viernes, 18 de noviembre de 2016

Urban Living in Colima. How it changed my preconceived notions in defining “City Living”.

I have lived the typical second generation lifestyle of being born and raised in the downtown core of a city, to then be forced to participate in the wave of mass suburban sprawl with parents wishing for a bigger home, a car dependent lifestyle, and dare I saw it “the all American dream.” Against this idea of suburban life, I have always made it a point to move back to the downtown core where walkability scores were high, transit plentiful, and I was immersed in the core of historical and cultural spaces buzzing with energy, restaurants, markets, shops, amenities and people.
This was my understanding of urban living.
So when I was given the opportunity to work in the City of Colima living within walking distance to downtown and where the office also happens to be, I jumped with excitement for a chance to continue my lifestyle in an urban setting. The thought of living in Mexico where I had quick access to events, an abundance of fruit stands and vegetable markets littering the streets at all hours, and access to all the amenities I was used to, only this time, it was going to be the “latin way” meaning, plentiful fresh fruits to my liking.
I was told Colima is “a small city” and though I was well aware of that, I continued to withhold the same preconceived notions of what I understood as a “city”.
To my surprise, my understanding of “cities” and “downtowns” happened to be the complete opposite once I’d arrived here. Yes, I live walking distance to the heart of the city, but the streets were sparse, if not mostly empty. You can easily encounter convenience shops every other block, but they weren’t the fresh fruit stands I’d been expecting. And for the most part, the downtown wasn’t this centre of exciting activity filled with people, restaurants, and an abundance of things to do.
Quite contrary, Colima operated a little differently. The general sentiments here are to avoid unnecessary walking due to daily temperatures of scorching heat. Historical and cultural spaces has largely been abandoned with the younger and mobile actively deciding to sprawl outwards ultimately relying on car ownership to get around. All the modern spaces, malls, and entertainment now reachable only via driving reserving the downtown area for a majority of retirees and pensioners.
Occupying the central area now are a mix of newly constructed, large-sized homes alongside smaller, decaying ones. Lining up the streets also lay abandoned colonial buildings with various neglected plots of land, beside homes that are converted to restaurants by day – everything is just a little random.
I found it interesting and eye opening with the realization these homes didn’t have setbacks from the walkway – a common guideline I was used to seeing. Rather, when you walk on the narrow sidewalk one can easily peek into each home to see homeowners laying in bed, watching tv, or cooking in the kitchen. It seems Colima happens to be a random mix of varying structures of height and width with no regulations on density.
Colima has helped shed light on how city centres and downtowns can have very different meanings depending on where you are. And it finally dawned on me that historically speaking, city centres were a place that witnessed its initial settlers. My preconceived notions of these spaces are based on more modern cities that have witnessed much of its regeneration process, and therefore depending on which city you’re in, there can be different connotations and perceptions to the term.
It’s interesting because everything I knew about “downtowns” have now been reversed. Living close to the centre I still reap the benefits of walking to necessary amenities, but beyond that if I’m seeking great products, services or restaurants, the need of a car is absolutely more desirable here. What was once a standard, leisure 30-40 minute stroll in Vancouver or Toronto is now an uncomfortable, sweat-drenched, heat-stroke inducing activity, deterring many from getting around unless they have a car.
And it is only now after living in Colima that I realize what the City is trying to achieve in rebranding and regenerating the downtown core. I’m understanding the reasons for opposing views as well as the City’s aggressive agenda to transition Colima to become a collaborative, smart city. There are certainly many challenges to overcome, but more than anything after only being here for a couple of weeks, I am empowered by the City’s objectives. I couldn’t be happier to be living here and a part of the process in witnessing Colima achieve its sustainable urban planning goals.
Ly, Wendy . 17 de noviembre de 2016. Urban Living in Colima. How it changed my preconceived notions in defining “city living”. Recuperado de: Sustainable Cities International Youth Internships

miércoles, 16 de noviembre de 2016

Cooperation in Colima

Por Ruth Casanova

I have just completed my first month here in Colima working at the IPCO office (Planning institute for the city of Colima). It has been a very welcoming experience thus far. My supervisor, coworkers, and fellow interns have gone out of their way to integrate me into the office and I can easily say I already feel confident making my way around the workplace.

