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Neighbourhood Improvement Community Programme (NICP)

City of Mexico


The Neighbourhood Improvement Community Programme is an initiative by Mexico City's Department of Social Development, in coordination with the Ministry of Works and Services and the Department of Urban Development and Housing. The programme was implemented in 2007, and is currently ongoing.

The NICP enables social infrastructure projects to be carried out depending on the community's needs, such as community centres, cultural centres, parks, recreation and sports areas, improvement of the urban image, site museums, ecological projects, skateboarding tracks, service works, and the expansion or improvement of existing works, among many others.

The NICP is aimed at all social, civic, community and neighbourhood groups interested in promoting "comprehensive, sustained and participatory processes" for the physical, symbolic and cultural improvement of Mexico City's districts, neighbourhoods and colonias.

Main objectives

The programme's goal is to develop a participatory process for the improvement and recovery of public spaces in Mexico City's districts, neighbourhoods and colonias, and especially those with a high level of urban decay or those within the category of medium, high or very high deprivation, according to the Mexico City Deprivation Index.

The aim of this process is to promote the exercise of the Right to the City among all the inhabitants of Mexico City, in addition to improving living conditions and opportunities for the human, social and cultural development of the inhabitants of the areas that are most socially challenged and suffering the greatest urban degradation in Mexico City.

All the NICP funds come from taxes and no external contributions had been recorded as of 2010.

The main results of the program are related to:

  • the boost for community involvement
  • education and training of members of the community in the management and implementation of projects to physically and socially improve the urban environment
  • the community's appropriation and identification of the works and initiatives carried out
  • the creation of links between social, civil, academic and community organisations and neighbourhood groups, and institutions of the Government of Mexico City

The main challenges to the NICP are related to:

  • the conflicts of interest between community leaders and political patronage systems
  • the poor response to the calls from young people in the colonias
  • the poor definition of the scale of intervention and how to define the neighbourhood, borough and metropolitan boundaries without negatively affecting the community's relations with the territory
  • the difficult relationship between the programme's physical and social aspects
  • the lack of a social, urban and/or environmental impact assessment on the community
  • the conflicts of interest between officials from institutions with different agendas and the abrupt changes determined by the political and economic agenda.