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Southwest Airlines Community

Plants, Books, Bikes, and Salsa: Growing a Community in Mexico City



Southwest and Project for Public Spaces are now accepting applications for the 2017 Heart of the Community grant. To learn more about the grant and how to apply, visit




This post is by Guillermo Bernal, Founder & Director, Lugares Públicos A.C.


If you’ve strolled through the Lindbergh Forum on any recent Saturday, you’ve likely witnessed moments like these: children curled up in their grandparents’ arms reading stories, students listening to a live band, friends kicking around a soccer ball, or a couple sharing ice cream.


Since December 2015, Lugares Públicos has been helping citizens reimagine the forum—a historic Art Deco plaza at the center of Parque Mexico in the Roma-Condesa District of Mexico City. Our work is supported by Southwest Airlines’ Heart of the Community program, and we’ve been privileged to be the first project outside the U.S. to receive a grant.


Mexico has a grand tradition of public spaces, but citizens are rarely invited to actively shape the places vital to their everyday lives. The process in the forum began with a series of onsite workshops asking neighbors and visitors for suggestions for the space. From the input, more than 100 activities and events have occurred in the last few months—including yoga classes, movie screenings, art exhibitions, and performances.



One of the most inventive and popular programs is the Plant Clinic. All weekend, a local gardening expert parks his “Plant Ambulance” at the forum, offering advice and hands-on workshops to residents on all matters relating to plants and urban farming.


Along with programs, we’ve added more seating, a game center, and a bicycle-powered mobile book cart, designed and built by area residents and operated in partnership with the nearby library.




Today, the forum is more alive than ever. It continues to be a beloved space for the Condesa neighborhood and is now a place where residents feel welcomed and encouraged to connect with each other. We hope this project becomes a model for community-led programming in Mexico and will inspire collaboration to improve public spaces throughout the country.