Last month, while exploring the historical centre of Mexico City, I came across a stunning example of an outdoor green wall – in an alleyway. Planted with sedums, sempervivums, vines and flowers, the warm climate allowed for a diverse range of species, and the wall was thriving.
Though local restaurant owners told me the green wall had been built by the municipal government, there was no information posted about it’s design or purpose. It was likely built as part of Mexico City’s Plan Verde. According to the municipal government website, Mexico City has plans to attack the issues of air quality, water scarcity and climate change though a series of ambitious projects. Green walls and roofs are one aspect of the plan, but the idea has been controversial because of the high cost of green roofs. Plan Verde also includes plans for new bus and subways lines and extensive bike pathways.
The plants were in what looked like heavy duty nursery containers attached to the wall. They were watered daily via a hidden irrigation system.
The wall was really surprising in the heart of a city renowned for it’s smog, but the people working and eating around it didn’t show much curiousity, and no one seemed to know why it had been built in a small back alley near Avenida Cinco de mayo and Calle Palma. It’s too bad that the Mexico City government hasn’t put any signage near the green wall, as it would be a great opportunity to educate people about sustainable technologies. However, it looks as though environmentalist’s worry that Plan Verde would be stymied by “lack of public outreach” could be valid.