Effective Strategic Planning is not performed in a vacuum…the process must engage the environment it is intended to impact.  Getting to know Panama through a strategic planning process is highly recommended 🙂  That may have just ruined the vacation orientation for some, but exactly, I am not on vacation!!!!

Structurally, the Municipality of Panama is made up of Corregimiento’s….This is a sub-division of a larger district, what some of us in the states may refer to as a neighborhood, except in this instance it is also a political district…led by an elected representative.

International travel should have an impact on a persons perception.  In my case, I have experienced enough of the community dynamics in international settings that I don’t focus in on just problems.  As Jane Jacobs once wrote “A City is a Problem”…”a Problem in Organized Complexity”.  To focus on the problem is to focus on the obvious….which doesn’t really show much regarding depth of insight.  Most cities have similar issues…complex in nature, they may vary in degree, but similar issues all the same.

I write that to say that I post pictures of areas to show the relative nature of realities…so that others can get a better take on the concept of viewing dynamics within their relative context…not within a judgmental negative context.

Here is Curundu!

Curundu is one of those areas where some urban renovation projects are being applied.  Like most areas that have challenges, the one that jumps out most visibly is the condition of the housing.  The Population of Panama has grown significantly over the past 10 years with individuals migrating from the rural country-side as well as from neighboring countries.  That is why, conditions can not be assessed in a vacuum.  Regional dynamics must be considered in the cause-effect equation as well!  Add in the redevelopment that is taking place in some of the districts, and it creates a need to address the provision of housing.

Any of these photo’s could be ascribed to locations all over the world.  The more you travel the more you see that although cultures have their variations….they also have high degree’s of similarity.  In fact, either one of these pictures of housing in Curundu could be in several cities in the United States.

And, it does extend itself as in rows and rows…layers and layers….

In some instances, the government has taken extra steps to provide some additional forms of housing…this building is set up like a warehouse to provide a structure to build smaller homes within.  It is actually similar to shelters in other countries utilized to provide housing…so that people still feel a sense of personal ownership, organizations have even used lines on the floors to distinguish personal space in shelters throughout the United States.

As I mentioned though, it all still has a relative aspect….for I didn’t see a bunch of people sitting around loathing themselves or immersed in self-pity.  Instead, I saw many, just like this little one, who looked like he was dreaming of one day having his chance to kick in the game winning goal for the National Team of Panama 🙂

The government has to be given credit for its attempts to provide housing for those in need.  Again, this is a city of contrasts…and typically these contrasts are highlighted because they rest right beside each other.

The newly developed housing stands in stark contrast to the older housing…the brightness of the colors does, indeed, speak volumes….

It is refreshing to see progress being made.  In fact, seeing the old mixed in with the new really provides some serious food for thought.  Throughout this trip, consistent and comparative contrasts stand out!  By the end of this trip, I am sure much can be gleaned from that….