The antiquated custom of numberless buildings in Costa Rica’s capital – which has always been half-charming and half-headache – may soon be a thing of the past.
On Monday, San José’s mayor Johnny Araya announced a $1.2 million initiative to place street numbers on the long-empty facades of homes and office spaces.
“In the 21st century, it is not acceptable that Costa Ricans give directions the way they do,” Araya told the daily La Nación.
As members of a traditionally rural society, Costa Ricans have always identified addresses based on reference to landmarks.
The street address for the Mercedes-Benz in Escazú? Eight-hundred meters south of the Mulitplaza roundabout. The Scotia Bank in San José? Behind the National Theater. The Belgian Embassy? Twenty-five meters south of the Subaru in Los Yoses.
The new initiative might bring greater organization to private entities and government services, municipal leaders said.
“Sectors such as tourism, health care, public transportation, business transport, citizen security, statistics and the private sector will find an immediate benefit in the reduction of costs in finding addresses,” read a press release from the municipality.
The project is expected to begin in December and will be funded in part by the Banco Nacional and in part by the Banco de Costa Rica. In return for their financial commitment, each bank will be able to place its logo beside the street name and number.