                                                            Most of the currentl IPCO team!

A big part of the projects that IPCO has undertaken have to do with a wider goal to reactivate the downtown in Colima that has been abandoned and underused since a major earthquake in 2003. IPCO therefore has an agenda of several projects all linked to the economic, social, and cultural, reactivation of the city centre. Because it is a city planning office, these projects are linked to the ministry of culture, human resources, economics, etc. For that reason, our projects require ongoing communication and cooperation between a numbers of different actors. Learning about this process of cooperation has been a very interesting part of my first month here, along with my research for a potential city branding project.
My supervisor, Jesus Rios, nicknamed “El ingeniero” because of his endless knowledge on a range of disciplines, has been persistent about inviting us interns to attend all meetings that touch on any of the projects that IPCO is involved in the centre. Having sat in on a number of meetings thus far, I feel like I  have already  learned so much about the processes that take place in city planning, the obstacles, the public and private partnerships involved, and the interactions (often difficult) between the federal, municipal and city governments.
Palacio Municipal de Colima, located across the street from the IPCO offices, where they hold many of the meetings we sit in on. 

As IPCO continuously participates in sharing new initiatives and communicating advances in current projects, other offices of the municipality also present what they are working on and it is inspiring to see the will to drive forward the reactivation of the city centre working towards benefiting the wider public. For example,  the ministry of culture in our last meeting presented two of their upcoming cultural events that they are organizing in a meeting with merchants of the city centre. These cultural events take place over the course of several consecutive days in the various gardens of the city centre with the objective to attract people to the city centre to spend time, eat, drink, and drive foot traffic and therefore commerce in the area. These bigger cultural events are initiatives that are relatively new in the city since 2003 and are an exciting part of the city centre reactivation agenda for the year to come. I am looking forward to being in Colima and experiencing these cultural events first hand, not only to evaluate their success but also as a way of  further getting to know the city that I am living in for the next 5 months.

Most recently, I attended a meeting with other members of IPCO, with merchants located in one of the gardens in the centre one of the area we are looking to improve. The meeting was to inform and encourage the merchants on rebranding certain aspects of the physical appearance of the front facing part of their businesses. This has the purposes of unifying the businesses of the centre under one consistent color palette, theme, and image for the end goal of having a cleaner, more organized, attractive city centre. During the meeting, some of the merchants took the time to stop and thank the organizers for inviting them and including them in the discussion and decision-making matters that directly affect them and their businesses. That was very cool to see.
Jardín Libertad right around the IPCO offices. This is one of many gardens in the city centre.

Jardín Libertad is surrounded by Los Portales (sidewalk are with the archs) which holds many businesses with patios and umbrellas that we are looking to organize and rebrand. 

Casanova, Ruth . 15 de noviembre de 2016. Cooperation in Colima. Recuperado de: Sustainable Cities International Youth Internships

viernes, 30 de septiembre de 2016

Love, Idleness, and Proust

Por Cody Brooks

I first heard the Proust questionnaire three years ago while listening to an episode of CBC Radio One’s, The Next Chapter. It was a brief clip – perhaps 30 seconds long – and consisted of an unnamed French accented male voice interrogating a Canadian writer I can’t remember while minor piano keys rang ominously in the background. “What is the lowest depth of misery?” he asked. I don’t remember the answer, but the question stuck with me. “What is the lowest depth of misery?”

Over the next few months, I began tuning in to The Next Chapter more regularly. The guests were always an interesting assortment and the banter they shared with host Sheilah Rogers was consistently thought provoking. However, the part that I looked most forward to every episode was that dramatic, French accented voice, and his Proust questionnaire.

As I eventually learned, the decision to cast a French male in the role of interrogator was not likely accidental. Originally an English parlour game, the modern name and popularity of the questionnaire is owed to French writer Marcel Proust. In its Proustian form, the questionnaire consists of thirty-five questions, each devised to reveal the specific tastes, fears, and aspirations of the test taker at that particular moment in time. The range of questions is an interesting one, from the philosophically bent, “what is your favourite virtue?” to the peculiarly specific, “what is your favourite flower?”

