POST B: Building a Sustainable Modern Town

Kalu Yala is a sustainable village being developed in the jungle outside of Panama City, located within the Tres Brazos Valley. The aim of this town is to create a better approach to living.

Jimmy Stice, the CEO, begun this initiative because he wanted to created ‘a community, a hub of positivity and social entrepreneurship that used greening and eco-friendly, sustainable methods of building to attract the type of investors and in turn tourists who believed in creating a new type of world’ (Slavin, A. 2012).

(What Took You So Long? 2014)

The organisation is for-profit, offering an internship study abroad program for students to get hands on experience as part of their research and development team. The interns are split into 3 groups depending on their disciplines. The business interns work from an office in Panama City, whilst the biology, sustainable agriculture and outdoor recreation interns work in the valley, and the public education and health/wellness work in a nearby village.

Kalu Yala is a design initiative not only focusing on improving just one public health problem but is trying to improve a number of issues such as depletion of resources, health, education and more. The education interns teach in four schools near San Miguel, while the health interns research local health issues find resources that are available to improve them. They work closely with the local villages, supporting local businesses, improving their livelihoods, and utilising the area’s natural resources.


(Petronzio, M. 2014)

At the moment housing in the valley has not been constructed only designed, and the first interns that lived in the valley had to build living spaces from scratch. Utilising the available resources, they built huts from wood and thatched roofing. Solar battery packs as well as hydroelectricity from the flow of a nearby river allows them to have electric power. Some food is grown in the farm onsite reducing the amount of food that needs to be imported and local produce is used too.

These sustainable tools of living will be utilised to create an entire town and will hopefully pave the way for more individuals around the world to think about improving their way of living. Following Kalu Yala’s footsteps throughout different impoverished tropic regions may also improve the world’s poverty. Currently more than 40% of the world’s poverty is in tropic areas and this percentage is expected to rise (State of the Tropics, n.d). By utilising readily available materials, creating a self sufficient town, and working with locals there could be a real improvement to this world wide issue.

Kalu Yala 2016, Public Health, viewed 15 February, <>

Petronzio, M. 2014, Building the World’s Most Sustainable Modern Town, Mashable, viewed 15 February, <>

State of the Tropics, n.d., Projecting the Tropics – Population Growth 2010-2050, viewed 15 February, <>

Chapman, K. 2013, ‘A Visit to New Urbanist Jungle Community Kalu Yala in the Republic of Panama’, weblog, Hope For Architecture, Oklahoma, viewed 15 February, <>

Slavin, A. 2012, ‘The World of Kalu Yala’, Huffington Post, viewed 15 February, <>

Feature Image:

Chapman, K. 2013, ‘A Visit to New Urbanist Jungle Community Kalu Yala in the Republic of Panama’, weblog, Hope For Architecture, Oklahoma, viewed 15 February, <>


What Took You So Long? 2014, Kalu Yala – Building a New World in the Panamanian Jungle, videorecording, Vimeo, <>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s