Along with the old in Cuenca is the new. Not long ago, there was a large plot of land on the south side of the city at the junction of two of Cuenca’s four rivers – Yanuncay and Tarqui. The site was ripe for development.
The City of Cuenca and nearby University of Azuay developed a project in 2020 resulting in the creation of Jardin Botanico. The Schools of Biology and Environmental Engineering have accepted responsibility for the development of this garden. Both students and faculty are making this into more than a garden. It will also be a research center.
The School of Biology is charged with installing native plants in addition to creating a pollinator garden. The School of Environmental Engineering is establishing a weather station to research the quality of soil and water. Their research will look at nature-based solutions for environmental issues. The garden will serve as a natural living laboratory, to gain knowledge of and solutions to our growing environmental crises.
This garden is in its infancy, but the infrastructures have been put into place. An extensive network of boardwalks was built, travelling along and arching over the planned-for vegetation. The grounds include a pond and waterway, complete with ducks. Next, a series of low-lying buildings were constructed, including an auditorium, cafeteria, administrative offices, and potting sheds.
Botanical gardens grace the other three large cities in Ecuador. Cuenca’s garden will take time to further develop, for plants and trees to grow, and for the citizens to visit. Appreciation will grow along with the vegetation, and Jardin Botanico will take its place among Cuenca’s other must-see important sites.
Fact: Cuenca’s green belt project has given 12 square meters of green space to each citizen
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