Posts tagged with "nature-friendly"

Las Catalinas in Costa Rica Announces the Completion of Beach Town via Katherine Han by 360 Magazine

Las Catalinas Announces the Completion Beach Town

Las Catalinas Announces Completion of Beach Town Neighborhood Car-free seaside town in Costa Rica continues to innovate a better way of living

In 2006, the innovators behind a car-free town aspired to create a better way of life connecting people to nature in a place where 1,000 acres of a 1200-acre property would remain undeveloped as a tropical dry forest reserve. After  16 years of planning and construction,  that vision is now a reality with the completion of the neighborhood of Beach Town in Las Catalinas.  Referred to as one of the most important and beautiful new towns in the world by renowned Notre Dame School of Architecture Professor Douglas Duany, Las Catalinas is located in the northwestern province of Costa Rica.  Inspired by New Urbanism, the town offers a sustainable lifestyle that is influenced by the natural surroundings. Throughout its development, the town’s  commitment to nature remains as one of its main core values.

Consisting of approximately 150 single family residences, 14 mixed use buildings, and over a dozen commercial and civic buildings across 21 acres of land along the Pacific Coast, Beach Town is a high-density, car-free town. With friendly neighborhoods, walkable streets and plazas, and timeless architecture, Beach Town was conceptualized to combine leisure and urban living with an emphasis on the natural surroundings.  Beach Town is connected to two Pacific Ocean beaches and over 30 miles of hiking and biking trails in thriving tropical dry forests reserves. With a rich network of narrow passageways, stair streets and public plazas, the town weaves together 150 residences, two hotels, a beach club, eight restaurants and a variety of shops, offices and businesses centered on living well.  In 2022, The Congress for New Urbanism celebrated Beach Town with a Charter Award recognizing the town for achieving “more equitable, sustainable, connected, healthy, and prosperous communities.” Most activities, conversations and meals are enjoyed in the fresh air under shade trees or on the outdoor covered terraces within the timeless tropical architecture. The value placed on walkability and relationship to nature creates an engaging place to visit.

“While the radical idea to build a car-free town received pushback even from the initial design team, our walkable town now seems the most natural and preferred way to be,” said Roberto Villalobos, Sub-Director of Design and Construction for Las Catalinas.  “Car-free public realms invite natural sociability and freedom for children that can be enjoyed equally by all. The resulting density allows for more balanced natural-urban transects.  Beach Town’s minimal footprint creates a sustainable infrastructure not just for the natural environment, but also for an active and healthy lifestyle full of organic, human, and architectural beauty.”

Beach Town has come to life over the years and offers a vibrant and eclectic mix of retail businesses embracing a way of life that supports the natural fabric of town.  Beach Town Travel can arrange stays at the two hotels in town – Santarena Hotel and Posada San Rafael or with an array of villa options from flats to five-bedroom villas. The eight food and beverage venues located in Beach Town include Ponciana, Pots & Bowls, Pascual, Papagayo BrewHouse, La Taqueria at Beach Club, The Deli at Copper & Stone Gourmet, Cuatro Calle La Ronda and Coquelicot. The town’s boutique shops and stores include Las Catalinas Collection, Chunches Consignment, D’Aqui Design and Copper & Stone Gourmet Market. Beach Town also offers CORE by Chakfitness, Center of Joy, Pura Vida Ride, Wake Day Spa, ConnectOcean, BLP and Elif Academy for visitors and residents to enjoy.

Walk through Beach Town with founder Charles Brewer and the Town Architect team to learn about the challenges, successes and missteps made in planning and developing Beach Town in microphases. “Lessons will be applied as our eyes aim to the ambitious development of the remaining 180 acres of Las Catalinas all surrounded by our 1,000-acre natural tropical dry forest preserve,” Villalobos further explained.  “The next neighborhood underway includes El Prado where residences, mixed use buildings, parks, and neighborhoods have started vertical construction for an ambitious 600 buildings across 60 acres – most of which get panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and are surrounded by 40 kilometers of hiking and mountain biking trails.”

Located just east of Beach Town in El Prado, Lantana Residences is a collection of ocean view homes and flats built into the hillside. Set to begin construction in the second quarter of 2023, Lantana Residences are located in the second neighborhood in Las Catalinas on the hillside of El Prado. The residences flank a picturesque stair street and offer the most dramatic urban and ocean views in Las Catalinas. The residences are slated for completion in July 2025. Ranging from one to four bedrooms, Lantana Residences offer dramatic views, plentiful outdoor spaces, crafted interior finishes with spectacular architecture. Slanted rooftops, thick walls, high ceilings, clever ventilation, and other structural considerations provide respite from the outdoor elements in the Guanacaste tropical dry forest. Indoor and outdoor living spaces, pools, and outdoor terraces embrace the climate and allow for comfortable indoor and outdoor living. Wood and other materials used are from sustainable sources and all buildings are designed to be energy efficient.

