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CityLab Daily: A Mexico City Borough Erases Street Vendor Art

Also today: Why Canada’s traffic fatalities have been going down, and can a new algorithm predict crime in US cities?

A food stand with hand-painted art (left), and after it was repainted by Cuauhtemoc officials (right).

A food stand with hand-painted art (left), and after it was repainted by Cuauhtemoc officials (right).

Photographer: Hugo Mendoza

The mayor of Mexico City’s Cuauhtemoc borough has ordered hand-painted art to be erased from almost 1,500 street food stands and replaced with a uniform design featuring the government’s logo and new slogan. Local artists and activists are challenging the move — part of a larger clean-up campaign — arguing that it strips iconic neighborhoods of their colors amid a tourism boom.

Experts say the art on the food stands — from red watermelon slices to cartoons of “super torta” sandwiches — are a reflection of the working-class culture in Cuauhtemoc, and are key to how vendors attract business and tourists. Many believe their erasure signals a more advanced stage in the gentrification of the city’s historic neighborhoods, Bloomberg’s Jose Orozco reports. Today on CityLab: The Disappearing Street Vendor Art of Mexico City