Since 2012, Mexico has been working on an ambitious structural reform agenda across various sectors to boost the country’s competitiveness and economic growth. Housing and urban policy is considered a priority within this reform agenda as authorities are hoping to reduce a housing deficit that affects roughly 31% of Mexican households.
This attention to housing and urban policy, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) recent urban policy review on Mexico, is unprecedented for the country, and differs from past approaches to housing and urban policy in that it is focusing more on qualitative housing and the environment as opposed to quantitative goals. Over 200 Mexican political figures, policy makers and academics attended the launch of the report. Speakers included INFONAVIT Director General, Alejandro Murat; Governor of the State of Mexico, Eruviel Ávila Villegas; and Mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Mancera. They were accompanied by the Minister of Public Administration, Julián Alfonso Olivas Ugalde, and Mexican Ambassador to the OECD, Dionisio Pérez-Jácome Friscione.
Urban Planning Professor Paavo Monkkonen has conducted extensive research on housing vacancy in Mexico, including two projects in collaboration with OECD and the World Bank. His work was cited heavily in OECD’s urban policy review, which generated over 30 articles in the Mexican press. The policy review discusses the role of large housing lenders in housing policy for Mexico, priorities that will make the country create more competitive and sustainable cities, and various reforms to urban governance that will improve housing and development outcomes. The issue of vacant housing received particular attention in the media.
Last year, Professor Monkkonen delivered a presentation at the Institute of Social Research of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City on the topic of housing finance in urban policy, which also received a lot of attention by Mexican media outlets. Monkkonen argued that the Mexican government’s support of urban infill and higher density development would only be achieved with larger and more comprehensive reforms of the Mexican housing finance system than those currently proposed.