Guadalajara: The Booming Tech City

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico — “Silicon Valley de México” is Guadalajara’s new nickname. This second largest city in Mexico, and the capital city of the western state, Jalisco, Guadalajara finds itself as the cornerstone of Mexico’s technological development.

In 2014, Digital Creative City, or CCD, opened its doors to the community and the globe. Digital Creative City is a “place designed as an ideal environment to create, to generate knowledge, foster talent, and immerse yourself in new technologies enhancing your quality of life and your potential for the development of innovative ideas.”

Its founder and architect, Carlo Ratti, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, sees a future wherein Mexico becomes a leader in establishing a strong creative urban environment in Latin America. Its master plan concentrates in the following areas: urban design, infrastructure, mobility, environmental sustainability and technology.

The project expects to create 15,000 jobs in the technology and creative sector, particularly targeting graduates from universities. It is looking toward the future but not entirely beyond its borders. 34 percent of Guadalajara’s population is between 15 and 34 years of age. In this way, CCD truly is an investment.

In August 2014, Mexico’s Secretary of Economic Development, José Palacios Jiménez, announced Guadalajara as the second best city to invest in Mexico after the Valley of Mexico. CCD has attracted 261 companies with direct foreign investment. Additional, and highly crucial, support comes from ProMéxico, an entity that encourages foreign investment, and the Ministry of Economy. The information and communication technologies sector grew by 8.3 percent between the years of 2007 and 2012. Furthermore, 40 percent of this sector is in the city of Guadalajara. The city also provides free Wi-Fi in public spaces (over 151 points of access throughout the city).

Progress Not Complete

However, this technology boom does not touch the lives of all community members of Guadalajara and the rest of the state of Jalisco. In February 2015, the state Governor Jorge Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz, announced that in conjunction with SEDESOL, the Secretariat of Social Development, they would combat the poverty that affects 597,696 people in Jalisco.

This announcement was made to honor February as the National Crusade Against Hunger month. The National Crusade Against Hunger is a program started by the Mexican federal government under current President Enrique Peña Nieto in January 2013. This national program aims to coordinate with state and local governments and non-governmental entities to combat hunger and assist the approximate 53 million Mexicans who live in poverty.

As CCD has recently started, it has not yet come to light whether the urban technology environment can directly alleviate poverty. However, Guadalajara has been placed on the map as a city in which to invest. Guadalajara has attracted foreign investors and is highly supported by the government through this project. In conjunction with poverty alleviation efforts with the National Crusade Against Hunger, the city of Guadalajara is a city that is headed toward a path of progress.

Courteney Leinonen

Sources: America’s Quarterly, Digital Creative City, El Pais, Guadalajara, GDL Free, Informador, Jalisco, UNDP

Photo: Flickr

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