Machu Picchu – A Resilient City avant la letter
An ancient resilient city, and the summon of the ancient cities you’ll find in South America, is Machu Picchu.
The old cultural epicentre of the Inca Culture resisted 1000 years of time, despite natural disasters. Albeit being earth quake proof, the city probably did not receive as much earthquakes as Cusco, but still, they were prepared.
Being on the top of the mountains, in a rough geographic pattern, Machu Picchu had a genius system for water supply and agriculture. The typical terraces as still seen and used in the actual agricultural in the country, made it possible to harvest all kinds of corn and potatoes, herbs and coca leaves, to supply the community, despite the steep mountains. Add the genius irrigation system of canals, providing water around town, and you get a self-sustaining city.
Back in Cusco it is Saturday, but the traffic pretends like being peak hour whole day long. Walking by foot is the most sustainable and fast way in this case, unless for your lungs, which suffer a lot of the polluted air. I wanted to go for a run today, but I hold my breath after 100 meter and walk back deciding that the city is not the healthiest environment in this case.
The same traffic spoils the old city centre, whereas several cities in Latin America are turning the old city centres into pedestrian only zones, Cusco has no such a thing. Contrary, cars are making their way through the way too narrow streets, not seldom blocking pedestrians the road. Luckily there are plenty of beautiful squares and some pedestrian lanes in the middle of street lines where they do can walk safely and enjoy the beauty of the city.
Some lessons have to be learnt yet.