City of Mexico Resilience Strategy

Mexico City (CDMX), Mexico

The Resilience Strategy is a response by the City of Mexico (CDMX) to foster public policies that contribute to strengthening the city's adaptive capacity.

Resilience is built through an all-embracing process that considers the views of stakeholders from various levels of government, members of the scientific community, civil society, , representatives of the private sector, and multilateral and bilateral cooperative organizations. It is important to foster cooperation among these stakeholders through a coalition of organizations with shared goals and actions to build resilience. 

The Resilience Strategy drives an adaptive transformation by fostering a change of paradigm so that the development process transcends traditional frameworks to face complex problems and to design, modify, and implement public policies by cross-functional planning. To achieve this end, continuous learning and frequent review of plans and actions are required. The commitment to this type of learning and review is an acknowledgment of the seriousness of the city’s social-environmental challenges and the opportunities the city has to make real progress on sustainable social and economic activities that can transform its future.

This project has been chosen by Mexico City (CDMX) to be peer-reviewed in the frame of the Sustainable Cities Collaboratory: 


City information
Mexico City (CDMX)

Size and population development
2011: 20,446,000; 1990: 15,312,000; 2025: 24,581,000; 2010-2015: +1,49%/year

Population composition
54.78% Mestizo (Indigenous mixed with European), 22.79% European, and 18.74% Indigenous

Main functions
Capital City

Main industries / business
Financial and economic center of Mexico

Political structure
Mayor and City Council

Administrative structure
The city is divided into 16 administrative boroughs

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Background and objectives

The vision of the Mexico City government (CDMX) is to create an equitable society based on an all-embracing process in which various stakeholders, sectors, and vulnerable groups work together to combat the major challenges of the 21st century.

The city faces resilience challenges on environmental, social, and economic issues, given its geographic situation, the history of great social-environmental transformation, and social context. Having once been a lake, the city has become a megacity, one of the most populous on Earth. Rapid urban expansion and soaring population growth in the last few decades have added to the problems resulting from insufficient long-term planning and weak metropolitan coordination, making it difficult to monitor and track important regional issues such as water management based on a long-term sustainability perspective.

CDMX is faced with multiple risks, both natural and man-made, impacts (hydro-meteorological and geological) and tensions (inequity, poverty, climate change) that put the population, the territory and its ecosystems at constant risk. The CDMX Resilience Strategy is being developed to address the challenges facing the city through five pillars, or guiding principles.

The pillars will drive the implementation of actions to improve the adaptive capacity, disaster response, and infrastructure development of CDMX are:

  • PILLAR 01. Foster regional coordination
  • PILLAR 02. Promote Water Resilience as a New Paradigm to Manage Water in the Mexico Basin
  • PILLAR 03. Plan for Urban and Regional Resilience
  • PILLAR 04. Improve Mobility through an Integrated, Safe and Sustainable System
  • PILLAR 05. Develop Innovation and Adaptive Capacity

The goal of the Resilience Strategy for CDMX is to identify opportunities and define priorities for building city resilience. The strategy’s vision must be broad and ambitious to respond to the city’s existing challenges.

To address the main challenges, the Resilience Strategy incorporated five pillars, each of which has distinct goals, actions, and activities. To define the goals and actions for each pillar, certain overarching concepts were established.

  • PILLAR 01. Foster regional coordination

Vision: The ZMVM and the wider megalopolis operate under a regional institutional framework on key topics to maintain a common agenda and ensure shared responsibility in building resilience.


1.1: Create resilience through institutional coordination and regional strategic communication.

1.2. Guide and support regional projects that contribute to resilience.

  • PILLAR 02. Promote Water Resilience as a New Paradigm to Manage Water in the Mexico Basin

Vision: To respond to the risks and shocks associated with climate change and social and environmental pressures, and to ensure equity in water access and water security for all who live and work in CDMX, the city manages water resources in the Mexico Basin based on the principles of the Comprehensive Management of City Water Resources (GIRHU) process.


2.1. Reduce water scarcity and inequality access.

2.2. Promote sustainable use of the aquifer and contribute to water security planning.

2.3. Foster a civic culture on the sustainability of water resources.

2.4. Integrate a water sensitive approach to urban design through blue and green infrastructure.

  • PILLAR 03. Plan for Urban and Regional Resilience

Vision: All CDMX citizens have equal access to urban amenities, housing, green areas and public spaces; the environment is improved, and risks are mitigated through sustainable management of natural resources.


3.1: Increase spatial social equality in CDMX through programs and projects.

