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Project Update – EcoCitizen World Map Project in Lima, Peru

Ecocity Builders is excited to share news about our latest pilot city for the EcoCitizen World Map Project (EWMP) – Lima, Peru. Holly Pearson, Planning Manager at Ecocity Builders, was in Lima from early March through early April working on the launching and development of the project.

The EWMP uses web-based mapping tools, including GIS and online multi-media applications, to graphically and spatially display information about the state of the urban ecosystem, as well as consumption of resources such as water and energy, at the neighborhood level. The purpose of these activities is twofold – to empower residents with knowledge to affect change, and to provide baseline information on existing conditions that can be used to inform decisions and actions (for example, initiatives to improve energy efficiency or access to clean water).

For the Lima pilot, Holly has been working with our local partners, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) and the national government’s Ministry of the Environment (MINAM), on the activities that will form the foundation of the EWMP, including data collection and developing an academic course on EcoCitizen mapping. The Lima project team is also working to cultivate partnerships with community organizations and local government officials in the potential pilot areas where the EWMP research work will be focused.

Rimac River

Rímac River

The Lima EWMP will include a special focus on water resources – the supply, consumption, and quality of water within specific communities. Water is an increasing concern for local officials and residents of Lima, which is the world’s second largest city located in a desert (after Cairo, Egypt) – and the effects of climate change may impact local weather patterns and the availability of water in the future for Lima’s 9 million inhabitants.

Our potential pilot areas in Lima include:

Santa Eulalia, a small, rural community located about 35 km east of Lima. The town is situated in the basin of the Santa Eulalia River, a major tributary of the Rímac River, which supplies 75% of Lima’s water.

Ate, an urban district located on the outskirts of Lima that includes a number of “barrios populares,” or informal settlements. Located downstream from Santa Eulalia and adjacent to the Rímac River, Ate is a lower- to middle-income urban community with many physical and environmental challenges, such as informal neighborhoods that do not have access to municipal water supply or sanitation services.

San Borja, a modern district in central Lima. San Borja’s municipal government has sponsored a number of innovative plans and programs related to greening the city and promoting sustainability, such as bicycle lanes and tree planting. The mayor of San Borja and his administration are very interested in mapping and showcasing their urban environmental projects through the Lima EWMP.

The Ate neighborhood

The Ate neighborhood

Santa Eulalia valley

Santa Eulalia valley

As part of the EcoCitizen mapping course to be offered through PUCP, tentatively scheduled for August, students and community leaders from Santa Eulalia, Ate and/or San Borja will work together to conduct neighborhood-level research on environmental and social indicators, such as household audits to quantify consumption of water and other resources, water quality testing, and citizen surveys about quality of life and environmental concerns. The community-generated data will be uploaded to the online GIS base map for Lima, which is currently under construction. The end result will be an interactive online platform that hosts the data, the map and other graphics, results, recommendations, and reports.