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Costa Rica initiative aims to create greener cities

A new Costa Rican initiative aims to improve quality of life by protecting and promoting green spaces in the country’s biggest cities.

The Biodiver_City Project, a partnership between Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and its German counterpart, plans to “create greener cities in a participatory manner.”

It will target Costa Rica’s Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), which is home to the capital of San José and houses half of the country’s total population in less than 5% of the national territory.

“The inhabitants who live in cities depend on urban ecosystems and the benefits they give us: green spaces for recreation, and that give us physical and mental health, healthy soils that allow rainwater to infiltrate avoiding floods, vegetation that cleans the air to breathe, carbon sequestration contributing to mitigate climate change and creates a more pleasant microclimate for people, among many more benefits,” said Maike Potthast, the Biodiver_City Project director.

“That is why it is important that nature is incorporated into urban planning.”

The Biodiver_City Project will help municipalities establish and manage biological corridors, similar to those created in San José after a 2011 decree.

Today, the Biological Intercity Corridors of Río Torres and María Aguilar help conserve river ecosystems in the Greater Metropolitan Area.

“For this administration, it is a priority that the institutional, municipal and civil society sectors can consolidate joint efforts to ensure the permanence of the benefits we obtain from biodiversity throughout our neighborhoods,” said Pamela Castillo, Costa Rica’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources.

“We must take lessons learned and successful experiences in biodiversity conservation, such as Biological Corridors, to urban initiatives for social and economic well-being. Land consumption, green plot, spaces for recreation, local identity, health, water and connectivity for flora and fauna are some of the dimensions covered by the initiative.”

The Biodiver_City Project will initially coordinate efforts with the municipalities of seven cantons: Tibás, Goicoechea, Curridabat, Alajuelita, San José, Montes de Oca and La Unión.

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