Sustainability and New Urbanism in the Third World
A recent article on WorldChanging.com brought up the subject of sustainable planning and building in third world regions. The article specifically discusses the October 15 8.0 earthquake in the Ica region of Central Andean Peru. The city of Pisco near the epicenter has reportedly lost 80 percent of its housing.
Having seen the amazing response to Katrina here in the States, and the innovation of the Katrina Cottage model in addition to numerous other resources listed in the WorldChanging article - it is obviously possible to rebuild more sustainably - and stronger - than before. The question the World Changing article asks is whether this type of thing is, however, generally just reserved for First World disasters, and if so why and what we can do to change that.
The question I propose additionally is whether even in instances of non-disaster - ie the regularity (albeit disasterous conditions still holding true) within which third world towns usually operate might not be very fertile ground for progress and freer reign to forward the tenets of new urbanism and new approaches. Additionally, it seems that by implementing some of these measures in third world measures, it would give a bit of a jump on dealing with issues like trash and other pollution that runs rampant in the communities.
When visiting Macchu Picchu this past Spring I was struck by the town of Aguas Calientes, built at the confluence of Aguas Calientes Creek and a particularly violatile section of the Urubamba River. Being the jumping off point for tourists to the ancient Incan stronghold, there has been a large amount of money coming into the town, and it seems to have been directed surprisingly well; with outdoor community pavillions and a restoration of the creek as it crashes through the town along with numerous pedestrian bridges across and wide walkways on either side.
(The Aguas Calientes Creek, shot from its confluence with the Urubamba, still mostly a concrete walled rubblefield, but with new pathways flanking and a bridge across.)
(Proper Rubbish Bins seen in the city, connected perhaps with the new path they had struck out upon?)
The WorldChanging article further discusses networking existing groups and causes through the Open Architecture Network, which is worth a look or two.
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