An interesting trend has been taking hold. Travelers are becoming increasingly interested in Eco tourism. It is defined as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people.” by Eco Tourism.org. We are working on a community on the beach in Brazil and the subject of Eco Tourism came up. In Brazil the residents are much more aware of the global warming crisis, a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, shows that 90% of Brazilians believe climate change to be a global crisis while only 44% of Americans believe it to be a problem. Read the article here. This public knowledge lends Brazil to be a prime candidate for Eco-tourism, especially with the Olympics slated to be held there in 2016 and the World Cup will be there in 2014. The world will have its eye on the country and it is a perfect opportunity to show off sustainable trends while boosting the growing economy in a sustainable way. This picture is of a sustainable development called La Posada in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica where we first experienced Eco tourism about three years ago.
The idea of designing a sustainable master plan for an eco resort is exciting. It is a perfect opportunity to create a learning environment for the keen traveler, so they can take lessons learned home with them to implement in there own lives while stepping lightly within a natural ecosystem. We began our project with extensive research in the local area, learning about the culture and the natural habitats. We then made every decision with those things in mind. With help from websites such as Gaizma local solar, wind and rain information is easily collected for any given global location. This is a great starting place, a sustainable designer can easily design for given conditions anywhere in the world, but it is always important to look at the local vernacular architecture as well. Vernacular architecture gives clues to what has worked for centuries, finely tuned construction techniques that can be learned from and modernized. Experiencing sustainably designed master plans as a tourist can educate the world traveler not only about world customs but about the natural processes of the world. It’s exciting.