The basic idea of the Mechapa Integrated System (SIM) is to carry out a territorial development project involving the area of the Consiguina Peninsula, with the aim of connecting the different ecosystems and ecotones, as well as the existing agricultural and residential settlements. The aim is to turn the area into a staging post, essential for the discovery of Nicaragua, along the north-south axis. In this context, a Landscape Management Project will be created, i.e. a tool capable of developing the various stages of the process of governing a territory, while enhancing ecosystems and improving the quality of life of residents.
Conceived as a landscape management project, the SIM is an innovative model – replicable in other contexts – of a tourist infrastructure and residential settlement that takes the ecological and environmental wealth of Nicaragua as its basic element, recovers local traditions, often overwhelmed by globalisation, contributes to the social, economic and cultural development of the indigenous population and combines conscious agricultural production with scientific research.
The Mechapa Integrated System represents, therefore, a mixed settlement model whose aim is to harmoniously combine the following macro-activities:
- economic growth, achievable through alternative development models, where the territory is an asset to be valued and preserved and not a resource to be depleted;
- organisation of new tourist, residential and productive settlements in a functional organisation chart that exploits and enhances local professionalism and culture and aims to create a zero-impact human settlement, conceived in a closed economy context that uses indigenous resources and does not contaminate the environment;
- valorisation of local culture and support to the growth of resident populations through the implementation of a permanent educational programme, and promotion of entrepreneurial and productive initiatives supporting the whole induced activities of the area and serving the whole system;
- promotion and valorisation of Nicaragua’s natural and environmental heritage with the creation of an infrastructure, spread throughout the territory of a Biodiversity Museum, built according to the latest design and management models, capable of promoting the study and control of the various Nicaraguan ecosystems and ecotones, and also as a research and experimentation centre for agricultural production and applied sciences.
To achieve these objectives, the project should consider the definition of a Tourist District, also accessible to private households, of the entire area of the Cosiguina Peninsula and define the existing variety of ecosystems: the Playa, the Estero, the Forest, the Volcano, the Agricultural Area.
Starting from these macro areas, the objective is to represent the entire Tourist District as a network, with variable and modular meshes, made up of knots and connections.
Read in this way, the knots in the project represent tourist and private settlements, training and entrepreneurial initiative poles, as well as tourist and service infrastructures; whereas connections stand for the Biodiversity Museums, aiming to enhance the natural heritage, present in the whole Cosiguina Peninsula.
Excluding these macro-objectives, the Mechapa Integrated System was born as an open project, capable of receiving and elaborating ideas and initiatives, aiming at the study of development policies and promotion of the entire area, constituting in fact a possible prototype and reference model for the growth of the tourist economy.
The network architecture of the Mechapa Integrated System, conceived on the idea of creating a harmonious system of tourist and private settlement knots and museum connections, on the one hand is based on the principles of conscious tourism, and on the other hand relies on the design and use of the state-of-the-art eco-sustainable technologies, which are non-invasive and renewable and possibly linked to local traditions.
Principles of eco-sustainable and conscious tourism
A wide-ranging territorial revaluation and architectural development project, which is innovative and uses most modern construction technologies, cannot disregard a strong cultural and philosophical matrix that traces its guidelines and defines its peculiarity.
Following this approach, the Mechapa Integrated System aspires to define itself as an area development project, eco-sustainable and conscious, and therefore based on the principles of social and economic justice, in full respect for the environment and indigenous cultures, and with the primary objective of recognising the centrality of local host communities.
In this direction, it is clear that the fundamental element is the valorisation of the individualities and capacities of Nicaragua in order to increase their use and support employment. In this way, the process of marginalisation and expulsion of the local population from new tourist resorts, a phenomenon that often occurs in other contexts, will be prevented and their integration and participation will be promoted.
This immersion and identification with the environment will allow visitors and residents to gain a broader knowledge of the surrounding reality and will enable tourists to experience a return to a human dimension of the origins; a dimension that is now lost but rich in suggestions, because it is antithetical to everyday life and therefore sought after as a true escape and myth to be pursued for a return to values, flavours and ancient rhythms.
