Jessica Quezada Medina

Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Infrastructure, Sustainability and Unevenness: Exploring Marginalization in Mexico

Approximately 1.5 million Mexicans lack access to electricity, most of them live in rural and remote areas with high levels of marginalization and poverty. Access to secure, affordable and modern energy is central to poverty reduction (IEA, 2017). However, in most cases, rural electrification implementation has not yielded the expected outcomes. This thesis explores under what conditions can electricity help to alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable development in rural areas. Through fieldwork with off-grid providers in Oaxaca and Chiapas in Southern Mexico, I explore how off-grid electrification improves wellness. I reflect on what can be done to strengthen these efforts. I highlight the essential role that context plays when designing and implementing programs aimed at alleviating poverty; and propose combining systems-level coordination with place-based policies to better address vulnerabilities for the sustainability of rural off-grid programs and coordination challenges revealed in the projects I studied.

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