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San Jose Pursuing Dream of Being Friendlier, More Modern City

Photo taken Oct. 27, 2017, showing a traffic tie-up in San Jose, Costa Rica. EFE/Jeffrey Arguedas

(efe-epa) Bogged down in a mobility crisis that is the bane of local residents, Costa Rica’s capital is nevertheless pursuing its dream of transforming itself into a modern and “friendlier” city via civil, business and government initiatives.

“Amid the mobility crisis that the greater metropolitan area is experiencing, San Jose is a city that is getting trendy, acquiring a very special dynamic, with its own energy,” capital Mayor Johnny Araya told EFE.

The big bottlenecks on the main roadways in the capital area – which includes the cities of San Jose, Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago – are the main problems for the public.

The municipal government’s aim is for the capital to become livable again and not just a pass-through district, an idea that little by little is gaining ground among the public, but especially among infrastructure developers.

Photo taken Oct. 27, 2017, showing a pedestrian zone in San Jose, Costa Rica. EFE/Jeffrey Arguedas

Projects to erect apartment buildings are everywhere, and citizens’ and businessmen’s movements have arisen to resurrect the social life in various neighborhoods.

 

“It’s very important for the neighborhoods … to be able to recover their residential, business and gastronomic life, because that’s part of a city’s social fabric,” Araya said.

He emphasized that the city this year launched the “San Jose Vive” campaign, which is designed to push cultural and social initiatives so that the city becomes more attractive to tourists and locals.

“It seems to us that in the effort we’re making … the neighborhoods are playing a very important social role, and we’re going to push strongly for the initiatives in the civil society sectors that are making efforts to take back their neighborhoods,” he said.

Photo taken Oct. 27, 2017, showing bags of trash awaiting pickup in San Jose, Costa Rica. EFE/Jeffrey Arguedas

Apart from the capital’s main attractions – including the National Theater, the National Museum and the Museums of Gold and Jade, among others, the capital neighborhoods are also undergoing significant additional development and growth, with numerous restaurants, bars and cafes, musical and art venues expanding or springing up, as well as initiatives to beautify the parks and other cultural spaces.

 

The sector was also selected for a joint project by the city government and Spain’s telecommunications giant Telefonica via its Movistar brand, to install a fiber optic network that will provide free WiFi throughout the zone.

“We’re getting closer to the idea of San Jose being a connected and ‘smart’ city,” the mayor said.