Morazán, the blue-collar ZEDE
Many critiques of private cities and special economic zones argue that these projects exist only to benefit a small rich elite. While this simplistic worldview is easier to use against these projects, the reality is quite different.
Honduras, a 9 million country in Central America, is one of the most violent countries in the world. In 2021 the murder rate was 56,52 per 100.000 inhabitants, making Honduras the second country with the highest murder rate in the world behind El Salvador. However, lower-income Hondurans are the ones that pay the highest prices for the exorbitant violence. Without the means to live in better-protected areas or even gated communities, opportunities for the working class are limited. Rule of law and protection of private property (including small businesses) are harder to implement in the marginalised periphery of the cities.
Here is where Morazán City comes into play. Morazán City will be a complete community located on the outskirts of Choloma, the third-largest city in the country. The community is a “Zona de Empleo y Desarollo Economico” or ZEDE and will enjoy a certain degree of fiscal and regulatory autonomy. What makes Morazán different to other projects is that the city’s target group are middle- and working-class persons. The project looks to house over 9.000 residents. By providing housing zones, commercial spaces, schools, parks and, most importantly, an industrial zone, Morazán wants to become a city in which the residents can finally feel secure while going to work.
By working and living in Morazán, the residents have the opportunity to avoid the structural problems that Hondurans have to face in everyday life. Morazán City aims to reinforce security and the rule of law among the working class and so giving them the potential to become more productive.
Morazán is a community designed to encourage entrepreneurship; the first commercial tenants have already arrived. The tenants choose to enter voluntary contracts that spell out their rights and responsibilities so they can be sure the rules won’t be changed on them. Furthermore, Morazán has partnered with Double GDP, a security software company, to develop an efficient framework for Morazán’s management and security.
Since last year the first houses have been built and the project is moving steadily towards a new alternative for a class that tends to be overseen by governments and politicians: the blue-collar workers.