Green architecture, environmentally friendly, eco tourism and sustainability are all keywords we hear these days. This comes as a welcome change because the cites and urban planning of the 1970’s and 80’s was an abysmal concrete vision of the future and some pretty horrible architecture. Cancun was first conceived and started in the 1970’s so there is a lot wanting in the design of the downtown area. Playa Del Carmen has been built since then and you can notice a change in the planning and design. It is as if Playa has learned from Cancun and perhaps Tulum is learning from Playa Del Carmen. Tulum is still in the infancy stage but the amount of “eco” resorts and new developments that are eco friendly is amazingly high.
Since Playa Del Carmen has grown so fast it is obvious that there are some things lacking in regard to green planning and design. Your first impression of Playa Del Carmen is a lot of concrete, hot tropical weather and asking yourself why is it not better designed? Why is there not more shade, trees and buildings better adapted to the climate? The answer is just plain lack of education and money, the first being the most important reason. Fortunately hotels and many business owners see the benefit to having attractive places and the advantage of the shade given by have green around. The good news is though that there is a noticeable greening in Playa Del Carmen these days.
Playa Del Carmen has been shifting to a more natural look. Even the Mayor recently started a tree planting initiative. While sometimes private development is ahead of the curve, it is nice to see local government going in the direction of more environmentally friendly city. We have been going around the city taking photos for you to show you examples of how Playa Del Carmen is changing for the better and looking a little more green.
The pedestrian street of 5th Avenue makes for a walkable city and is one of the main tourist attractions of Playa Del Carmen. The success of this Avenue just might have influenced the changed in 10th Avenue. Now 10th Avenue is seeing a little more green and eco friendliness. The once crowded sidewalk and bike path that went from Playacar to Consituyentes Avenue has been repaved and widened. There is space now for trees and bushes that provide an nice green line of plants and future shade.
This will allow pedestrians a little more room for walking and less competition for sidewalk with bikes now that everyone has their own space. Lets hope this allows businesses to breath a little easier as well, having more space for outside seating and increased pedestrian traffic because the nice sidewalks. Even though the street is a little more narrow this has not affected traffic and things still flow through town.
One of our favorite green buildings is the Tendenza Parking Garage. Yes there is a parking garage under all the green! Each floor has planters around the edges with tubes for watering. This makes for a cooler temperature in the garage and an attractive building. To make this building even more green they use the roof for a fitness class like crossfit. This gives people a great view of the city and a lot of fresh air.
New condo building in Playa Del Carmen are getting a little greener as well. Older buildings used to be concrete boxes and built with little thought to landscaping and replanting. A good example of the newer look to Playa Del Carmen is the Papaya building on Calle 6Bis or 6 1/2 Street between 20th and 25th Avenues. Not only did they use the courtyard to plant large palms but used the roof for green planting and small spaces around the building for hearty plants like bamboo and vines to cover the walls. The usage of vines on the wall is a great idea because it keeps the sun off of them and keeps it cooler, this reduces the heat the wall radiates back into the air in the evening. Every little thing helps keep buildings cooler. If you visit this building you will notice how fresh it is inside as well. Shaded walkways and open cross breezes keep the interior cool as well.
Shopping in Playa has gotten a little greener as well. Paseo Del Carmen shopping plaza has gotten a spruced up green area wit large ferns. This area with a fountain is a great place to sit and enjoy a treat while you rest from shopping.
Plaza Quinta Alegria is one green plaza! The interior has tons of hanging green plants. Not only is it pleasing to the eye but much fresher and a beautiful place to sit out of the heat and sun on 5th Avenue. They also added sun canopies that extend over the courtyard. This added shade reduces the temperature a few degrees and is sure to save some energy.
Have you noticed the new trees planted next to Plaza Quinta Alegria in 16th St? Do they look familiar? These were the rescued trees from the demolition of Calle Corazon!!! They saved them and replanted them. So far they look good and will be back to giving shade and fresh air in Playa. This was a very nice touch.
Here are two buildings in Playa Del Carmen that always get photos taken of them because they look so interesting with all the vines. Sure it might take a little maintenance to keep the windows clear but we are sure the shade it provided keeps the inhabitants nice and cool.
Talking about green spaces, there have been some new parks in Playa Del Carmen that are dedicated to preserving green space and the natural flora and fauna. Parque La Ceiba and Parque El Arbol are two such parks that have worked hard to work with the environment and act as educational classrooms. There are numerous programs like recycling and plant sales that all promote a better working with the environment in Playa Del Carmen. Make sure you check out these parks and support them so we can continue to enjoy such spaces and add more.
Have you been down by Mamitas Beach Club lately? They have added a new green wall to the club house. It looks great and is further indication of the greening of Playa Del Carmen.
Lets hope that this trend continues and Playa Del Carmen continues to look a little more greener and is a little more cool.