UCL Institute of the Americas


Fernando Gutiérrez Hernández

Attachment and memory: urban regeneration and the Alameda Central in Mexico City’s historic centre


Professor Paulo Drinot and Professor Ann Varley (UCL Department of Geography) | primary supervisors

Dr Kate Saunders-Hastings | secondary supervisor

My PhD seeks to evaluate the effects of regeneration policies on historic areas in Mexico City. I present evidence from the ongoing process of urban regeneration and conservation of the Historic Centre of Mexico City (historic centre) and the Alameda Central (the oldest public park in the continental Americas, planned in 1592). In the historic centre, conservation of urban heritage includes urban regeneration policies, which covers the effect of gentrification and social displacement. Urban regeneration strategies in the historic centre have been widely criticised for leading to social exclusion and gentrification, favouring private capital investment, ‘entrepreneurial urban governance’ and forms of ‘neoliberal urbanism’. The effects of regeneration and conservation policies have become more evident in historic public spaces, which bring together a range of social groups and different populations.

Recent urban scholarship has given much attention to the negative impacts of both regeneration and heritage conservation policies in the historic centres of Latin American cities. However, relatively little attention has been given to a long-term perspective on what happens after historic centre regeneration: what kind of populations occupy historic places after urban renewal, and what activities take place in historic public spaces after urban revitalisation.

Awards | Grants | Scholarships | Funding

CONACYT (Mexican Council of Science and Technology) ‘Studying Abroad Fellowship’, award number: 474519.

UCL - CONACYT Graduate Fellowship.

Conference papers and presentations

  • ‘Emergency’ (London, UK, 17 December 2020) UCL Urban Laboratory | Title: ‘The lockdown of public spaces in Mexico City and Veracruz during the COVID-19 pandemic’
  • ‘Urban Knowledge Production from the Region’ (Bremen, Germany, 19-20 October 2020) Conference of Latin American Urban Research in Dialogue | Title: ‘The lockdown of public spaces in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic: Social, economic and spatial consequences’
  • V Biennial Conference: ‘FUTURES’ (London, UK, 26-30 August 2020) Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS) | Title: ‘Experienced-Heritage: Everyday life in the Alameda Central in Mexico City's historic centre’
  • II Congreso Iberoamericano de Historia Urbana (Mexico City, Mexico, 25-29 November 2019) Asociación Iberoamericana de Historia Urbana | Title: ‘Public Space and social segregation: The Alameda Central’ (presented in Spanish)
  • ‘Urban Renewal and Resilience: Cities in Comparative Perspectives’ (Rome, Italy, 29-31 August 2018) European Association of Urban History (EAUH) | Title: ‘Urban revitalization with traditional tropical rhythms in the Port of Veracruz, Mexico’ (With Törmä, I.)

Publications / Research experience

Book chapters

  •  Törmä, I & Gutiérrez, F. (in press, 2021). ‘Observing attachment: understanding everyday life, urban heritage and public space in the Port of Veracruz, Mexico’. In R. Madgin & J. Lesh (Eds.), People-Centred Methodologies for Heritage Conservation: Exploring Emotional Attachments to Historic Urban Places. Oxon: Routledge.
  • Gutiérrez-Hernández, F. (2018). ‘Consumo Sostenible en el Espacio Doméstico’. In M. Cortés (Ed.), Los Principios de la Sustentabilidad en la Planeación y el Desarrollo de la Tecnología: Vivienda y Transformación Urbana. ITESO: Tlaquepaque, Jalisco. Pp. 135-155. ISBN: 978-607-8528-66-0.


  • Gutiérrez, F. & Törmä, I. (2020). Urban revitalisation with music and dance in the Port of Veracruz, Mexico’. Urban Design International, 25(4), 328–337. doi.org/10.1057/s41289-020-00116-8.
  • Gutiérrez Hernández, F. (2018). ‘El espacio público desde sus posibilidades y resistencias: la Alameda Central’. Revista Política y Cultura, 0(48), I-XVI. ISSN: 0188-7742.
  • Gutiérrez Hernández, F. & Törmä, I. (2017). ‘Infra-ordinario. Una descripción del espacio público en el tiempo’. Bitácora Arquitectura, 0(35), 4-15. doi: dx.doi.org/10.22201/fa.14058901p.2017.35.59.
  • Gutiérrez Hernández, F. (2016). ‘De la casa a los espacios íntimos a partir de la descripción fenomenológica de Gaston Bachelard’. Bitácora Arquitectura, 0(32), 68-73. doi: dx.doi.org/10.22201/fa.14058901p.2016.32.56194.
  • Gutiérrez Hernández, F. (2015). ‘Mecanismos de Poder y Control. El Panóptico de Bentham bajo la interpretación de Foucault y Lacan’. Revista RUA, 0(13), Universidad Veracruzana. ISSN: 2007-3992.


At University College London:

AMER0053 Research Methods (PGTA 2020-2021)

BPLN0042 Urban Design: Place Making (Tutor 2021)

BPLN0005 Plan Making Studio I (Tutor 2021)

BPLN0051 Sustainable Urban Design (Tutor 2019 and 2020)

From 2018 to 2021, I have been invited as guest lecturer, speaker or participant in studio crits at the Welsh School of Architecture – Cardiff University (UK), Universidad Iberoamericana (Ciudad de México, México), Universidad Internacional SEK (Quito, Ecuador). From 2016 to 2019, I was full-time lecturer and researcher at Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México in the Department of Architecture and Urbanism, where I continue collaborating in research projects. I also taught urban and architectural design studios at Universidad Anáhuac México (Campus Norte and Sur) from 2014 to 2016.

Prize and commendations

  • 2020 – 2022: Advisor of public space at the City Space Architecture organisation (http://www.cityspacearchitecture.org/)
  • 2020 – 2021: Fellowship holder of the Programme ‘Young Artist’ | National Fund for the Culture and Arts (FONCA) Mexico and PECDA Veracruz | Project title: ‘Public space and memory’
  • 2013: Honour mention in the XII Mexican National Biennale of Architecture | Category: Research | Title: ‘Mapping flooding disasters in Veracruz’ | National Fund for the Culture and Arts (FONCA) Mexico | Title: ‘Urban agriculture and shelters in Veracruz’
  • 2010 – 2011: Fellowship holder of the Programme ‘Young Artist’


UCL Urban Laboratory

Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS)

Society of Latin American Studies (SLAS)

European Association of Urban History (EAUH)
City Space Architecture organisation