Since I first heard those melancholic piano keys and that striking voice, I’ve toyed with the idea of completing the Proust questionnaire myself. Yet, for one reason or another, I never got around to it. At least until now. With my return to Canada now less than two months away, I’ve begun to reflect on my life abroad over the last few years; and in the spirit of reflection, I’ve sought Proust.

For the last week or so I’ve been working my way through the Proust questionnaire. Thus far, it’s been a cathartic, yet surprisingly difficult experience. Perhaps nowhere is this difficulty more evident than in my struggle with the question, “What is the lowest depth of misery?” Given that this is the first question from the questionnaire I’d actually heard, it’s also the one that I’ve had the most time to think about. Time, however, has not made it any easier to answer and, if I’m honest, this question is probably the reason that I’ve been so reluctant to start this project.

This reluctance has largely been the result of two observations: first, as should be clear to anyone reading this, I have not experienced the entire range of situations that are likely to produce misery in a human being, and so I cannot provide an authoritative answer by way of comparison; second, I’ve noticed that my answer is apt to change depending on my life circumstances. Of course, created as it were with the function of revealing information about one’s present mental state, answers to the Proust questionnaire are not supposed to be definitive. Still, though I recognize this, it’s been difficult to rid myself of the feeling that my answers are somehow inadequate. For this reason I’ve created a disclaimer that I’ve grown fond of repeating: these answers are personal, temporal artefacts of my present condition, and they are subject to revision as conditions change.

Right now, perhaps one of the most noteworthy conditions in my life is one of living and working in Mexico. While certainly there are other facets of my life at play, as I read through my answers to the Proust questionnaire it’s clear that many of them have been influenced by my experience here. Here are two of the more obvious examples.

miércoles, 7 de septiembre de 2016

Focus Groups 101: Get out the megaphone

A look at our project in Colima and some tips for designing and directing focus groups.

By Hannah Matthews

Over the past couple of months, Cody and I along with the IPCO (Institución de Planeación de Colima) office have been in the process of conducting a study on a local park, las Huertas del Cura. You can see Cody’s first blog post which discusses his original encounter with the park and the story of how Huertas del Cura came to be 5 years ago when another Canadian intern was working with IPCO. However, since that project, the park’s facilities and ambiance have steadily declined. The park is still in use, for football games, zumba classes, fishing in the small pond, and people just strolling and enjoying some time in nature. But these activities are limited because of how the facilities have been maintained and how this lack of maintenance has brought issues for the park’s environment. This is a troubling finding for IPCO considering it was one of the organization’s first projects to come to fruition. Cody was very curious about learning more about these problems and quickly gained the interest of the rest of us at IPCO into investigating possible solutions from this space.

We began our study by having different members of the team go to Huertas del Cura to document observations for an hour each during different times of the day. In my own observations, I noticed lots of transit through the park, people on their way to school or work. As well, many children came to play while adults came to exercise or walk their dogs. Some parts of Huertas del Cura still hold lots of life throughout the day but it also possesses spaces that remain untouched by most. I never felt comfortable walking behind the soccer stadium due to abandoned rooms where I observed drug usage, a space for the homeless, and overall state of filth from garbage and human excrement. This is probably the most extreme example of the disarray of the park but because of these conditions, the park has attracted petty crime and feelings of insecurity for its users.

These observations allowed the IPCO team to begin forming questions to ask the users about their experiences and opinions on las Huertas del Cura. During my Masters, I had directed my own interviews and focus groups which allowed me some background when creating these types of research plans. But in that case, I had easier access to my participants because I was working in the organizations where they were already involved and they had gotten to know me. In the case of the park, we were strangers asking people to speak with us. On a personal note, this was a challenge because I have difficulty engaging new people in discussion due to my own anxiety and feeling as if my intrusion might bother them. I had to overcome this anxiety very quickly when we began the survey portion of our research. Through both practice and self-talk, I completed surveys with Cody which proved to be great success in hearing about the neighbours’ experiences and opinions on the park.

