Using water to make communities livable

Andean city is a model for water infrastructure and green space

In Mendoza, Argentina, ancient acequias provide a green design element that transforms the city and has passed the test of time.

"Implementing green infrastructure widely in cities is never easy. Professionals and practitioners around the world face many challenges, including design standards (how to build the most efficient infrastructure?), regulatory (what policies are needed to promote green infrastructure throughout the city?), financeability (who pays for this type of work and its continuous maintenance?), socio-economic (how to include underserved communities in the distribution and procedures of greening projects?), and innovation (how to identify and adopt innovative approaches?).

"The city of Mendoza, Argentina, seems to have largely succeeded in addressing these challenges. On my visits I have marveled at the amazing water infrastructure that runs along all the streets and irrigates the city’s 50,000 or so magnificent trees every day. The trees in Mendoza, as well as the parks, boulevards, plazas, and the acequias—or canals—that water them, are the most distinguishing architectural feature of the city. Walking around the streets in Mendoza you can easily forget that you are actually in a desert environment (average annual rainfall is about 220 mm). The fully-grown trees (poplar, platanus, mulberry, sycamore, Russian olive, elm, ash, linden, acacia, and others) are the result of a century of irrigation. How did Mendoza begin to address the challenges for the wide implementation of green space?"