During the last 30 years, the growth of Culiacán has been rapid and often unplanned. The automobile as a mode of transport has been prioritized for urban development and infrastructure. In the municipality, there is one car for every two inhabitants – one of the highest rates of car per person in Mexico – with its consequent urban impacts, including environmental pollution. Culiacán is also characterized by high temperatures, with maximums that reach higher than 45.5 degrees Celsius in the shade, with a thermal sensation greater than 56 degrees Celsius during high humidity periods. Average temperatures have become hotter partly due to the lack of trees, which further discourages personal travel by non-motorized means, and that generates heat islands and degrades the air quality in the city, worsening the quality of life of the population and the urban environment.
Culiacán has joined Cities4Forests to reaffirm the city’s conviction that investment in tree planting is a central strategy to mitigate climate change, protect drinking water, improve public health, reduce air pollution, mitigate disaster risk, provide recreation and meet other urban development priorities. The city’s commitment is to promote the planting of trees and the creation of green areas in order to have a positive impact on the quality of life of its residents.
“Our administration considers the preservation, care and promotion of the natural environment a priority, for the well-being of our inhabitants and for its role in mitigating the impact of climate change in the world. Culiacán is fully committed to tree planting and reforestation in the city, and throughout the municipality. We have implemented an ambitious program to restore parks and public spaces in the city to make Culiacán greener and healthier.”
Mayor of Culiacán, Mexico
The percentage of public green areas equals 3.93 meters squared per inhabitant. This falls short of the minimum amount of green space per inhabitant recommended by the World Health Organization, which is 9 meters squared. For this reason, the municipal government is acting to increase the availability of green areas.
- The City Council is developing a Public Spaces Recovery Program, which includes rehabilitating and re-greening Las Riberas Park (120 hectares), along the banks of the Humaya and Tamazula rivers, as well as the reforestation of numerous parks, sidewalks and public spaces.
- The city is considering rehabilitated 305 hectares along the banks of the Humaya, Tamazula and Culiacán rivers, extending Las Riberas Park to the city border.
Art and nature in Culiacán
Victoria amazonica is the largest of the Nymphaeaceae family of water lilies with leaves up to a meter wide. It is native to the Amazon River and can also be found in Culiacán, Mexico, thanks to Carlos Murillo Depraect, an engineer by profession and botanist by passion, who in 1986 created the botanical garden of the city, a green space of ten hectares with more than 1,000 species of plants. This oasis in the middle of Culiacán is not only an important lung for the capital of Sinaloa, it is also a center of conservation, research, education and exhibition of nature. The garden also offers a dialogue with contemporary art: “we believe that our garden can be a generator of change and social impact”, explains Carlos Murillo Michel, director of the botanical garden. One of the most striking works is by the Belgian artist Francis Alÿs who crashed a Volkswagen Beetle against a Huanacaxtle or “elephant-ear tree” – the tree has begun to engulf the car body and sneak through the windows to the seats. Nature reconquers all things, even in the city.
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