Some points on surveys:
  • What questions do you want answered?
    • It’s good to have a project objective in order to form what type of questions you will to ask.
    • It’s also important to consider how you are going to design your questions. Open ended, tables with rankings, yes or no? There are multiple options to choose from. We did a mix of questions since ranking would allow for easier analysis of data as well as open ended questions so people could provide feedback and opinions that set questions would not allow them to elaborate on. Open ended questions added time to our surveys but helped us get detailed data.
  • How and when are you going to distribute your surveys?
    • This may depend on how big your survey sample is but our team decided to do surveys door to door. This had the advantage of making contact with people and getting the chance to personally explain our initiative. However, door to door takes up a lot of time. Even with a team of six people with 15 surveys each, it took at least an hour to complete five surveys.
    • Be strategic when choosing a time and place for your surveys. Because we were going door to door with neighbours, it was ideal to do our surveys before dinner time when people would be home from school or work. And because of the location in Mexico, we had to consider when people would be ‘out and about’ because of the summer heat.
    • Furthermore, the way in which the surveys are distributed may impact which groups of people are included or excluded in your data. We only surveyed the surrounding neighbourhoods however this could exclude other park users who do not live in the vicinity.
  • How are you going to conduct surveys in person?
    • Our surveys were part oral and part written depending on who we were talking with. We gave the option to people if they wanted us to recite the survey to them orally and write down their answers or allow them to complete the survey by writing the answers themselves. It is important to consider that some people may have trouble reading or writing, so in order to facilitate to their needs offer them alternative methods. However, it is also important to consider that reading surveys to them orally could cause people to respond differently since the researcher is present, which could alter their answers.
Despite the surveys being a time consuming activity, it was very rewarding speaking with neighbours about their perspectives on the park as well as learning more about Colima in general. Now onto… focus groups! This was my big part in the project as I designed the format for how it would be carried out. I wanted the focus groups to be dynamic and creative in order to ensure interest and engagement from participants. The following will give an account of our original plan for the focus group and then an explanation of how the focus groups were actually carried out.


Who to Invite:
  • We had a lengthy debate over how we would divide groups by age for each focus group. We ended up going with:
    • Ages 6-14 + family (5 females, 5 males)
    • Ages 15-29 (5 females, 5 males)
    • Ages 30-50 (5 females, 5 males)
    • Ages 51+ (5 females, 5 males)
  • When deciding based on age groups, a good guideline to follow would be government designations for age. But it’s also important to consider that following these age guidelines may not only always be the best categorization for your participants. For example, we categorized youth between 15-29 but it is possible that people of this age may not identify as a “youth”. It is important to consider how these designations represent each group.
  • When considering participants, it always important to realize power dynamics (whether it be age, gender, class, etc.) within these discussions may impact who speaks and what they say.
  • For the children’s age group (6-14) we decided it was essential for these participants to be accompanied by a guardian because they were underage. We planned on having two groups, one for the children and one for adults so both could participate while still ensuring the age groups for our data. Although this helped in terms of liability, this approach could limit the participation of some children in this age group depending if their guardians availability and the interest of these guardians in participating.

Where to invite:
  • We decided that having the focus group in the park and outdoors would allow participants to visually observe the space and would allow for more creativity in engaging them in their opinions by having them in the place of inquiry.
How to Invite:
  • We decided on inviting participants by distributing invitations in the park and the neighbourhood. We only wanted about 10 people per groups so we decided to distribute 25 invitations per focus group. We also gave 10 of these invitations to the local neighbourhood committee (they act as representatives of their neighbourhood in the municipality) to invite people they knew.
Focus Group Agenda:
Activity 1 – Mapping
  • Using a big map of the park, we asked participants to use 2 different coloured post-its to identify a) parts of the park they used and b) parts of the park they observe other people using. We thought this would be a good introduction to the focus group and have the participants visualize the park and think about how they use it and how they see others using it.
  • Then as a group, we would make a list of the activities for each space that was covered in many post-its, both what activities they liked to do and what they observed other people doing. Then we had them create a list of reasons why spaces without many post-its were not being used.
Mapping the park with post-it

