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Manuel Perlo Cohen

Researcher at Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, UNAM

Residency: November 2020 – May 2021

Research Project: Análisis del Proceso de Construcción del Sistema de Drenaje Profundo de la Ciudad de México (1967-1975)

Research Interests: Social and political history of water and sewage provision in Mexico City, water sustainable development policies in Mexico, evaluation of housing and land policies, history of political institutions in Mexico City, globalization and urban development


Manuel Perlo Cohen is an economist from UNAM and a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley. He has been a tenured researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales-UNAM since 1980.

The short-term functioning and long-term viability of Mexico City rests on a handful of major hydraulic infrastructures that supply water and prevent catastrophic floods. These megaprojects have been analyzed from a technical point of view, but very seldom through the lens of political science, sociology and urban planning. Through an extensive archive research, interviews and historic reconstruction, the research seeks to shed light on the process of decision making that happens “behind the scenes” and that brings understanding to the underlying rationale of these megaprojects.