🇲🇽 Xochimilco is a borough (demarcación territorial) in the Mexico City. The borough is centered on the formerly independent city of Xochimilco, which was established on what was the southern shore of Lake Xochimilco in the precolonial period.
Today, the borough consists of the 18 barrios, or neighbourhoods, of this city along with 14 pueblos, or villages, that surround it, covering an area of 125 km2 (48 sq mi). The borough is in the south-eastern part of the city and has an identity that is separate from the historic centre of Mexico City, due to its historic separation from that city during most of its history.
Xochimilco is best known for its canals, which are left from what was an extensive lake and canal system that connected most of the settlements of the Valley of Mexico. These canals, along with artificial islands called chinampas, attract tourists and other city residents to ride on colorful gondola-like boats called trajineras around the 170 km (110 mi) of canals. This canal and chinampa system, as a vestige of the area's precolonial past, has made Xochimilco a World Heritage Site. In 1950, Paramahansa Yogananda, in his Autobiography of a Yogi, wrote that if there were a scenic beauty contest, Xochimilco would get the first prize.
Economy Since the pre-Hispanic period, Xochimilco's economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, mostly by supplying to the needs of Mexico City. This not only dominated the economy but also the area's religious practices, some of which can still be seen to the present day. Agriculture still remains important in the borough, but most of the focus has shifted to flowers and ornamental plants. One major reason for this is the poor quality of the area's water supply. Xochimilco has four major markets dedicated to the sale of plants and flowers: Cuemanco, Palacio de la Flor, Mercado de Madre Selva and the historic market at San Luis Tlaxialtemalco. Cuemanco is the largest in Xochimilco and the largest of its kind in Latin America, covering thirteen hectares, with its own cactus garden and forms part of the ecological preserve of Cuemanco. The borough produces 2.5 million poinsettias each year, accounting for most of the 3.5 million sold each year in Mexico City. This represents an income for the borough of about 25 to 30 million pesos annually, grown by about 10,000 growers.
However, starting in the latter 20th century, most of area's economy has shifted away from agriculture. One reason for this is the deterioration of the area's environment. Plagues and poor planning have gravely affected the conservation area in Xochimilco, to the extent that many fruit trees traditionally grown here have disappeared, including capulins and peaches. Over the last forty years, the percentage of people in the borough working in agriculture has dropped from forty percent to three percent.
Xochimilco still has 3,562 units of agricultural production, accounting for 17.7% of the total of the Federal District. These cover 2,741.4 hectares of land or 11.4% of the District. 2741.4 hectares is farmland, with a much smaller amount dedicated to fishing and forestry. Xochimilco accounts for 90.8 percent of the flower production of the District, 76.9% of poinsettias, and all of the geraniums and roses grown here. It also grows about 40% of the District's spinach crop, 24.6 of the figs, 8.7 of pears, 13.2 of pears and 9% of plums. As a producer of livestock, Xochimilco accounts for 36% of the cattle, 29.8% of the pig, 17.2 of sheep and 27.8% of the domestic fowl production of the District.
Most of the employed are in manufacturing (23.5%) commerce (39,7%) and services (33.3%). Over 91% of all businesses in the borough are related to commerce and services. However, manufacturing contributes to 61.8% of the borough GDP, with commerce at 18.9% and services at 18%. After agriculture, the most visible economic activity is tourism, which is considered part of commerce and services. The canals, chinampas and trajineras are the borough's main tourist attraction. In February 2011, trajinera operators protested the existence of “clandestine” tour operators supposedly tolerated by authorities. There are supposedly as many as twenty five or thirty of these who pay bribes of 500 pesos a month to operate away from the six embarcaderos authorized by the borough. However, relative to the rest of the city, Xochimilco has a negligible amount of hotel infrastructure. There are no five star hotels. There are 183 four-star and 98 three-star hotels, but they represent only two percent and one percent respectively of the total for the city.
Xochimilco has a population of over 404,458 people. Xochimilco also forms part of the Greater Mexico City metropolitan area which has a population of over 21,804,515 people.
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