Doing a walk around the park to mark off observations

Activity 2 – Walking Around the Park
  • Participants would be split into three groups (along with an assistant from IPCO) to do a walk around the park with a small map to mark off things that they valued in the park and things that were problems in the park.
  • Upon groups return have each group create a list of their findings.
Activity 3 – Future Ideas
  • To wrap up the focus group, each participant will receive a small outline of the map on paper and will be instructed to draw or write their dreams/wishes for new things they would like to see in the park. Each participant will have a chance to present their map and explain what they hope to see achieved in the park.
Discussing ideas for what the park could be someday

What actually happened…
  • Our focus groups were being conducted in August. August in Mexico is rainy season. So of course it rained 2 out of 4 nights at exactly the time we planned on starting. Although there is a community centre there, it was quite difficult getting in touch with who was in charge of the space which also delayed any make up events.
  • Lesson learned: have a back up when your activity is outdoors.
  • Although we managed to distribute the invitations quite successfully amongst park users and neighbours the days preceding, nobody who participated in our focus groups actually came to the event who had received an invite. We ended up just asking people who were already in the park to join our activity which affected our numbers.
  • Lesson learned: Check how people have been invited to past activities (such as a getting out the megaphone as suggested in my title) and how these were successful or not. Also make sure your timing for these events is strategic. We found out later many children and youth were busy until 7pm or so every night because that’s when school was let out.
Talking with a neighbour who happened to be walking his dog through the park

  • Depending on the people attending we had to change our activities and the agenda somewhat. Younger kids had a harder time sitting and doing our activities that involved lists. They were much more engaged when we let them colour their ideas on the map and when we were outside doing the walking activity (although being outside was also distracting because of other children playing nearby). For our focus groups where elderly or disabled people attended it was not possible to do the walking activity because of mobility limitations. So in that case, giving as visual map of the park worked as an alternative.
  • Lesson Learned: Be flexible! There are many different methods of finding data and you need to work with your group’s capabilities.
  • We planned a lot of these activities with the assistance of a municipal department. They aided in areas such as resources like chairs and tables as well as getting in touch with neighbourhood boards to promote our event. However, we did run into issues such as resources showing up late or not having enough. As well, we never heard from the neighbourhood boards regarding our event.
  • Lesson Learned: CONFIRMATION! AND REPEAT. Even if you seem like you’re bothering people it helps sometimes to give multiple reminders since sometimes things may be lost in translation or through the grapevine. As well, make sure you collect the contact information of every person you speak with so you know who to talk with if there are any issues. Furthermore, although a middle man does help in accessing certain groups, when possible it is best to get in contact with groups (such as neighbourhood communities) personally to ensure they receive correct information.
Despite these obstacles we have faced throughout the process, organizing and moderating these focus groups has been very rewarding. Engaging with people from the community allows our research to maintain some elements of participation and overall we hope that these initiatives can inspire other organizations, whether neighbours or different park users, to involve themselves in the process.

The team from IPCO after a successful focus group!

Matthews, Hannah . 7 de septiembre de 2016. Focus Groups 101: Get out the megaphone. Recuperado de: Sustainable Cities International Youth Internships

domingo, 19 de junio de 2016

¿Cómo vamos con el Programa Parcial de Mejoramiento Urbano Paseo Río Colima?

En el año 2013, INFONAVIT, IMCO y Sustentabilidad Banamex organizaron la primera edición del “Premio Ciudades Competitivas y Sustentables”, cuyo objetivo es promover iniciativas, soluciones y proyectos innovadores para mejorar la calidad de vida de los habitantes en un entorno sustentable.

Las ciudades que resultaron ganadoras fueron el Distrito Federal (categoría de más de 1 millón de hab.), Hermosillo, Son. (categoría de 500 mil a 1 millón hab.) y Colima, Col. (categoría de menos de 500 mil hab.).

