Jalatlacoas well as in the Tourist area Macedonia Alcalá.

These places have undergone enormous changes, both in the image of the buildings which were dwellings or workshops and today restaurants, cafes, shops or accommodation services.


Excessive growth

22,659 foreign immigrants reside in Oaxaca, equivalent to 0.55% of the state’s population. This is a 403% increase over what was recorded in 2000.

The main countries of origin of migrants are the United States, Honduras, and Guatemalaaccording to the Statistical and Geographical Yearbook by Federal Entity 2020, from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography ( Inegi ).

In addition to this data, the number of real estate and rental services in the state was 1,630; hotel, motel or similar rooms at 572 thousand 811, hotels, motels and similar at thousand 490; temporary accommodation and food and beverage preparation services, 35,120 and 1,831 temporary accommodation establishments.

The researchers point out that we often talk about the advantages and the great attractiveness of these neighborhoods, without taking into account the general problems caused by gentrification, such as the separation of the first inhabitants, change spaces and excess increase in prices. .

“Sufficient steps have not been taken to reduce it or to prevent its spread to other areas of the city.”

For example, in the Barrio de Santo Tomás Xochimilco in Oaxaca City, they explain that new people have become residents with investment intentions. This has resulted in the opening of restaurants, shops, cafes and other regional and/or sustainable establishments.


Arturo Méndez and Samuel Ceballos point out that in this neighborhood housing costs have increased significantly, as well as items on offer, in addition to the typical traditions have been demeaning and those who continue to practice them have become part of the background. Moreover, the old historical sites are part of the transactions, they are modified and carry out different activities.

“In the same way, the facades have undergone severe modifications; which can even be considered as transgressors of the original architectureregardless of improving the image of the urban landscape,” they mention.

Something similar is happening in the Jalatlaco district, when real estate agents began to take over sites there, finding a significant number of uninhabited houses, which were renovated and put up for sale or rented for a new type of residents.

Culture degradation

“The tanneries of yesteryear are now occupied by hotels, inns, gourmet restaurants, shops, and the houses have turned into numerous cafes. Streets and facades have been used for international promotions, such as in China, France and Japan. He even achieves a nomination awarded by Free time magazine in 2020, as one of the 50 coolest places in the world, through a survey of 27,000 global tourists,” they explain.

According to the study, the older population of the Jalatlaco neighborhood is small and in general terms has a small number that does not exceed one thousand people. While the price of real estate and rents have increased considerably, and despite the beautification of the premises, there is a deterioration of the cultural and traditional aspects of the district.

“The case of the artist Demetrio Barrita, who in 2001 paid a thousand pesos for his shop, and saw how in fifteen years it grew to ten thousand, this led him to abandon it. The same place, in 2021, it was already rented for 20 thousand pesos, figures that can be considered very exorbitant”.

For the authors, speaking of gentrification as a social phenomenon makes it mandatory to examine its negative effects, such as Pollution the physical environment, noise, deterioration of the urban landscape, changing weather conditions, rise in food and housing prices, work insecure, insecure, business trip and symbolic dispossession.

The other side is that it encourages tourism and with it the growth of local businesses, the revaluation of properties, the revaluation of environments and traditions, the creation of jobs, the improvement and cleaning of public spaces.

Nevertheless, they warn that there is an urgent need to talk about national and state regulations that “guarantee the balance between urban development and the protection of the natural, historical, social, architectural, cultural and artistic heritage, preventing segregation and exclusion territory, and in turn favor the social production of housing to ensure the social functions of the city in good intelligence”.

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