Yesterday afternoon I took a long walk to the East, through the Chuminopolis and Industrial neighborhoods, or Colonias as they are known here, and came upon the magnificent old train station. The sign you can see in the foreground indicates that the Yucatan state government is sponsoring the building’s renovation and conversion to a University of the Arts.
Merida is composed of almost 350 colonias, according to the great map I found some weeks ago in the Centro tourist district. My apartment is located within Centro.
The street numbers often abruptly change at the boundary of a colonia, which caused me confusion when out walking around until I obtained the map. For example, yesterday I was walking East on Calle 47 which became Calle 13 at the boundary of the Colonia Chuminopolis.
Colonia Industrial, as its name makes clear, is composed of many industrial operations, with homes both humble and grandiose, interspersed and a large rail yard. Chuminopolis is residential, also containing a mix of the humble and grandiose.
Every neighborhood I’ve visited has shops mixed with residential. There are small gocery stores on almost every block, often operating out of the front room of a home, such as the one four doors down from my apartment. Cocina econmicas, or loncherias, are ubiquitous and also often operated out of the front room and/or front porch of homes. And there’s always a laundry or two nearby.
In the U. S. zoning is used in most communities to separate residential, commercial, and industrial uses. It works because almost veryone owns a car, or two or three. The Merida model, which enables folks to obtain the goods they need within walking distance, I think makes more sense and is certainly more environmentally friendly.