La Línea Verde is the brainchild of Lorena Martínez, the mayor of Aguascalientes until just a few weeks ago. Located 325 miles northwest of Mexico City, the city had already spruced up its colonial-era downtown with pedestrian malls and museums to attract tourists who flock here in July for Mexico’s largest open-air state fair.
Martínez wanted a different kind of urban renewal project. More neglected parts of the city, especially in the city’s southeast where Jessica’s family lives, were engulfed in drug-related violence. She wanted to do something that could help reconstruct the tattered social fabric in those colonias. “Before we came here, the common wisdom was that these (low income) communities just needed more police patrols,” Martínez says. “I wanted to focus on crime reduction. But I did not want to follow the same policy of more cops and guns.”