Como reconocimiento a sus políticas y proyectos urbanos sustentables, Banamex solicitó a CTSEMBARQ México brindar asesoría a las tres ciudades en la elaboración de planes, programas y proyectos que incluyen los siguientes componentes de Desarrollo Orientado al Transporte Sustentable: 
  • Regeneración de zonas urbanas bien ubicadas, con potencial de redensificación.
  • Mezcla de usos del suelo y tipologías de vivienda.
  • Promoción de transporte público y movilidad no motorizada.
  • Recuperación de espacios públicos.
El Ayuntamiento de Colima, a través del Instituto de Planeación para el Municipio de Colima ha venido desarrollando el proyecto Programa Parcial de Mejoramiento Urbano Paseo Río Colima, buscando concluirlo en agosto de 2015.
Después de las actividades llevadas a cabo durante el segundo semestre del 2014 en el que se elaboró un diagnóstico documental, durante los meses del presenta año se ha trabajado en el desarrollo del:

  • Cierre del diagnóstico por componentes: Histórico, Socioeconómico, Medio físico transformado, Ambiental, e Hidrológico.
  • Proceso de participación social en los barrios que conforman la zona de estudio, El Objetivo del Proceso fue generar un diagnóstico del estado actual del río Colima, desde la vida cotidiana de los habitantes de los barrios que forman parte del área de estudio, y construir una visión comunitaria para este espacio que responda a sus necesidades barriales, a partir del imaginario colectivo de sus habitantes En esta etapa, el proceso consistió en dos sesiones, a manera de talleres de trabajo.
    • Taller de diagnóstico comunitario
    • Taller de visión comunitaria
  •  Síntesis diagnóstica de los componentes: diagnóstico integrado realizado a través de la metodología de Marco Lógico: Árbol de Problemas, Árbol de Objetivo y Matriz de Marco Lógico. Herramienta metodológica para realizar una síntesis e identificación de las principales situaciones y procesos que afectan a un sistema, en este caso al Río Colima.
  • Formación del: “Comité de Revitalización del Río Colima”, como un órgano ciudadano-institucional que impulse acciones en pro del cauce, y entre ellas el Programa Parcial.
El siguiente diagrama muestra las actividades que se han venido realizando a partir del diagnóstico integrado y qué acciones son las que se pretenden continuar.

jueves, 14 de abril de 2016

El Portal Medellín y su análisis estructural.

El lunes 11 de abril del presente año propietarios del portal,  el INAHA e IPCO acordaron realizar un Análisis Estructural del Portal Medellín con la finalidad de conocer el estado que aguarda el edificio.

Pero, qué es un Análisis Estructural y para qué sirve.

El análisis estructural es el proceso mediante el cual se determina la respuesta de una estructura a cargas o acciones especificadas. Se cuantifican las fuerzas internas y las deformaciones en toda la estructura para diagnosticar si cumple con:
a) Soportar las cargas en condiciones seguras. 
b) Los requisitos de funcionalidad.
El Portal Medellín ha tenido distintas intervenciones a lo lo largo de los años y es parte del patrimonio histórico-cultural  de nuestra cuidad; conocer el estado de su estructura es una manera de conservarlo.

De acuerdo con los datos históricos del Catálogo Nacional de Monumentos Históricos Inmuebles;

El portal se construye alrededor de 1860, es precisamente el Gral. Miguel Contreras Medellín, Gobernador del Estado, el que impulsa su edificación en el lugar donde se encontraba un antiguo corredor de madera y teja, conocido como portal "Barajas". 

Los propietarios de los predios eran Felipe Huarte, Miguel de la Madrid, Antonio Ferrer, Sr. Meillón, Agustin Schacht y Antonio Brizuela, quienes el 22 de junio de 1859, solicitan al Ayuntamiento les informe sobre el diseño a que deberían de sujetarse. 

La estructura del Portal Medellín, como lo menciona la reseña histórica, era de madera y teja y desde su construcción ha tenido diversas adaptaciones y modificaciones en su composición; de aquí la necesidad e importancia de someterlo a un análisis detallado de su estructura, conocer qué y cuántos materiales la componen y la repercusión de estos en la funcionalidad del portal.

