Rediscovering and reliving the City of Knowledge experience
Have you ever wondered why there is an armchair right in the middle of the Parque de Los Lagos (Park of the Lakes) at the City of Knowledge? The object is the work of architect and artist Brooke Alfaro, responsible for designing the Plaza Los Fundadores (Founders’ Plaza). This space pays tribute to Gabriel Lewis Galindo and Fernando Eleta, both renowned Panamanian business people who conceived the possible utopia that we know today as the City of Knowledge.
But why the armchair? Alfaro designed two sculptures representing these illustrious Panamanians. The armchair is one of them and is a replica of the armchair that Don Fernando Eleta used for 65 years, from which he shared his ideas with his family and friends.
The second sculpture is the “Casimiro” yacht, Gabriel Lewis Galindo’s favorite. He was a sea lover, especially of the Las Perlas archipelago, and this is represented in Plaza Los Fundadores by small grass islands.
You can read and listen to stories like these in the City of Knowledge audio guide, an initiative aiming to bring the campus closer to each Panamanian and generate a sense of belonging that only occurs through knowledge and enhancement of the campus’ historical, architectural and cultural heritage.
For Davinia Uriel Abad, Community and Culture Manager at the City of Knowledge, “every weekend, entire families come to the City of Knowledge to enjoy the natural environment the campus offers, but perhaps they know little of the historical value of the City of Knowledge. That motivated us as a team to work on gathering information and data that a job like this entails. We wanted visitors to rediscover the campus by touring it and learning about its history at the same time. At your own pace, in your language and in the most comfortable and accessible way, which is using your cell phone”, she added.
The work behind the audioguides
The City of Knowledge audio guide -available in English and Spanish- is a tour of 17 different spaces on campus with historical data, recommendations, videos, photos that provide a complete experience to the visitor of the City of Knowledge.
The idea was launched in the middle of the pandemic; the community needed recreation and culture in an open and safe environment. Thus, the Ciudad del Saber team began planning to launch the audio guide under the following premises:
1. Reach the general community: it was never a matter of using specialized speech. On the contrary, the objective was to reach families, visitors, students, or anyone wanting to know about the history of the City of Knowledge. The audios are simple but, at the same time, have actual historical data curated by a group of experts who supported the City of Knowledge team in the writing of the texts of the audio guides.
2. To think about user experience: beyond technology, the audio guide had to be helpful, easy to use, and accessible to everyone. Thinking about these elements required the teamwork of different offices of the City of Knowledge that provided inputs for customer service, marketing, education, culture, etc.
3. Accessible: The audio guide is available within the free app Izi Travel, chosen as it’s free to use, and because of its versatility for loading resources: at each point, you can find, in addition to audio, videos, and photographs that enrich the experience.
“We are very excited about this project, as the objective of the audio guide is for the community to rediscover the campus’ historical value and its relationship to the history of Panama. To learn about the history and evolution of the City of Knowledge from its beginnings to the present, as well as the history of the old Clayton Fort, a military base that the United States maintained in the old Canal Zone for 80 years until its final transfer to Panama in December 1999,” highlighted Uriel Abad.
For Jenny Ceballos Valencia from the tourism agency El Trip de Jenny, “the value of the City of Knowledge audio guides is very relevant today since knowledge of this part of our history is being lost. Very Little is known of the time when American soldiers lived here (in Clayton), and we Panamanians could not enter. We must know this part of history and not forget it,” said the tourism entrepreneur while touring the City of Knowledge, using the audio guide. “The information on the architecture of the buildings is also very relevant because there is little left in our city of buildings with the Bellavista style, named in honor of the Bella Vista neighborhood of Panama City,” she added.
More City of Knowledge audio guides
This audio guide is the first in a series that the City of Knowledge has planned. For this reason, the team is now working on measuring the reception of this first product. In the first weeks of its launch, users entered the application 1,305 times, and 302 users made the complete walkthrough of the 17 points of the audio guide.
Another interesting fact is that 62.4% of the content’s views were in Spanish and 37.6% in English.
How to download
The City of Knowledge audio guide is a service available to everyone. To access it:
1. Download the izi.TRAVEL app from the App Store or Google Play
2. In the search engine type City of Knowledge and press CONTINUE
3. We are ready to start the tour of the 17 points!
4. We encourage you to take photos and upload them to social networks by tagging @ciudaddelsaber and commenting with #estoyencds and #rutacds