Tag Archives: Urban

Mexico City’s Invisible Rivers – From the Air

Mexico City, beyond being one of the biggest cities in the world, is also one of the most at risk global capitals in terms of water security. This was not always the case, however. In fact, much of what is now Mexico City used to sit on top of Lake Texcoco – a body of water now almost completely covered over by the massive urban sprawl of 24 million people. But even after the lake was sacrificed to accommodate the city’s growing population, there was still a network of rivers that flowed through the city, providing irrigation, drainage, and green space.

Starting in the mid 1900’s, however, the rivers became so polluted from discarded trash and human waste, which when combined with the explosion of personal cars in Mexico led local government to the decision to enclose these rivers in pipes and pave over them with new roads. Some of the city’s main thoroughfares — Rio Churubusco or Rio de la Piedad, for example — still bear the names of the waterways that they replaced. While there is still some form of running water underneath these roads, they are now more sewer than river.

A woman uses an overpass to cross Rio Churubusco, a major freeway that was once a river.

A woman uses an overpass to cross Rio Churubusco, a major freeway that was once a river.

Recently there has been rising interest among architects and environmental activists to dig up these rivers and restore them to their original state, cleaning the water in the process and providing natural space for locals to enjoy. Unsurprisingly these plans have not been wholeheartedly embraced by the government which does not seem interested in spending large sums of money on projects with little promise of economic returns. Yet that hasn’t stopped people from drawing up plans for what such a project might look like and architecture firm Taller 13 has been among the lead voices in advocating the benefits of a city through which rivers once again flow.


Concept art from architecture firm Taller 13, showing what the Rio de la Piedad might look like if rejuvenated.

Since moving to Mexico City and starting a three year investigation into all facets of the city’s water situation, I’ve wanted to get a sense of the scale of these former rivers. Previously I’d driven along some of them and taken photos, but the real magnitude of the environment can’t be grasped from ground level. Instead I set aside my camera and travelled across the city with my drone and I think the footage gives a much better idea of both the size of the city and of the invisible rivers that were once above the surface.

Posted in Blog, Drone, Environmental, Mexico, Video, Water Also tagged , , , , , , , |


a business man walks under a massive bilboard in Gasan, an old industrial neighbourhood

Gasan is a traditional working class neighbourhood in the Southwest of Seoul. Home to a large number of immigrants, Gasan’s gritty industrial past is evident despite rebranding efforts of local government.

This downtrodden looking business man caught my eye as he headed home, hunched and tired looking under the scrutiny of the fashion billboard.


Posted in Blog, South Korea Also tagged , , , , |

Urban Flowers in Seoul


A young man runs past a flowery billboard in Hongdae

I’ve started taking a lot of pictures in Seoul’s side streets to try and represent the constant movement of people through this massive city. The series isn’t so much about people, but rather the city itself and the way people flow through it.

I love this image because it was taken in one of Seoul’s busiest neighbourhoods. The flowered billboard, blue sky, and steep hill give an impression of a natural environment which is infamously absent in this super-city.

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Street Photography: Daerim Station

Daerim station, on the number 2 subway line, or “The Green Line”, is an immigrant neighbourhood with a large Chinese population. The mix of cultures and the gritty side streets make for interesting images. Seoul is a city of alleys, and they are constantly in motion – Daerim is no exception.

Walking path, Daerim Station, Seoul

in a city with extremely high urban density, walking paths are often located beneath overpasses

Street photography near Daerim Station, Seoul, South korea

new buildings often pop up overnight, so construction is typically ignored

street photography - Daerim Station, Seoul, South Korea

gritty remnants of an industrial past

street photography - Daerim Station, Seoul, South Korea

Christianity flourishes in Korea. Some reports indicate over 25% of the population is actively faithful.The Catholic church has enjoyed a 70% growth rate in the last 10 years.

street photography - Daerim Station, Seoul, South Korea

a man grinds down metal parts for resale

street photography - Daerim Station, Seoul, South Korea


Posted in Blog, South Korea Also tagged , , , , , |