Perceptions about the Impact of the Development of Merida on its Neighboring Municipalities. A Case Study Concerning the Largest City in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
Population growth in peri-urban areas creates a strong transformation of the rural landscape and it also has effects in different socio-economic aspects. Merida is the largest city in the Yucatan Peninsula and the urbanization process has had an effect on the territory as well as on economic, social and ecological issues. In this research we consider the perceptions of local planners of the metropolitan area of Merida in order to investigate the factors associated with urbanization that may be affecting their municipalities. We also determine what advantages and disadvantages are identified by local authorities related to being part of the metropolitan area of Merida in the social, economic and environmental domains. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 local authorities of eight municipalities of the metropolitan area of Mérida concerning availability of natural resources, economic activities, and governance. Our results show that the main direct impact or perceived advantages of being a neighbour of Merida are the access to better social services and job opportunities. In terms of the indirect impact, there are perceived changes in economic activities, migration, drugs and alcohol consumption, and the sale of land.
Keywords: Metropolitan Area, Environmental and Socioeconomic Impact on Peripheries, Local Actors Perceptions.