Urban development is a process that involves different factors and proper planning. This revolves around the expansion of the population and its needs. Some of the factors that affect the urban environment after its previous development is the state of rivers and other natural areas, in addition to the ease and accessibility of transport and mobility of people in their communities.

But what is it and how can you collaborate for a much more sustainable and accessible  urban development in Costa Rica?

Urban rivers and sustainable development

Do you know the name of the nearest river in your community? It is common for the answer to be no, since rivers in cities tend to be invisible. But this should not be the case and fortunately actions are being taken to change it.

Urban rivers are part of our identity and our cities. They play a decisive role in urban development, creating a link between the inhabitants and nature, as they are ‘green corridors’ in the middle of the every day life. 

In addition, they have a great ecological value as they are sources of water and natural recreational spaces that should be preserved. Even the proper care of rivers goes a long way in avoiding complications from rains, which can lead to flooding.

However, many are still contaminated and polluted, luckily there are organizations that try to reverse these actions. Specifically, Río Urbano, has projects that seek to educate, raise awareness and promote citizen participation in the care of rivers. In this way, beyond the cleaning of the rivers, it seeks to generate a cultural change, to prevent them from becoming polluted again and follow the path of sustainable urban development.

If you want to know more about the projects, actions and workshops of the organization, do not hesitate to visit their social networks and resources at: RíoUrbanoCR.

Urban Development

“The most important thing is to understand that nature and the city should not be issues apart one from the other. Good maintenance of urban rivers brings great environmental, recreational and landscape benefits to communities for urban development.”

Architect Alonso Briceño, Río Urbano

Mobility & transportation

Urban Development

Another factor that affects the quality of life is transportation. Access to public transport and different mobility options  are necessary elements for the correct development of our cities, since they are essential for daily activities.

 Transport-Oriented Urban Development (DUOT, by its acronym in Spanish) is the correct planning and development of physical spaces with a focus on public transportation and other alternatives, seeking interconnectivity between different types of transport to facilitate the mobility of people. In addition to help people to live, work, study, buy and recreate near spaces with accessibility. Being a development that seeks to be sustainable and accessible.

Currently in Costa Rica, urban development focuses on the use of cars. These routes tend to have a lot of traffic and affect the environment. Meanwhile, public transportation in many parts of the country has some limitations and most routes are not suitable for cycling or walking being less accessible for people with disabilities.

But, despite the current situation, different actions have been taken to change this reality. For example, the implementation of bicycle paths in Cartago and in the East Zone of San José, in addition to the exclusive lanes for buses. All of this is a process that involves a great deal of planning, budgeting, and time on the part of different municipal governments. That is why it is necessary to know the importance of DUOT for the communities and cities of the country.

Read more: Residents of the eastern zone take advantage of a 21.5-km bike path

“Transportation-Oriented Urban Development seeks to improve people’s quality of life in addition to encouraging and facilitating the use of public or alternative means of transportation, avoiding the use of automobiles and motorcycles.”

Architect Erik Solis, Urban Mobility Specialist

Importance of citizen participation

The care of urban rivers and the improvement of transport are complex issues and for these to change in the country depends mostly on governments, institutions, organizations and even companies. But despite this, citizens and their communities are essential for change to take place. The demand for sustainable urban development, the interest in generating change, being properly informed and encouraging others to inform themselves, is of great help.

In general, the protection of the environment must be taken into account at all times, but they are also necessary elements to improve the quality of life of all. If you want to really help, you must start by educating yourself on these issues, participating with different organizations and helping local projects that wish to improve the urban development of cities.

You can find more information on how to help with Rio Urbano and learn more about the projects in your community to encourage alternative transportation and better mobility.

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