The crowning jewel of the Lantana neighborhood is its stair-street architecture modeling pedestrian Mediterranean hill towns of the Old World. Not only are stair streets visually stunning, but they link people, places, and conversations together, providing an intricate tapestry that weaves lives together. Utilizing its intense sloping topography, Arosemena & Way Arquitectos designed the stair streets of Lantana to create a way for visitors and residents to explore the neighborhood from the shops, plazas, parks, and streets of lower levels of El Prado to the higher vistas, residences, and trail heads of the upper neighborhoods of El Prado. Highly visible from nearly all areas of town while offering a panoramic ocean and town view, the stair streets of Lantana enhance the pedestrian experience which is the cornerstone of Las Catalinas in encouraging interaction and engagement among residents and visitors.  The Lantana neighborhood will feature nine buildings and an intricate array of plazas, parks, and community pool. Residences offer a variety of floorplans ranging from 484 square feet to 3,843 square feet. For more information, email sales@lascatalinascr.com or 1-866-357-3872 or visit www.lantanaresidences.com.

About Las Catalinas, www.lascatalinascr.com

The conscious town of Las Catalinas is Costa Rica’s newest desirable beach town inspired by New Urbanist philosophy. The car-free, highly walkable town includes several inns and intimate hotels, shops, restaurants, retail, day spas, pedestrian streets, parks, plazas, and recreational facilities, all located between two of Costa Rica’s loveliest Pacific beaches and 1,000 acres of protected tropical dry forest, which are interlaced with extensive hiking and biking trails. Within the town, the walkable public spaces are interwoven with nature, and the architecture emphasizes indoor-outdoor living and scenic views. Cars are refreshingly absent. Founder Charles Brewer’s core values and beliefs include environmental stewardship, connection to one another and to the rhythms of nature, promotion of wellness, and an emphatic preference for quality of life over quantity of material possessions, understanding that the “good life” is not about material possessions but about human connections, good health, and ecological sustainability.

Tree illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

USDA Forest Service Reflects on 2020

Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, the USDA Forest Service today announced it surpassed goals and set records in 2020.

“2020 was a challenging year, with record wildland fire activity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the Forest Service, we have risen above these challenges and set our minds, hands and hearts to carrying out our mission to meet the needs of the communities we serve,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen.

The Forest Service relied on its strong science, innovation and partnerships to overcome this year’s challenges as the agency found new solutions to serve the public during a time of unprecedented need.

Creating healthy, productive forests and supporting rural economies

In 2020, the Forest Service provided jobs and stability for local economies through a year of historic timber production, selling more than 3.2 billion board feet of timber, the second-highest level in 20 years. The agency also improved forest conditions and reduced wildfire risk on over 2.65 million acres, removing hazardous fuels like dead and downed trees, and combating disease, insect and invasive species infestations.

The Forest Service undertook a suite of regulatory reforms to meet the goals of the Secretarial Memorandum to the Chief of the Forest Service modernize and align agency directives with new legislative authorities and reduce regulatory burdens. By the end of December 2020, the Forest Service will have nearly completed all guidance to implement new legislative authorities in the 2018 Farm Bill. In addition, Forest officials quickly began implementing President Trump’s Great American Outdoors Act to increase access to national forests and grasslands and make progress towards reducing the agency’s $5 billion infrastructure backlog.

Managing wildfire, and providing for health and safety

The Forest Service was successful in prioritizing early suppression of wildfire ignitions while facing a record-breaking fire year, with the most acres burned on national forests since 1910. The agency’s modeling research on how COVID-19 may spread between firefighters or in communities during response efforts led to new interagency safety protocols to better support fire camp management.  The protocols not only successfully minimized the spread of COVID-19 among the agency’s 10,000 firefighters, but early learning suggests the safety measures resulted in additional health benefits to fire crews, reducing ailments common in fire camps, which translated to a healthier and more resilient firefighting workforce available to protect lives, homes, and communities threatened by wildfire.

Sharing stewardship responsibilities and being better neighbors

The Forest Service made significant strides toward Shared Stewardship this year, working more closely than ever with Tribes, States, and local partners to make sure the right work happens in the right place at the right time. So far, 44 states and territories are now involved in a Stewardship Agreement. The agreements allow the Forest Service to employ the latest tools and share decision making on the highest priorities to improve forest conditions across broad landscapes. These new agreements have resulted in increasing resiliency of forests, protection of communities and reduction of wildfire risks. They have also produced jobs and stabilize economies.

Increasing access and improving recreation experiences

This year, Americans sought out their public lands in tremendous numbers, finding relief in the Great Outdoors, showing us once again how public lands unite our nation. In response, the Forest Service generated solutions to ensure visitors had every opportunity to safely use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands during the pandemic. The Forest Service welcomed record-breaking numbers of visitors, many of whom were first time users, with 95% expressing satisfaction with their experiences.

“Next year, we will continue to build on these successes to improve conditions on America’s national forests and grasslands to ensure they are healthier, more resilient and more productive,” added Chief Christiansen. We will keep building on the partnerships that make these successes possible and commit to increasing access to better connect people to their natural resources, so these national treasures endure for generations to come.”

For more information about the Forest Service visit www.fs.usda.gov

EPA TO CLEAN CONTAMINATED GROUNDWATER

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its plan to clean up contaminated groundwater in the eastern area of the Old Roosevelt Field Contaminated Groundwater Area Superfund Site in Garden City, N.Y. A treatment process will be used to remove trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) from groundwater, thereby reducing potential threats to people’s health. The cleanup is estimated to cost approximately $13.14 million.