Chinampas Agriculture and Settlement Patterns: The Contemporary Relevance of Aztec Floating Gardens





The Chinampas are a system of floating gardens in the Valley of Mexico, including Mexico City, allowing for effective agriculture and sustainable water management since approximately 200 BC (Rojas-Rabiela 1993). Vernacular water systems like the Chinampas create opportunities for landscape architects to learn from historical approaches to water management to solve today’s challenges (Bobbink and Ryu 2017; Bobbink 2019). Through a layered visual analysis – the illustrative method – vernacular knowledge about the Chinampas was collected and communicated by drawings to gather (new) visions toward more resilient, circular and interdisciplinary approaches (Surajaras and Rey 2021). The research is part of the “Circular Water Stories LAB,” TU Delft, the Netherlands ( Once the case study has been systematically documented, its circular character provides insights into landscape-based approaches to water-related cultivation. From there, it is possible to discuss the value of the traditional water system in addressing today’s challenges.

How to Cite

Rey-Hernández, C., & Bobbink, I. (2022). Chinampas Agriculture and Settlement Patterns: The Contemporary Relevance of Aztec Floating Gardens. Blue Papers, 1(2), 90–99.





methodologies and case studies


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Bobbink, Inge. 2019. “Testing the Illustrative Method: How to Reveal Hidden Knowledge Stored in Traditional Water Systems.” In Lessons From the Past, Visions for the Future: Celebrating One Hundred Years of Landscape Architecture Education in Europe, edited by Lei Gao and Shelly Egoz, 100–02. Ås: Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

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Surajaras, Rapa, and Catalina Rey. 2021. “Rising above Surface: Comparative Review of Xinghua Duotian and Chinampas Water Systems.” Spool 8: 29–42.