World’s first sustainable town


Tropical agriculture farm-to-table culinary program. Source: Kate Stewart, The Sign Post

The world’s first environmentally sustainable town, Kalu Yala, is being built in the Republic of Panama.

Located in the Tres Brazos Valley outside of Panama City and only 45 minutes from Panama’s International Airport, the town is a model for the world on how to live smarter.

In an article by Matt Petronzio on, Kalu Yala’s CEO Jimmy Stice, says he was just 12 years old when he was playing Sim City and dreaming of the perfect place to live.

Stice says people growing in the same demographic limits “the future potential of each individual who’s born into these communities, which means we’re limiting our entire society’s potential.”

As a result, Stice wanted to a create a more dynamic and interactive place that made people happy, Petranzio says in his article.

The Kalu Yala project invites young innovators, students, and professionals from around the world to work together, using their knowledge and skills, in the search for the best practices in sustainability and quality living.

The project is looking for innovators, students, and professionals from a wide range of study areas, including architecture, design, biology, environmentalism, health, outdoor recreation, business, education, media, and even language.

“Environmental sustainability is usually overlooked in terms of architecture and engineering which is extremely risky and terrible considering that architecture is in fact one of the main reasons as to why we do have problems in our atmosphere and ecosystem” architecture student, Dalia Fay says.

“Exploring architecture not only for housing but to save the world is necessary” she says.

Students are given the opportunity to apply their studies in the real world and be a part of Kalu Yala’s first civic institution, the research and development team.

The project is also a launchpad for new businesses, whereby an incubator and funding ramp have been built to cater exclusively to young and local entrepreneurs.

It’s goal is to transcend traditional real estate by bringing people together, and giving them part ownership of where they live.

Environmentally sustainable practices of Kalu Yala include open-air housing, off-the-grid energy using solar battery packs, and tropical agriculture to decrease the need for imported food.

“Kalu Yala is really trying to become the hub for sustainability in the tropics, and a tropical laboratory to experiment and develop products that can be exported…around the world” Stice says.

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