The Naturbanas Routes project was born out of the concern of different groups and organizations, as well as the general opinion of the population of San Jose regarding the worrying situation of the green areas of the city. A quarter of the country is protected natural areas including two National Parks declared World Heritage by UNESCO. As Costa Rica is a world leader in environmental conservation and is one of the most biodiverse territories on the planet, it is very important to increase the natural areas of most cities of the country and especially in the capital
In San José, there are high levels of noise pollution and pollutants such as carbon dioxide released by cars are around 53% of the total national contamination. The two rivers that cross the city, Torres and María Aguilar, have high levels of pollution, especially in the areas with more contact with the population. This sad reality is what encourages the Naturbanas Routes project, a proposal both for the aggrandizement of the city and the conservation of the natural areas and biodiversity of the San José area.
Planning to revitalize the city
The Naturbanas routes, project the construction of non-motorized shared paths for uses such as walking, jogging, running, skating or biking, in order to promote interaction between citizens and nature in an eco-sustainable way. The idea on which this project is based is connecting people with their city through nature, caring for and protecting it. These routes would connect more than 25 kilometers north and south of the city of San José, linking five cantons: San José, Tibás, Goicoechea, Montes de Oca and Curridabat through the central segments of the Torres and María Aguilar rivers. In addition, the project promotes the regeneration and strengthening of the natural environment of urban rivers. The routes will link three main green areas in the city: the sports facilities of the University of Costa Rica, the La Sabana Metropolitan Park, and La Paz Park.
The first phase of the project is already designed and has financing thanks to the economic collaboration of different sponsorships. This first kilometer is located between the Bridge De Los Incurables between Guadalupe and the entrance to Barrio Escalante and culminates in Barrio Amón adjoining the entrance of the Simón Bolívar Zoo. This route begins by offering citizens a safe entrance under the bridge of the Incurables and is developed through steps, pedestrian bridges, and bike paths, in the middle of nature.
The Rutas Naturbanas Foundation chose this sector of the city to start its project there for several reasons. The proximity to the historic center of the city, for being a booming area gives it more popularity and secures influx of people. The fact that most of the land that crosses the route was state property facilitated the procedures for the project’s approval. In addition, because of its social commitment, Rutas Naturbanas wants to increase road safety in different areas of the city, and also next to the Incurables bridge is located a school that needs to reinforce its security.
What will be the benefits of Naturbanas routes?
This citizen project will promote the conservation of ecosystems and the creation of interurban biological corridors. It will help the cleaning, sanitation, and protection of rivers; creating new areas of recreation and natural spaces to circulate. It will also mean a reduction in carbon levels in the city. It is of great importance to link neighborhoods and urban centers bringing greater security for people who walk or pedal through the city using these ecological routes.
Naturbanas also propose as a continuation of the project the creation of balconies and recreational areas, all with a focus on not harming nature, for this reason throughout the construction of the project will avoid the feeling of trees. Instead, reforestation and sowing of endemic species of the region are planned, trying to recover the ecological balance and biodiversity.
Related to the reforestation of natural areas, the vegetation plan was created, which includes three main bets according to the type of terrain and access to light and water: colorful, tropical and wooded. The colorful proposals seek to beautify and complete the existing forested areas with flowering, those of forest type will try to clean and strengthen the arboreal areas and the proposal of tropical vegetation has as purpose to be applied in the entrances of the routes to reflect the iconic and magical character of the Costa Rica’s flora.
The Naturbanas routes also aim to strengthen the security of the City of San José. The project aims that through the creation of these shared routes citizens can move more safely through the city to their places of housing, study or work, without having to worry about their safety. Being restricted areas for vehicular use, the security will be much greater since both people on foot as on bicycles or other devices will not have to worry about accidents with cars.
This project has been achieved thanks to the cooperation of citizens and different non-profit organizations and private entities, anyone can join as a volunteer to this wonderful initiative. The naturbanas routes project calls you to think of a different San José.