Prince Charles to provide advice for environmentally sound development in Puerto Ayora

The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment announced on its website this week that it will be providing support in ensuring that the development of lands recently allocated for housing in Puerto Ayora will take place according to the best environmental standards possible.     Up to 1,000 residential units are expected to be built over the next few years in the "El Mirador" housing development, located along the main road leading out of town.   Along with other conservation organizations, including the Charles Darwin Foundation, the Prince's Foundation will work with local communities to produce an urban architecture code for a development of over 1000 houses at El Mirador, Puerto Ayora. The code sets out information on building codes and energy efficient housing, whilst also considering the overall impacts of construction on the local eco-system and communities within the area.

CNH Tours has remarked in the past that current building standards are maladapted to the environment in Galapagos, which has a very hot season with intense sunlight, and a cooler season requiring, in some cases, a bit of indoor heating at night.  Poor building practices result in an excessive reliance on air conditioning, and poor insulation and use of vegetation for shading results in very low efficiency in terms of use of electricity.   As most electricity is generated by oil powered electrical power plants, this oil has to be imported at a high cost, subsidized by the government of Ecuador, resulting in even more wastage, and oil spill risks (see the Jessica Oil spill in January 2001 - in Galapagos).

Water is also scarce, yet most rainwater is left to drain off rooftops onto the ground, and is lost to human use.    The water in Puerto Ayora is unsafe to drink, with high E.coli counts (because sewage is simply flushed into holes the ground) and high salinity (because water is pumped from below ground, where it mixes with sea water given the high porosity of the volcanic rock on which Puerto Ayora is built).

So, CNH Tours welcomes this news.   There has been some sensationalist reporting about it in the UK press, indicating that the development will double the population of Galapagos.    In fact, the development will have no impact on the population.    The people are there already, the population is growing through natural growth, and through a well controlled immigration.   The land for the "El Mirador" is already slated for development - the issue is, will it be good development, or bad development.  The demand for housing in Galapagos is very  high, and the Prince's Foundation involvement will only assure that better building standards are applied.


For more informaiton, see the Prince's Foundation page here.

Image from the Prince's Foundation Website

Princes Foundation