Sustainability Guidelines for Porta Norte

These are the introductory words of Porta Norte’s architecture charrette report by the Master Planners — Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) in 2015.

By DPZ

Introduction

Panama City has experienced unprecedented economic and urban growth in recent years. The urban edges, in particular, have been seeing new development, including shopping centers, malls, office parks, apartment complexes, and single-family developments. Many of these, including those infill sites closer to the historic center, are auto-dependent interventions. By design, they isolate themselves from their surroundings and minimally contribute to the public realm.

The northern region of Panama City is not yet overbuilt. It affords Porte Norte the opportunity and the challenge to create a model of sustainable growth. The following few principles outline how the region should relate to its natural resources, pedestrian-oriented development, and sustainability in the long run.

The Metropolis

The region should consist of multiple urban nodes with identifiable centers and edges. They should be compact, connected, mixed-use, walkable, and diverse.

Development patterns should not blur the edges of the metropolis. Infill development should be encouraged. New, non-contiguous development should be organized as towns and villages with their urban edges and planned to balance jobs and housing, not as dormitory suburbs.

New development should respect historical patterns, precedents, and boundaries. They should incorporate a broad spectrum of public and private uses to support a regional economy that benefits people of all incomes. Affordable housing should be distributed throughout the region to match job opportunities.

A framework of transportation alternatives should support the physical organization of the region. Transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and other viable systems should maximize access and mobility throughout the region, promoting choice while reducing dependence upon the automobile.

Neighborhoods

Human habitats should be compact, pedestrian-friendly, and mixed-use. They are the main structural elements of cities and towns.

Many daily living activities should occur within walking distance, allowing independence to those who do not drive, mostly the young and elderly. We should design interconnected networks of streets to encourage walking, reduce the number and length of automobile trips, and conserve energy.

We should embed a range of civic spaces, buildings in neighborhoods, and green areas (parks, playgrounds, village greens, sports fields, and community gardens). We should define conservation areas to connect to different neighborhoods, districts, and nature.

Blocks, Streets, and Buildings

A primary task of all architecture and landscape design is the physical definition of streets and public spaces as places of shared use, with buildings seamlessly linked to their surroundings. Streets and squares should be safe, comfortable, and enjoyable to the pedestrian.

Architecture and landscape design should grow from local climate, topography, natural traces of the land, history, and building practice.

Civic buildings can be distinctive because their role is different from that of other buildings forming the city’s fabric.

All buildings should provide their inhabitants with a clear sense of location, weather, and time using natural heating and cooling methods.

Porta Norte

Porta Norte will offer a departure from Panama’s current development trends as a sustainable new settlement based on traditional planning principles. Well-connected to the region and respecting the natural and human-made local context, the new town will create new choices for compact, walkable, human-scale environments.

We envision Porta Norte neighborhoods integrating high-quality housing, associated retail and civic facilities, and employment development. Based on the Transect’s urban-to-rural methodology, the final master plan incorporates a range of human habitats, from the most urban and compact choices to larger homes and rural greenways along the rivers’ edges. Each neighborhood will undergo further detailing in such a large site during the next design and construction phases.


Join my blog to receive new posts:

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Diseñando un barrio con DPZ y Andrés Duany

Mi padre y yo visitamos frecuentemente los master planners de Porta Norte, la firma Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ). Esta vez llegamos a Miami con un objetivo claro: incluir más áreas verdes, educativas, deportivas y espirituales para enaltecer la comunidad de Porta Norte.

Nuestra reunión comenzó justo después del almuerzo y duró hasta la tarde del día siguiente.

Las oficinas de DPZ quedan en un lugar recóndito en las afueras de Miami, en un edificio emblemático y sencillo. La llegada a las oficinas de DPZ siempre es mágica. Tengo el placer de saludar a viejos amigos con quien comparto una historia muy bonita: el diseño de Porta Norte. Al entrar se siente un ambiente lleno de energía. Hay arquitectos sumergidos profundamente en su diseño rodeados de sus mascotas con dibujos a mano que se desbordan de la mesa y un olor intenso a café cubano.

Mientras el equipo recopila y organiza los materiales para trabajar, Andrés Duany nos enseña los proyectos en los que están trabajando en este momento. Me encanta cuando encuentro arquitectos que me enseñan cosas nuevas. Después del tour de inspiración, Andrés nos guía al pabellón donde trabajaremos.

Como es costumbre, el inicio de la sesión siempre trata sobre actualizar al equipo de DPZ sobre los nuevos avances, las prioridades de diseño y nuestras ideas. Al terminar esta sesión de alrededor de 40 minutos, Andrés agarra un papel en blanco y comienza a dibujar. Enseguida estamos todos en armonía aportando ideas, opinando, debatiendo y dibujando en tiempo real. Con este proceso, poco a poco, vamos puliendo el diseño. Trabajamos hasta el anochecer.

Mi padre y yo salimos de la oficina con una sonrisa de oreja a oreja imaginándonos a los residentes disfrutando el resultado de nuestras gotas de sudor.

El resultado de nuestro trabajo fue este primer boceto:

Charrette of Porta Norte with Andrés Duany and Henry Faarup
DRAFT: Athletic / Educational / Spiritual Facilities

Este diseño incluye jardines, espacios dedicados al yoga, canchas para múltiples deportes, un bar/café, un spa, un templo, una escuela y una universidad.

Estamos contentos de que este diseño responde a nuestra visión de crear una comunidad educada con cultura, espiritualidad y salud. Estoy ansioso por tener la experiencia de ver a los niños corriendo en los jardines de la escuela y escuchar la melodía de sus risas.