Coastal Charter City
SCB was engaged by an international development team to create a vision for an economic Charter City along the coastal region in Central America. With an anticipated increase in trade associated with the Panama Canal expansion, Charter Cities are one economic strategy being considered to increase local trade and investment.
SCB’s plan outlines economic opportunities for a strategic location of four major land uses: an airport/logistics hub, a mixed-use high-density downtown, a coastal residential resort, and an eco-tourist settlement adjacent to a nature preserve. The land use concept proposes sequential investment zones that can be phased over time as the city grows. Critical physical planning issues, such as strategically locating roadway and airport infrastructure, were carefully balanced with social, environmental, and ecological considerations. GIS tools were instrumental in the development of the plan. These tools assisted the team in understanding the natural topography and tailoring the major programmatic elements to the site parameters. The first phase includes an airport and industrial development to build off of existing economic activity of the nearby port. Later phases will include affordable worker housing, mixed-use commercial centers, and an eco-tourism resort adjacent to the nature preserve.