Producing a Progressive City: An Investigation of a Mexico City Tourist Map, 1964

Beckhart, Sarah E.

Tourist maps produced in Mexico’s age of rapid economic growth demonstrated urban development, and consequently, emphasized the images of modernity and progress the state attempted to project. However, maps are not transparent and innocent representations of reality and space. Instead, they are constructive and are produced through knowledge about the location represented. This paper examines a tourist map produced in 1964 by PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos), Mexico’s national oil company. I use this map to investigate the spatial operations that tourist maps perform, both in terms of the physical and social aspects. I argue that the tourist map of Mexico City is not simply the descriptive signs and symbolic representations of an already constituted space, but that it is also a spatial device that plays an active role in constituting these spaces.

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June 9, 2015