ISOCARP UPAT at Lake Chapala, Mexico

ISOCARP Institute and ISOCARP Society recently helped organize, facilitate, and carry out a UPAT Design Planning Workshop in Chapala, Mexico, on the topic of waterfront urban development. From August 1st to 6th, an international group of ISOCARP members participated in the UPAT, working together to address the various challenges along Chapala’s shoreline and develop comprehensive solutions. Coordinated by former ISOCARP Vice President Paco Perez and sponsored by a group of municipalities and civil society groups from around Lake Chapala, the purpose of the UPAT was to develop a relevant, realistic, and sustainable masterplan with key strategies for managing the lake and its surroundings, helping the area to realize its full potential while celebrating its heritage.

The ISOCARP UPAT team and student assistants, together with municipal and community representatives at Lake Chapala (photo credit: Ric Stephens).

During our time in Mexico, we had the privilege of meeting with an array of political and civil society representatives, including elected officials, municipal representatives, environmental experts, and tourism interest groups. We were also able to tour the expansive lake front, visiting various sites in the surrounding towns. In addition to a breath-taking boat ride and many opportunities throughout the tour to gain a better understanding of what the various areas around the lake have to offer, we also enjoyed a lunch of birrieria and life-changing tortillas, hill-side wine tasting, and a chance to sample the legendary nieves de garrafa (in short, we were not under-fed).

Based on our preliminary research, meetings with stakeholders, and first-hand experiences, we determined the main challenges and perceived opportunities around the lake and then divided these topics between the team to begin brainstorming solutions. After presenting our initial findings on the final day in Mexico, we have now returned home to our respective countries to write the final report, which will then be compiled and translated by our trusted leader, Rolf Schuett. The report will be made available online, and we look forward to sharing our findings with the global community!  

The final presentation, featuring UPAT coordinator and former ISOCARP Vice President Paco Perez (left) and Rolf Schuett, UPAT team leader (photo credit: Taliah Dommerholt).

We would like to thank the ISOCARP team members Rolf Schuett (team leader), Diana Andrea Giambiagi, Dara Golubovic-Matic, Ric Stephens, and Taliah Dommerholt for their attendance, contributions and highly appreciated ideas. In addition to the ISOCARP team, we could not have been successful without Walter Rast, senior expert of the International Lake Environment Committee (ILEC), and the assistance of the young planning professionals, Esteban Contreras, Deni Hernandez Castaneda, Sebastian Pacheco Velazquez, Ana Karen Pimienta Reynoso, Andres Rodriguez Von Hauske, and Donaji “Mave” Fiallo Zurita.

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