Rio Seco Linear Resiliency Park

El Alto, Bolivia

For the World Bank, SCAPE created a vision plan for a linear resiliency park along Rio Seco, a river spanning the city of El Alto, Bolivia. Generated after extensive site analysis and series of community and stakeholder engagement sessions, SCAPE’s vision plan proposed the river as a form of urban infrastructure and civic space, honing in on nodes and connector areas to catalyze the long-term implementation of an overall linear resiliency park. Divided into separate, implementable segments, the park is designed to provide permeable buffer areas for flooding and groundwater replenishment during both droughts and flood events, linking key municipal assets through open space enhancements.

In the near-term, the City of El Alto hopes to implement a series of pilot projects within the Rio Seco corridor to address these shifting dynamics. One of these, Parque Urbano Central, connects the city’s two primary rivers with the airport, revamping the existing site into a central parkland replete with a botanical garden, greenhouses, playgrounds, and recreational spaces. Another potential pilot, Parque Elizardo Perez, extends the park into the avenue itself, connecting to an already-planned innovation and education park while resolving issues through pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly upgrades to the right-of-way. Access improvements are integrated throughout, from pedestrian bridges to deck-overs and get-downs to the river’s edge. The overarching design – from materials and details to programming and streetscape improvements – draws on a lexicon of indigenous land practices.

Nature-based infrastructure forms a backbone of the design, solving for multiple environmental issues at once. By integrating natural filtration throughout the Rio Seco watershed and urban core, SCAPE hopes to improve the health of downstream wetlands. Softer, vegetated slopes replace many of the existing retaining walls along the river, with planted strips along traffic corridors retaining and conveying stormwater flow. Ecological improvements along the river itself helps restore the Pura Purani Aquifer while re-establishing the waterway as a habitat for native wildlife and pollinators – in the long-term, the green spine of a more resilient El Alto.