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Comunidad de Santa Elena
Community of Santa Elena
Includes a list of the issues facing the commercial center of Santa Elena, and an expanded version of the summary that includes the Pattern, Problem, Context/Evidence, and summary of each issue.
Incluye una lista de las ediciones que hacen frente al centro comercial de Santa Elena, y una version amplia del resumen que incluye el patron, problema, contexto/evidencia, y resumen de cada tema.
Strategic planning--Costa Rica--Santa Elena, Monteverde, Puntarenas
Sustainable Futures 2004
t Sustainable Futures
Community of Santa Elena Commercial Center Strong and diverse regional center Beautiful and healthy town Public plaza and active streets Accessible neighborhood centers Waste waster treatment and reuse Sufficient parking Strong and Diverse Regional Center : Every Community needs one major center to gather together commercial and public life. Santa Elena i s that Center in Monteverde. Beautiful and Healthy Towns: People will want to live in cities if they are be autiful, safe, full of public life, have clean air and water, and acces s to green spaces. This is a very important way to protect the forest and agricultural lands. Public Plaza and Active Streets : All communities need a A living room @ for social gathering and streets that encourage public activity. This s pace ensures a good commercial and civic life. Accessible Neighborhood Centers : There should be local and accessible centers in different neighborhoods to accommodate daily needs. Waste Water Treatment and Reuse: Protecting the waters of every community and for its neighbors downstream demands access to sufficient c lean water for all and treatment of gray and black waters before they reenter the streams and gr oundwater. Once clean, the water can be made available for irrigation and other uses. Sufficient Parking: Although it is preferable for small urban centers to rely on public transport, it is still necessary to have a place to store cars and trucks whether they are services commercial areas or participating in public life.
SANTA ELENA July 29, 2004 Expanded Patterns for Santa Elena Pattern: Strong and Diverse Regional Center Problem: If a community lacks a regional center, its services are fragmented which means that people will have to travel more to meet the needs of their basic life and to gather as a civic community. Context/Evidence: All strong regions have one cent er that develops as the major urban area to contain specialized services such as hardwa re stores, medical centers, government centers, educational centers, and more e xpansive commercial opportunities. This is where visitors come to lea rn about a community and what can be done in this region. It is also the center of popu lation and work opportunities. The danger in regional commercial centers is that they develop so quickly that they do not attend to the environmental systems and capacity, a nd as a result, can become undesirable places to live. By giving equal attent ion to commercial, civic, residential life and environmental quality, a place like Santa Elena can be the preferred place to live by many in the zone, concentrating population and prot ecting the environmental resources on which ecotourism depend. Therefore: Find ways to reinforce the urban develo pment of Santa Elena with diverse economic opportunities, a transportation hub, quali ty housing, and a center for tourists. But it is just as critical to repair and preserve the environmental systems of the area to include better management of water resources and pr eservation and development of the green structure.
Pattern: Beautiful and Healthy Towns Problem: Many people are concerned with saving the environment but perhaps don = t realize that the one of the primary tasks in this e ffort is the creation of beautiful and healthy towns and cities where people want to live Context/Evidence: There are many humans on this ea rth and we are taking over all of the environments because we spread out into more an d more areas. We do this in part of economic survival and environmental quality, but also because we want to live in beautiful places and have access to wild and green places. There is evidence to suggest that without contact with wilderness, peopl e suffer. But our desire for wilderness has been the death of many animals and p lants because we have invaded their homes with our own. So what are we to do? We can make beautiful and healthy cities that inclu de access to green spaces. Most people do like living with other people as long as their other needs are met. Our challenge is to make cities and towns that are beau tiful, safe, full of public life, have clean air and water, and access to green spaces. T his is a very important way to protect the forest and agricultural lands. Therefore: In addition to working to ensure commer cial and economic success in cities, assess each place for its quality of public life, i ts environmental health, and access to green. Take steps to protect the waters, trees, an d air, and to see that all residents have easy access to some small piece of wilderness.
