Guatemala town being built with small blocks, attached buildings, and contextual elevations

[youtube=]From Better! Cities & Towns (formerly New Urban News): "Beyond its historic center, Guatemala City is an automobile-oriented, sprawling metropolis of 4 million people.  Amid suburban gated communities, a new traditional, classically-inspired town named Cayalá is being built — to a level of quality that many will find astonishing. "Master-planned in 2003 by Leon Krier with the Guatemala-based firm of Estudio Urbano for the local development company Grupo Cayalá, Cayalá opened its first phase in November 2011.  The aim is to create a sustainable, mixed use, pedestrian-oriented environment, where buildings reinforce a sense of place and defer to the human scale.

"The consistency of scale, architectural expression, and materials allows public edifices and monuments to stand out as urban set-pieces, as opposed to self-referential object-buildings, notes Maria Sánchez of Estudio Urbano.  With its small urban blocks, three- to four-story building heights, closely-knit network of streets and public spaces, the town center is designed to facilitate interaction and a sense of community, Sanchez says.

"Krier describes the streetscapes made up of building elevations that 'are aligned so that they make sense, like the words that form a coherent sentence.'  Commercial streets and squares are lined with colonnades, which come from the local vernacular.  The entire right-of-way is designed to be comfortable for pedestrians."  (Photo credit: Vicente Aguirre.)