Isla Santa Cruz, Isla Floreana, and Isla Isabella
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands, an equatorial archipelago 600 miles west of Ecuador’s coast, are a famous ecological destination, with 4 inhabited islands, 30,000 residents and 170,000 tourists annually.  With only 50 years of settlement and a mere 20 years of urbanism, the built environment is in its infancy.  Its future viability, however, is uncertain as current growth patterns jeopardize the very ecosystem that draws people to it. 

The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community was hired in 2010 when urban expansion was permitted on the Galapagos Islands to provide the design direction for the expansion in a manner consistent with the Foundation’s and the Islands’ sustainability goals.  Watkins consulted with the Foundation and their client in this regard.  Public charrettes have been held in Puerto Ayora and the highlands of Santa Rosa on Isla Santa Cruz; Puerto Velasco Ibarra and the highlands of Isla Florena; and Puerto Villamil and the highlands community of Santo Tomas on Isla Isabella to focus on urban and architectural design issues, and to prepare sustainability design codes.  Other work included demonstrating climate-responsive design and construction practices, encouraging local food production (within the strict environmental limits), and rehabilitating the islands’ decrepit infrastructure. 

Location:  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador [map]
Client:  The Prince's Foundation for Building Community
Type:  Urban Design: Revitalization, Infill & Retrofit; Codes
Acres:  n/a
Program:  n/a
Transect Zones:  T1, T2, T3, T4, T5
Website: n/a