Pattern: Public Plaza and Active Streets Problem: Without a public space at the heart of a city or town, it is more difficult to gather people together both formally and informally to celebrate community life. Currently, Santa Elena lacks such a space. Streets are also public spaces and good streets, inhabitants and visitors will avoid the sp ace whenever possible and not spend time and money in its commercial facilities. Context/Evidence: Every livable city has a center for the public. It is a people place for gathering, commerce, events. In Latin America, thi s public space is a plaza that almost always excludes cars and trucks. The plaza is conn ected to the neighborhoods through streets and if these streets are active with commer cial mixed use opportunities, restaurants, civic structures, etc., the life of th e entire city or town will be enriched. Characteristics of good public spaces include: Mixture of uses Many doors so there are no blank spaces Balconies and second floor visual access points Arcades and covered walkways Places to sit (in sun and shade) Trash receptacles Legible Signage Spaces for children to play, teens/ elderly to hang out, and others to work. Sidewalks along the street should have a minimum wi dth of 1.5 meters and up to 2-3 meters in heavy pedestrian areas such as in front o f schools and downtown areas. Where possible, have paths and sidewalks deviate fr om the road bed with vegetative buffers in between. Where possible, use ramps and stairs with hand rails to assist those with mobility limitations. Therefore: Provide a A living room @ or plaza for the city to accommodate social gathering, and streets that encourage public activi ty. This space ensures a good commercial and civic life
Pattern: Accessible Neighborhood Centers Problem: As cities and towns grow larger, it is di fficult for everyone to get to the main center to purchase the things they need for daily l ife. Context/Evidence: There are some things that house holds need daily and the closer to home these services and goods are, the easier it is provide these goods. Also, if small neighborhood centers are close to home, it is possi ble for families to send their children safely to the store to pick up items. It is also critical to remember that these neighbor hood centers need to be spaced sufficiently to allow them to stay in business B each has to have enough people in the area. Too many stores mean that none do well. Therefore: Encourage the establishment of small ne ighborhood centers close to residential areas to accommodate daily needs.
Pattern: Waste Water Treatment and Reuse Problem: Our lives depend on water and if we don = t protect it, everyone will suffer because we = ll lack the quality and quantity for a healthy envi ronment. Context/Evidence: Although we live in a tropical r ainforest, water is nevertheless a problem: not enough water and polluted water. Fur ther, because Monteverde is at the top of the watershed, communities downstream receiv e the untreated waste that enters the water through our region. Water is one of the world = s most precious resources and must be protected. T his is especially true as population increases and the abi lity of water sources to dilute waste material diminishes. Issues involved in managing waters include: Clean potable water: conservation, rain harvesting watershed protection through buffers and cleaning up pollution Stormwater Management: Channeling; retaining; slow ing, filtering Grey Water Treatment: filtering, cleaning Sewage Treatment: adequate septic systems, composti ng toilets, community treatment Therefore: Develop a community water management pl an that outlines the steps that must be taken by the municipality to fulfill its re sponsibility to its citizens for healthy water; and educate the citizens on their responsibi lity to conserve and protect water.
Pattern: Sufficient Parking Problem: When traffic in a small urban center beco mes too congested or parking too difficult, people will find other ways to meet thei r commercial and social needs and the town center will suffer. Context/Evidence: Even with good public transporta tion systems, people will continue to use their cars for errands. And as they shop, t hey need a place to store their car that is accessible to the stores and institutions they w ish to visit. Without good parking, people will avoid going to the center of town and w ill find options if available. It doesnt take long before a center loses business. And yet, if the town center is totally occupied wit h cars, then people cannot walk safely to accomplish their errands so the parking accessib ility must be balance with the quality of urban spaces. Therefore: Provide sufficient parking as close as possible to the center. Use the streets and other car places where possible, and sh ielded parking lots to protect the street fronts for pedestrians.
Pattern: Development in Urban Areas Problem: Once urban areas and town centers are ful l of buildings, it is not always to see the opportunities for further building and deve lopment. Evidence/Context: In Santa Elena, the downtown i s almost completely built out and there appears to be little room for expansion. The first tendency is to sprawl into other areas. However, there are ways to reinforce the do wn town by building smarter and creatively without spreading buildings out across t he landscape saving green spaces and making the center more vital. Three ways include building more stories, infill wh ere space is available, and changing uses. For example, over the last few years, a numb er of buildings have either added second stories or have torn down the original build ing that was no longer serving the business needs and building two stories. Also, in Santa Elena, there are some small areas that could be infilled with a building such a s the hotel did. And lastly, consider changing uses such as is happening with the moving of the hardware store because it needs more space and changing the use to a hotel. This might also occur if the church decides to move to the cemetery area leaving their buildings in town to be reused as a museum, business or other public facility. Therefore: Build up the existing urban are by expa nding to two story buildings, infilling when appropriate and changing uses.