Thursday, February 1, 2018

Whose Patrimony is Worth Protecting?

An apartment tower under construction near the Castillo San Felipe, a colonial fort, in Cartagena.
An apartment tower - one of a planned five - for low-income people being built near a colonial fort in Cartagena is threatening the city's designation as a UNESCO world heritage site.

It's a difficult decision: The low-income families, many of whom have already paid for apartments in the towers, need comfortable, affordable housing near where they work. But five modern towers will detract from the castillo's character, and loss of world heritage status would surely damage Cartagena's tourist appeal.

Doesn't Cartagena have another location to build apartment towers?

The polemic over construction in Cartagena makes one wonder why nobody protests when architectural monstrosities appear in Bogotá's own supposedly colonial historical center.

The ugly, multistory, box-like apartment building on the rear, left, was recently completed on the south end of Carrera 3, one of La Candelaria's most picturesque and historic streets. 

This block of Carrera 3 WAS one of the nicest in the neighborhood, colorful single-story houses and cobblestones. Now it has an ugly multi-story apartment building.

The Externado University recently built these character-less buildings on the hillside above La Candelaria, deforesting part of the hillside and blocking residents' views of the rest.

Some years ago, neighbors protested the construction of this faux-colonial building on the corner of Calle 9 and Carrera 2.

Tourists pose in front of the centuries-old La Candelaria Church. But, sadly, modern ugliness is going up around it.

Pedestrians pass below buildings which remind me of mushrooms.

Anything attractive at all - much less colonial - about this building on Carrera 3 and Calle 11?

An Oxxo liquor/junk food store on Calle 11 just above the La Candelaria Church, one of about a half-dozen such stores which have appeared recently in La Candelaria. Do they contribute much besides feeding students' and tourists' addictions?

Or this one, on Carrera 4?
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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