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 Studying Abroad at the Graduate Level A.K.A. “The DURP Panama Experience of 2009” Florida State University Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

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Presentation on theme: " Studying Abroad at the Graduate Level A.K.A. “The DURP Panama Experience of 2009” Florida State University Department of Urban and Regional Planning."— Presentation transcript:

1  Studying Abroad at the Graduate Level A.K.A. “The DURP Panama Experience of 2009” Florida State University Department of Urban and Regional Planning Summer 2009 Studio

2  Background: Summer 2009 Panama studio was offered around the same time last year… 12 students signed up: Megan Anderson Will Bedford Kelly Bray Monique Carby Stanley David Kebreab Henry Program Assistant: Stacy Clenney Andy Johnson Eric Kozielski Sarah McKinley Kathleen Rosenberg-Eckert Krista Scott Kate Wilson

3  The Project: Revitalization plan for a poor urban community – Boca la Caja

4  History of Boca la Caja Boca la Caja was one of Panama City’s first informal settlements, established around 1960 on the coast of the Bay of Panama The community was traditionally known as a fishing community Recently, an initiative has been underway to issue titles to residents who meet government qualifications

5  Recent Issues in Boca la Caja Increase in criminal activity Lack of coordination with the federal government regarding land titles Lack of social cohesion among sectors of the community Lack of accessibility to and connectivity within the community (encroaching urban development) Insufficient housing within the community 1yhhwoU/SJnmy2GHvtI/AAAAAAAAADc/9w2_ozOjRbE/s320 / jpg

6  The Approach: 4 project teams: Social Capital Develop community-based organizations Build consensus on common goals Unite the community for representation to government agencies Economic Development Small business development in the community Transportation enterprise (water taxi, bus cooperative) Public marketplace Public/Private Partnerships Forge key institutional relationships between government, developers, and the community Urban Design Graphic representation of the revitalization plan Promotion/“branding” of the community Neighborhood safety issues

7  Iquelda The Approach: Counterparts in the community assisted with qualitative data collection, interviews, walking tours through the community Ivan Eusebio Nilsa Dionicio

8  The Solution: a comprehensive redevelopment plan…

9  …presented to the residents of Boca la Caja at a formal community meeting

10  The Solution: a comprehensive redevelopment plan… …and published twice in the national newspaper!

11  Studying Internationally: What’s it Like?

12  Studying Internationally (the “Reality” of Studying in Panama) There are lots of “little things” different between life in Tallahassee and life in Panama… Transportation (getting around):

13  There are lots of “little things” different between life in Tallahassee and life in Panama… Language: Lots of folks speak English; you can get around fairly easily knowing only a few “key” phrases Communication (cell phones) Several national cell carriers in Panama Buy a phone for about $20, then buy minutes as you need them Cost to call the U.S.: about 10 cents/minute Cost of retail goods Panama uses the U.S. dollar (“Balboas”) interchangeably with Panamanian currency; most things are about 25% cheaper (more or less) Studying Internationally (the “Reality” of Studying in Panama)

14  There are lots of “little things” different between life in Tallahassee and life in Panama… Cultural differences: Panamanians are notorious for being late to appointments This is DEFINITELY contradicted by their driving habits, however 1 rule of the road in Panama: if you get to the spot first, you own it Panamanians are also notable for their hospitality (common in Latin America) Wear pants, not shorts (but at the CDS you can wear whatever you want) “Red zones” in Panama City: El Chorrillo Curundú Boca la Caja Studying Internationally (the “Reality” of Studying in Panama)

15  Studying Internationally: The “Reality” of Studying in Panama Limitations: Language barrier Despite lots of people understanding some English, most people aren’t fluent and you should be open to learning Spanish “on the fly” while you’re there – it only helps Latin Americans also appreciate you giving a legitimate effort to speak Spanish Studio space We had none! There’s a computer lab, though, and everyone lives close together, so getting together is easy

16  Studying Internationally: The “Reality” of Studying in Panama Limitations: Technology No plotter Computer lab doesn’t have any of the “specialty” software GIS, CAD, ERDAS, Transportation modeling software, Adobe, etc. No free printing, but there were only a few things we needed to print Proximity Stay in Clayton, a few miles from Panama City Need a bus/taxi/ride to get anywhere However, buses to the mall come every 10 minutes (or better) for 25 cents

17  Living at the Ciudad del Saber: Housing: live in 3-bedroom duplexes right next to each other Easy to get together to hang out, study, etc. (Saturday BBQ!) Coconuts and mangos EVERYWHERE Laundry: one or two sets of washer/dryers in someone’s carport These cost a few quarters, buy your own detergent Also a laundromat on campus, about a 5 minute walk Studying Internationally (the “Reality” of Studying in Panama) 4 th of July 2009!

