The territorial development of Panama City has been characterized by an unplanned expansion that has resulted in: an unbalanced relationship between the natural and built environments, neighborhoods and the coastline; depopulation of urban centers and uncontrolled growth of urban sprawl. However, despite interventions that have seemingly erased the socio-spatial identity of the city, there are neighborhoods that still retain the character and singularities of Panama City. Such is the case of Calidonia, the first and only expansion of the city planned by the government in the early 1900s. With an orthogonal urban grid and a system of tree-lined streets, this particular district still maintains its appeal. Since the 2010s, Panama´s waterfront project Cinta Costera has been one of the few central areas where real estate developers have invested. A series of high density towers, disarticulated from the surrounding sites, are now part of the urban landscape. However, the rest of Calidonia has not been exempt from real estate speculation, which has led to a marked residential segregation and the elimination of land uses that are not considered profitable, including green areas and public infrastructure. The increase in land value—without any significant land value capture mechanism or incentives for public investment—has left a series of vacant lots, derelict buildings, and a lack of affordable housing options.
The integrated urban strategy for Calidonia proposes to consolidate the system of green corridors with the regional system of urban corridors and boulevards. The area will be densified by providing a wide offer supply of accessible housing with mixed uses in empty and underutilized properties. We will consolidate a system of interconnected public spaces and plazas distributed between 200–300 meters within walking distance from each other and integrate sustainable mobility solutions on a human scale between metro stations, bicycle paths, and pedestrian paths. The strategy will be implemented by a multi-disciplinary team of public managers within the municipality tasked to design and formalize participatory, transparent processes through new cultural programs and include them in an urban management process.
June, 2014 to August, 2015
Authors: Roland Krebs, Marco Chávez, Dominique Mashini, Sebastian Sattlegger, Andreas Hofer, Álvaro Uribe, Peter Scheibstock