These considerations are in line with an initial and brief analysis of the flow of international visitors, from which it emerges very clearly that the most accredited uristics is that of seeking uncontaminated ecosystems in places outside the traditional itineraries and settlement models.
All of these evaluations, if taken as a whole for Nicaragua, open up interesting scenarios for the design and development of services and recreational and accommodation facilities that can meet this growing demand for a tourist offer, designed in territorial contexts that are still untouched and characterised by an intact local culture and tradition, uncontaminated by Western fashions and customs.
Such tourist model is obviously based on the study of a residential settlement in line with Nicaraguan customs and architectural elements, trying to make the necessary and inevitable modern comforts as unobtrusive as possible and maintaining high quality standards for recreational and accommodation services.
Central to this are the design and use of eco-sustainable technologies, both capable of developing the entire Mechapa area in a way to maintain its natural heritage unaltered, while at the same time enhancing and preserving it for wise use and creation of settlements and infrastructures in the spirit of respectful, conscious and non-invasive urbanisation.
Design and eco-sustainable technologies
The settlement design will follow the concept of integrating traditional Nicaraguan architectural typologies with the latest construction technologies, pursuing a vision in which man’s presence is configured as collaborating and symbiotic with nature, which becomes a raw material, inspiration and functional solution, even in its own cyclical, variously coloured form.
In order to achieve this convergence, identification of construction elements and easy-to-find eco-compatible materials that do not require specialised labour and are in line with local professionalism and resources, is key.
In compliance with these premises, it is clear that in order to plan the Mechapa Integrated System it is fundamental to define organisational macro-models for:
- technologies and building materials
- the production and distribution of energy which, due to the environmental peculiarities of Nicaragua, cannot disregard renewable sources and particularly wind and solar power;
- the management of water resources and the functional scheme for the supply of water and its disposal, which, like energy production, has been designed to be eco-sustainable and therefore oriented towards phyto-purification and septic tanks;
- the ICT infrastructure, designed not only to optimise the management model of the entire tourist district, but more specifically to:
- support local community, with the development of an Open Data network infrastructure for the dissemination of systems of cooperation, collaboration and use of the data generated by the whole system;
- support production systems, with particular reference to the agricultural and breeding chain;
- monitor ecosystems and ensure environmental prevention, with the aid of specific sensors and spatial detection technologies;
- support teaching and research activities, with the integrated management of the Biodiversity Museum;
- create multimedia telemedicine systems for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and for the launch of prevention campaigns, with particular reference to workplace-related diseases.
Thus, innovation and environment for a truly sustainable and, above all, homogeneous development, that would be part of the cultural and social context, able to maintain unaltered the delicate and precious anthropological and naturalistic balances – a development that, indeed, could represent growth and enrichment for all the multifaceted community of Mechapa.
Biodiversity, tourist development and community
Structured according to the principles of conscious tourism and in the spirit of innovative eco-sustainable technologies, the Mechapa Integrated System implements a model of mixed urbanisation, conceived as the natural evolution of the host’s environmental and cultural context. This feature is truly unique in the panorama of settlements in the area and represents the real challenge in planning and, at the same time, will be a school example on the international scene. This is also due to the unique characteristics of the Mechapa territory – a true uncontaminated paradise of biodiversity and community, harmoniously coexisting – where urban development must be conceived as a discreet and non-invasive part.
This prejudicial approach with which the idea at the base of the Mechapa Integrated System was born, finds a joyous solution in the mesh matrix of knots and connections on which the urbanisation project is based and which allows the invisible weaving of the Tourist District to be created. Invisible weaving that aims to connect biodiversity and community and, in such work of correlation, enhance the cultural and environmental peculiarities of the area, transfer knowledge and training to residents, and represent an opportunity for economic growth that is functional and in line with indigenous customs.
Tipology: Integrated development project
Place: Nicaragua, Consiguina Peninsula
Stato: In attesa di finanziatori e di maggiore stabilità politica