A traditional, stable, working-class neighborhood, comprising approximately one square kilometer of downtown Mexico City north of the Zócalo, the central square, and roughly bounded by the following four streets: Cinco de Mayo, Lázaro Cárdenas (Eje Central), Rayón, and República de Argentina. Forming part of the historic center of the city, it has been the focus of several revitalization programs over the years. The neighborhood has a strong community spirit as well as a barrio dialect and culture, and has been the place of origin of many of the nation's best-known boxers and luchadores (masked wrestlers, practitioners of lucha libre). The "thieves' market" in Tepito in the past had a reputation for smuggled and other goods of dubious origin.
Most of the population rent single rooms in converted and now derelict mansions long since vacated by the elite. Alternatively, they live in other vecindades (courtyard tenements) that were built before 1940s rent control legislation made their construction unprofitable, and contributes to their present dilapidation. The area was badly affected by the 1985 earthquakes, although most of the residents worst affected were rehoused in small apartments built on the same lotsas their original homes. The Casa Blanca vecindad was home to the Sánchez family in American anthropologist Oscar Lewis's classic text The Children of Sanchez (1961). The local economy remains one of petty services, sweatshops, and small workshops specializing in low-cost furniture manufacture, shoe production, and similar enterprises.
Colomb, René. "El Centro Histórico." In La Ciudad de México en el fin del segundo milenio, edited by Gustavo Garza. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Demográficos y de Desarrollo Urbano; el Gobierno del Distrito Federal, 2000.
Cross, John C. Informal Politics: Street Vendors and the State in Mexico City. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998.
Monnet, Jérôme. Usos e imágenes del centro histórico de la ciudad de México. Translated by Pastora Rodríguez Aviñoa. Mexico City: Departamento del Distrito Federal, Centro de Estudios Mexicanos y Centramericanos, 1995.
Ziccardi, Alicia. "Delegación Cuautémoc." In La Ciudad de México en el fin del segundo milenio 2000, edited by Gustavo Garza. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Demográficos y de Desarrollo Urbano; el Gobierno del Distrito Federal, 2000.
Peter M. Ward