Oct 202016
 

Mexican market research firm Gabinete de Comunicación Estratégica polled 30,400 people across the country to compile its 10th annual survey of the most livable cities in Mexico. The survey was carried out by telephone between 30 June and 19 July this year. Respondents in Mexico’s 60 most populous municipalities and Mexico City’s 16 delegaciones were asked a series of questions related to quality of life and level of services provided in each city. [Given the sample size, at a confidence level of 95% the maximum expected error for each municipality was ±4.9%]

most-livable-cities

The survey looked at numerous variables to quantify “quality of life”, including housing, schools, mobility, air pollution and employment. The survey also considered satisfaction with services, and satisfaction with the performance of the city’s mayor.

best-living-in-citiesFor quality of life, the top ranking city overall, for the second year running, was Mérida (Yucatán), which scored 77.6 points out of 100, followed by Saltillo (77), Aguascalientes (71.6), Colima (70.9) and Campeche (69.8). Monterrey came in 12th in the survey rankings (see table), while Guadalajara placed in the middle.

The four least livable cities in the study were Villahermosa (52.9), Naucalpan (51.3), Chilpancingo (49.8) and Ecatepec (48.8).

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Three Mexican cities among the 100 most competitive cities in the world

 Mexico's geography in the Press  Comments Off on Three Mexican cities among the 100 most competitive cities in the world
May 072014
 

Three cities in Mexico – Mexico City Metropolitan Area, Monterrey Metropolitan Area and Querétaro – are included on the 2013 list of “The World’s Most Competitive Cities. A Global Investor’s Perspective on True City Competitiveness”, a report issued by Site Selection magazine in cooperation with IBM Global Business Services.

It is the first time the city of Querétaro (2010 population: 805,000) has been included on the list; Mexico City and Monterrey are old-timers on the list.

The 100 cities studied all have a minimum population of 1 million inhabitants in the local labor catchment area and attracted at least 25 foreign investment projects in 2009-2011. The study aims to rank the competitiveness of cities “to attract investment and international projects in various sectors”, and to identify those locations with the best combined “cost-quality” for particular types of investment project.

The report presents rankings and findings for five different types of operations:

  • International headquarters, coordinating corporate operations in a global region
  • Financial services center of competence
  • Software development center
  • R&D center for life sciences, combined with pilot production
  • Shared services center, providing support for corporate operations in finance, customer support, human resources or IT
Criteria used to rank world's 100 most competitive cities

Criteria used to rank world’s 100 most competitive cities

Rankings are based on 30 factors or parameters (see chart above).

The most competitive cities in the world were London, U.K. (score of 78.0), Singapore (78.5), New York City (77.4), Amsterdam (76.3) and Hong Kong (75.9).

Mexico City Metropolitan Area was ranked as number 57, with a score of 55.8. Monterrey Metropolitan Area ranked number 72 (48.2) and Querétaro city ranked number 90 (43.6).

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Apr 282014
 

Environmental noise is everywhere in Mexico, from traffic and fiestas to garbage collection and gas delivery. For more examples, see The distinctive sounds of Mexico’s towns and cities and The Sounds of Mexico. The traffic whistles made by police are an important subset of the sounds in any Mexican town or city. They have a mini-language of their own, explored in this MexConnect article: Did you know that different traffic whistles in Mexico mean different things?

This 3 minute Youtube video is a fun introduction to some of the Sounds of Mexico City though it must be admitted that some of the sounds are far more melodious than others:

Sounds and whistles may be very useful, but exposure to environmental noise can have deleterious effects on an individual’s well-being. Research in many countries has supported legislation to limit people’s exposure to loud noise on the grounds that such exposure can seriously damage health. Working days are lost and the resulting healthcare costs are considerable.

For example, a Spanish group, The National Association Against Noise Pollution, claims that the volume of music blasting out of automobile speakers makes many of that country’s younger generation “candidates for deafness”. The Association has lobbied for “coherent and efficient” legislation to prevent this modern urban environmental problem. It wants buildings with improved sound insulation and building codes which take account of the “sound maps” of each city.

Environmental noise, even if not sufficiently loud to damage our hearing, can make communication much more difficult, not to say frustrating, and can also interfere with our concentration, increasing the likelihood of potentially dangerous situations in the workplace or on the road. Excessive noise can increase stress and provoke fatigue.

What level of noise is safe? Three factors come into play. First, how intense, or loud, the noise is. This “noise level” is relatively easy to record and is measured in decibels (dB). The second factor is how long the noise lasts – the duration of any particular noise makes a huge difference to its effects on our hearing system. This is also relatively easy to quantify. The third factor – our individual susceptibility to noise – remains extremely difficult to predict in advance, meaning that noises that prove innocuous for some members of the family may permanently damage the hearing of others.

The following list indicates the peak decibel level (dBA) of various recreational and environmental noises:

  • Normal breathing: 10
  • Average home interior: 50
  • Conversational speech: 65
  • Vacuum Cleaner: 85
  • Lawn Mower: 95
  • Video Arcade: 105
  • Car horn: 110
  • Center of Guadalajara: 110
  • Screaming child: 115
  • Chain saw: 125
  • Automobile Stereo: 125-155
  • Fireworks (at range of 3 feet or 1 meter): 162
  • Hand gun:  165

This list clearly suggests that it is unwise to spend all day mowing the lawn or vacuuming your house, let alone using a chain saw or cruising the streets with your car stereo turned up high!

The World Health Organization (WHO) currently considers that 65 decibels (65 dB) should be the maximum noise level to which people are exposed for any prolonged period of time such as a working day. It estimates that at least 120 million people worldwide, mainly city residents, are suffering from hearing problems caused by exposure to excessive noise.

Mexico’s official noise norm NOM-081-SEMARNAT-1994 was first published in 1995 and follows the WHO guidelines. By comparison, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards are a maximum 8 hours exposure to 90 dB, 2 hours exposure to 100 dB, 1 hour to 105 dB or 15 minutes to 115 dB.

noise-chartIn November 2013, Mexico modified the technical details attached to its noise norm, and issued a new chart (see above) showing the maximum permitted noise levels in a variety of different settings. Note that the limits apply to “fixed sources” of noise, not to the occasional passing vehicle with loud-speakers!

The new rules are welcome. As John Pint eloquently puts it in New Federal Norms list decibel limits, this legislation “gives ordinary people a chance to defend themselves from Acoustic Terrorism.”

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Mar 172010
 

Geo-Mexico looks in some detail at air quality issues in several Mexican cities, focusing on trends in carbon monoxide, ozone and microparticulates (PM10) from 1995-2008. Among other things, it concludes that,

“As a result of aggressive government efforts, the quality of air in Mexico City has improved significantly. Since 1990 the number of hours that air pollution exceeded the city’s quality standard has declined by about two-thirds. Ozone continues to be a problem as do minute particulates under 10 microns (PM10), both of which can have serious health consequences.”

Mexico City air quality in 1980. Credit: Tony Burton

In the two years since 2008, the trend towards improvement of the air quality in Mexico City has continued according to this article which has appeared in numerous newspapers including the online version of The Independent, a UK daily.

That is very good news indeed. Hopefully air quality in all Mexico’s major cities will improve over the coming decade. When last we looked, Monterrey’s air pollution statistics were still headed in the wrong direction.