Galapagos Eco-friendly Housing Development

With a housing development of 1,150 homes planned for the Galapagos Island of Santa Cruz, Prince Charles has been called in to assist conservationists so that the controversial plan can be implemented in a way that would not harm this vital ecosystem. The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment will thus be setting up an office in Puerto Ayora next month to assist in creating sustainable housing on the island.

unique species that live on the islands. Famed for Charles Darwin‘s discoveries on the islands in 1835, the Galapagos Islands were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and a biosphere reserve in 1985. The population of humans on the island has grown from just 2,000 in 1959 to more than 30,000. Increased tourism to the islands has left conservationists concerned about the future of the Galapagos. Thus, Prince Charles, who visited the islands in 2009, was asked by the Galapagos Conservation Trust and the Charles Darwin Foundation to assist with the development, which they feel could impact negatively on the region’s biodiversity.

The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment was established to create working partnerships with those involved in urban architecture and design, promoting sustainable building and ecological design, whilst taking local economic issues into account. Prince Charles has long been an environmentalist and believes in establishing urban communities with a sense of pride and well-being.

The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment has already held a number of community workshops in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. It will now be advising and working with the local government to develop a suitable plan that will see the town’s population doubling. The 1,150 houses will be designed to incorporate solar panels, green sewage systems, rain water collection systems and other green technologies.

It is hoped that by including Prince Charles’ foundation in the process, the Galapagos Islands will prove to be a good example of humans co-existing with fragile ecosystems. Chief executive of the foundation, Hank Dittmar, expressed his confidence in the project, saying that in order to avoid damage to the vital ecosystems and environment of the Galapagos, growth must be planned to make it more sustainable into the future and not less.