3.2. Protect Conservation Areas.

3.3. Reduce risk through urban and regional planning.

  • PILLAR 04. Improve Mobility through an Integrated, Safe, and Sustainable System

Vision: CDMX and the metropolitan area have an integrated mobility system that prioritizes public transportation over private vehicles and provides a safe urban environment for pedestrians and cyclists.


4.1: Promote an integrated mobility system that connects and revitalizes CDMX and ZMVM.

4.2: Discourage the use of private vehicles.

4.3: Create a safe and accessible city for pedestrians and cyclists.

4.4: Prepare the mobility system for the potential risks and effects of climate change.

4.5: Promote the use of data to improve decision making on mobility.

  • PILLAR 05. Develop Innovation and Adaptive Capacity

Vision: CDMX adapts to the impacts of climate change and responds proactively and innovatively to dynamic risks of natural and social origin.


5.1: Integrate the principles of resilience in public facilities, investments, and new strategic projects, and promote private sector participation in building resilience.

5.2: Promote community resilience through citizen participation, strategic communication, and education.

5.3: Review and adjust the regulatory framework to promote the implementation of adaptive measures

Financing and resources

The Resilience Agency, a decentralized agency of the Ministry of the Environment of the CDMX government is in charge of the implementation and financing of the Resilience Strategy .

However, before the creation of the Agency, the Resilience Office was supported by the 100 RC (100 resilient cities) initiative, who provided financing and technical assistance, access to the services of global organizations, opportunities to exchange experiences and best practices among member cities, and access to tools for building resilience

Results and impacts

The Resilience Strategy is a document that requires ongoing assessment that incorporates a learning process that allows for responses to a dynamic context. Due to the scope of a Resilience Strategy, this document could not include all the issues that might be relevant to building resilience.

Therefore, regular reviews must be conducted to ensure that goals and actions are evaluated and updated. An MRV(measurement, reporting and verification) system will be implemented to support regular evaluations, continuous learning, and reflection on building resilience, specifically for communities and vulnerable groups.

Barriers and challenges

Over time Mexico City has experienced a great social and environmental transformation, becoming the center of economic, political, and social-cultural activities in Mexico. A strong trend of population growth and expansion of its territory have given rise to pressing issues, such as intense demand for natural resources, inequality and social marginalization, informal settlements, waste generation, degradation of natural resources, and pollution.

These issues, however, have also generated a strong link between the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico (ZMVM) and the Megalopolis, due to increased collaboration and integration at urban, socioeconomic, and environmental levels in the region.

To build resiliency, the past must be considered so that risks related to the city’s history are better understood. For example, while the fact that most of the City is located on top of what used to be a lake must be considered, future scenarios must take into account the fact that social and environmental transformation continues to take place. Knowledge of both the past and the present is the foundation for a better understanding of the potential risks and unforeseen events that the City and its citizens may face.

Lessons learned and transferability

The 2017 Central Mexico (Puebla) earthquake struck on September 19, with an estimated magnitude of Mw 7.1 and strong shaking lasting for about 20 seconds. Its epicenter was approximately 55 kilometers south of the city of Puebla. The earthquake caused damage in the Mexican states of Puebla and Morelos and in the Mexico City (CDMX) area, including the collapse of 44 buildings and damage to more than 3,000 buildings in CDMX alone. Nearly 400 people were killed, including 228 in CDMX, and more than 6,000 people were injured. It’s well known that Mexico City is highly vulnerable to earthquakes. In 1985, also on September 19, an Mw 8.0 earthquake left between 9,500 and 35,000 dead in Mexico City, with 412 building collapses and more than 3,100 buildings badly damaged. In the aftermath of the 1985 tragedy, building codes were updated, an early warning system for CDMX was installed, and building evacuation drills were implemented. 

In mid-March 2018, 100 Resilient Cities, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, collaborated with the CDMX Resilience Office on a 3-day Network Exchange entitled “Building Seismic Resilience: Preparedness, Response, Recovery.” Chief Resilience Officers (CROs), municipal leaders, private sector partners, academics, and subject matter experts from around the globe were invited to participate and share their experiences and strategies for building resilient communities in seismically active regions. Cities and countries represented by their CROs and other high ranking officials included Vancouver, Canada; Cali, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador; Kyoto, Japan; Colima and CDMX from Mexico; Christchurch and Wellington from New Zealand; and Los Angeles and San Francisco from the United States.


CDMX Resilience Strategy

EERI report City Network exchange Mexico city "Building seismic resilience"

External links / documents