By far the most unsettling but not totally unexpected creation in contemporary Mexico City is Santa Fe, a hyper-modern district on the city's far west that epitomizes all that is wrong with the rapid commercialization and privatization of global urban development in the past 10 or 20 years. And -- it was built over a landfill and is surrounded by slums.
On assignment, we ventured the other day to Centro Santa Fe. The three-level mall is enormous and packed on weekends. International chains compete with small Mexican shops, and the food court has a Burger King and a franchise selling tortas from Tamaulipas. Also, kiosks to charge your cell phone for free and interactive mall maps that talk.
The highlight, though, is the mall's fairly new Saks Fifth Avenue, one of only five Saks stores located outside the United States -- the other four are all on the Arabian Peninsula. We can thank Carlos Slim for the distinction; he bought the license to build a Saks on Aztec earth.
And just so you know, Sante Fe's official "neighborhood" site has a page devoted to the topic of security.