Another urbanism is possible: planning, metropolitan region and the case of the city of Colon

The 5th and final Charla Abierta 2012 entitled «Another urbanism is possible: planning, metropolitan region and the case of the city of Colon», presented by architect and urban planner Kurt Dillon, was held on Tuesday, November 20.

After a brief review of the history of urbanism in the world and in Panama, where he stressed the importance of the Inter-Oceanic Metropolitan Region, covering 80% of the country’s GDP, the architect gave a brief review of the current national situation by mentioning the expansion project of the Panama Canal, the incentive laws for real estate investment, gated communities, the closed city model, the low-density urban expansion and cultural heritage.

Kurt Dillon spoke about the project of the third bridge over the Panama Canal and the proposal to sell the land of the Free Zone where he noted that the people from Colon and Panama prefer to preserve the country’s heritage. On this issue he mentioned that the economic cost of five days of protests were around $ 100 million a day and that the events marked a milestone in the country. According to Dillon, in Panama there is a lack of transparency in major projects that also lack functional coordination among themselves.

During his talk he focused on the elements for sustainable planning like considering cities as regional, choosing a strategy, nodal development, land capability analysis, participatory planning, sustainable transport and a transparent and democratic land management. In this regard he noted that the City of Knowledge is a very important urban model for Panama City.

According to architect Dillon the decay of the urban model in Panama is a question of common sense since we are facing a systemic meltdown that should force us to redirect our way towards a more sustainable path and correct the course of our urbanism. Taking into account that urbanism is the social-political process and actions (often conflicting) that determine the construction of urban space. For Dillon the professional urban planner dreams of a city and works to achieve it.

To end the Charlas Abiertas 2012, Kurt Dillon presented a documentary by Panamanian filmmaker Abner Benaim about the City of Colon and then answered questions from the audience.

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