18  Living at the Ciudad del Saber Computer lab Not very well-maintained though… Slow computers, some have viruses (just use a flash drive & important work to yourself) Pool: 50-meter outdoor Olympic-style pool with a deck & lawn chairs Gym: basketball courts, volleyball, some weight & cardio equipment Equipment is a little old, but definitely workable Can use the pool and gym free by showing FSU card Both less than 200 meters from the housing Studying Internationally (the “Reality” of Studying in Panama)

19  Free time? Lots of work to do with the studio, but lots of free time too Cool stuff nearby: Jazz clubs/other live music Parque Nacional Metropolitano Parque Soberania (with a zoo – only $2!) The Panama Canal Albrook Mall (HUGE, lots of very nice stores) Lum’s – a bar & grill about 2 miles away, a “Road House” kind of place Casinos Lots of other cool places in & around Panama City Studying Internationally (the “Reality” of Studying in Panama)

20  We had 3 great excursions, roughly one every two weeks: Inland Cerro la Vieja in the Coclé province Waterfall hike, trip to an organic farm, stop on the way back at Santa Clara beach A private island in the San Blas archipelago Snorkeling, great food, and beautiful beaches A touristy lodge in Bocas del Toro More snorkeling, gift shopping, starfish beach, great nightlife Excursions!

21  Cerro la Vieja: Excursions!

22  San Blas: Excursions!

23  Bocas del Toro: Excursions!

24  Future Work: What’s in Store for the Next Group Our progress: Got a basic plan in place & accustomed (somewhat) the residents of BLC to the work Got some of the national redevelopment spotlight on BLC Still ongoing work in Curundú By working with officials at the highest levels of government, we changed some very important people’s opinions about the community (and the future thereof) What’s next: Our project’s approach:The Main Street Approach: Social Capital-Organization Design-Design Economic Development-Economic Restructuring Public/Private Partnerships-Promotion Why not work with Main Street?

25  Future Work: What’s in Store for the Next Group *This section is currently tentative Each year, Florida Main Street offers a “Main Street 101” Training session designed for participating communities, planners, architects, board members, etc. Specialized training from consultants at NTHP, FMS communities, and others Focuses on the basics of the Main Street 4-Point Approach We’re working on setting up a Main Street 101 training for the next group of students in the Panama studio Pro bono Would be set up sometime before leaving for Panama (between April-June) Would be part of the project orientation process We have support from NTHP to use the Main Street name & approach Might (not sure yet) have support in-country from NTHP staff Our point person is from Honduras & is very interested in expanding Main Street to pilot communities internationally

26  Future Work: What’s in Store for the Next Group The Panama project needs people with all kinds of skill sets: Transportation planners Urban designers Real estate-savvy students Environmental planners We need to improve this… …and promote this… Public administration students Business students Advertisers/promoters Etc. …while avoiding this. content/uploads/2008/06/panama-city.jpg

27  You get: Awesome excursions Pre-paid housing International work experience Cultural immersion Lasting friendships Capstone! Early graduation? (9 credits in summer semester, and you can take classes in Summer B) Marketable job skills and valuable experience: Formal training in the Main Street Approach (downtown redevelopment and historic preservation) Project management Problem solving Consensus building Oral & written communication Leadership opportunities Exposure to government at its highest levels So what’s in it for you? content/uploads/2009/04/fish.jpg

28  A few words from International Programs & Questions and Answers Photo credits: Megan Anderson, Sarah McKinley, Kate Wilson, Will Bedford, Krista Scott, Monique Carby, Kathleen Rosenberg-Eckert, Andy Johnson, and, of course, the Internet


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