The "Leyes de Indias," as they were called, were laws that actually addressed all aspects of life in the Americas. Nicaragua's city of Granada was laid out according to these guidelines.
Today, a city like Granada that is many centuries old shares a common trait with a modern community like Gran Pacifica Â both are very walkable. Gran Pacifica honors the heritage of the western side of Nicaragua by opting for a neighborhood feel, rather than the feel of a subdivision.
Subdivisions Can Isolate
Traditional subdivisions tend to pay homage to the automobile at the expense of human interaction. Homeowners return from work and pull right into the garage. Property lots are big enough to isolate neighbors from one another. Those living only a few doors away may not see each other more than a few times a year, if that.
Contrast that with the concept around which Granada was designed. Clearly, this city was developed long before motorized transportation came into existence. Key destinations were often within walking distance. Neighborhoods fostered, rather than inhibited, casual and friendly interaction among neighbors.
The Limits of the Urban Jungle
Gran Pacifica stands in marked contrast to other Central American developments marked by high-rise condos and heavy traffic. Whereas some areas appear to have merely transplanted the inhospitable terrain of the urban jungle from places like Florida to countries in Latin America, Gran Pacifica embraces the walkable neighborhood. That is, Gran Pacifica seeks to emulate some of the best of those Spanish urban design elements that went into creating communities like Granada many centuries ago.
Human Interaction and the New Urbanism
As a result, there is a difference in the way residents interact in this New Urbanism in Nicaragua. Â They may greet each other as they stroll to a neighborhood restaurant for dinner. They may stop for some good conversation. The places where they work, live and play may all be within walking distance of one another.
The pollution generated by automobiles is minimized in such a community. Indeed, at times, the automobile is almost superfluous. Granada's citizens of centuries ago interacted just fine without motorized transportation, and today, Gran Pacifica's residents embrace this more interactive, more sustainable way of life.
There are numerous ways that intelligent community design can minimize the carbon footprint; Nicaragua's New Urbanism as expressed at Gran Pacifica offers a blueprint for the future of neighborhood life.