En la segunda semana de abril del 2016, el H. Ayuntamiento de Colima a través de una empresa privada, dio inicio al Análisis Estructural del Portal Medellín.

   El estudio consta de tres etapas:
  • En la primera se llevan a cabo los experimentos de campo: pruebas de corte diagonal, pruebas de deformaciones, medición con acelerómetros y nivelación con equipo láser.
La información que arrojan estos instrumentos ayuda a determinar la resistencia de los portales ante un sismo.
  • Posteriormente se realiza la modelación del edificio en la computadora para aplicar pruebas de cargas y sismos fuertes. 
Se comparan las fuerzas generadas por el sismo o la carga contra la resistencia del edificio medida en campo.
  • Finalmente se obtienen los resultados de la comparativa. Se aplican técnicas de ingeniería para interpretar el estado actual  del portal y posibles problemas en un sismo fuerte o cargas pesadas.

El estudio aún está en proceso e invita a la reflexión de revalorizar los patrimonios culturales como recursos educativos y de identidad ciudadana.

El jueves 14 de abril estudiantes de la Facultad de Ingeniería Civil visitaron el portal como práctica de campo para enriquecer su proyecto de tesis sobre Comportamiento Estructural de Edificios Históricos.

lunes, 14 de marzo de 2016

Colima Ciudad Educadora

El lunes 14 de marzo del presente año se llevo acabo una reunión de trabajo con las direcciones generales del H. Ayuntamiento de Colima, en la que el Instituto de Planeación para el Municipio de Colima en coordinación con la Regidora María Elena Abaroa López dieron a conocer qué es la Asociación Internacional de Ciudades Educadoras (AICE) y la importancia de pertenecer  a la misma.
La Asociación Internacional de Ciudades Educadoras (AICE) se fundó en Barcelona en 1994 sin fines de lucro, constituida como una estructura permanente de colaboración entre los gobiernos locales comprometidos con la Carta de Ciudades Educadoras. Cualquier gobierno local que acepte este compromiso puede convertirse en miembro activo de la Asociación. 

La Carta estimula y ofrece vías de concreción a la capacidad educadora, permite reinventar la ciudad como lugar de aprendizajes permanentes, de convivencia y de diálogo.

Para el cumplimiento de sus objetivos, la AICE se estructura en Delegaciones, Redes Territoriales, Redes Temáticas y otras agrupaciones de trabajo. La Delegación América Latina de AICE reúne a más de 60 ciudades en 11 países y cuya sede se encuentra en Rosario, Argentina. 

México cuenta con 16 ciudades educadoras: Colima, Cozumel, Ecatepec de Morelos, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Isla Mujeres, León, México D.F., Morelia, Playa del Carmen, Santa María de Rayón, Santa Cruz de Xoxocatlán, Tenancingo, Tenango del Valle,  Toluca de Lerdo,Victoria.

Colima es miembro desde el mes de julio de 2014 con el tema “Vecinos haciendo ciudad” cuyo propósito es involucrar al habitante de un territorio en los procesos de planeación de su comunidad, logrando que la construcción de su espacio público se vuelva un aprendizaje, que fortalezca la apropiación para con el lugar y con ello propicie las relaciones sociales entre vecinos, una cohesión social, el empoderamiento, el sentido de pertenencia y apropiación que a través del tiempo significará la construcción de identidad, como un ejercicio de construcción de ciudadanía.

La importancia de que Colima pertenezca a esta asociación es que la internacionalización de los gobiernos locales se ha convertido en una exigencia y una necesidad. En el caso de las ciudades pequeñas, las relaciones internacionales se convirtieron en un instrumento invaluable para obtener reconocimiento y fortalecerse en la escena nacional y mundial que vincula a los diversos actores del territorio, más allá del gobierno local y de períodos políticos.

La internacionalización de la ciudad no es asunto reservado al gobierno local, sino una tarea compartida con los demás actores del territorio, desde una visión de política pública e importante para la capitalización del conocimiento.