Public space during the COVID-19 pandemic: The lockdown of the Alameda Central in Mexico City

The effects of city lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic also exposed some of the existing social inequalities. The article evaluates the experience of the closure of public space in Mexico City during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mexico City’s authorities restricted access to historic public spaces that usually receive many visitors, seeking to reduce COVID-19 transmissions. The implementation of policies severely affected some vulnerable populations who live in or make their living in public spaces. The paper examines the effects of the closure of the Alameda Central, a historical public park in Mexico City’s historic centre. It examines how the closure of the Alameda affected directly homeless people, beggars, street vendors and performers, as well as a community of older gay men and male sex workers, to the extent that they resisted leaving or found alternative ways to return to the Alameda. The research demonstrates some of the social and spatial consequences of Alameda’s closure. It shows how public spaces are indispensable for disadvantaged populations, whose necessities did not disappear during the pandemic.