Creating Island-Appropriate Architecture

Creating Island-Appropriate Architecture


Creating sustainable human habitats: A rural zoning code for Santa Cruz and land use planning for Floreana


The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment


Funded in 2011; completed in 2012

Aerial view of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz.

An aerial view of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. © Wilson Cabrera

The regional and municipal governments in the Galapagos Islands are currently undertaking a regional study to address their development framework that will shape the future of the islands. Government staff on the islands is attempting to cope with the everyday demand of an economy that is growing at an unprecedented 10% per year, as residents and politicians are pressuring for more economic opportunities and places to live more cheaply. The local planning departments lack the experience or the means by which to guide residents on how to build ecologically-friendly homes and to plan for a sustainable future. As a result, development practices on the islands follow conventional and unsustainable growth patterns, which do not take into account the local environment, nor do they consider ecological impacts or reduce petroleum use and rising automobile dependency.

Solutions to sustainable and low-impact living on the islands will require forward and transect-based urban planning, establishing appropriate island architecture, changing building practices and supply chains, and education of government and residents in such planning practices, skills, and awareness. Over the coming year, this project will use a collaborative planning methodology (known as Charrette in the US and Enquiry by Design in the UK), working closely with residents, members of the governing body’s technical team, other NGOs, and external technical experts and universities. In such planning workshops all participants help shape the vision, plan, or code; all constraints, needs, and wants are considered, and together they arrive at innovative and comprehensive solutions.

The project will focus specifically on a Rural Code for Santa Cruz Island, as well as a Land Use Plan, Sustainability Strategy, and Village Master Plan for Floreana Island.

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