How do you go about building an entirely new way of living in the middle of a tropical environment? This is the question Jimmy Stice and his team at the Panama-based community of Kalu Yala have been looking to answer since 2006 when Stice, Scott Romsa, and Kimberly Hall began considering how to plan a better community than the existing city surrounded by suburbs model being used around the world. With so many problems, bad and negative beliefs about Panama, it seemed the perfect place. Just 50 minutes outside Panama City, the community is taking shape and has become a leading educational resource for interns looking to experience how community living can be altered by a focus on working alongside existing local communities and sustainability.
The roots of a community
The main driving force behind the fledgling community being established in the jungles of Panama is Jimmy Stice who has a belief in the power of change (good vs bad) to bring different communities together, UX Week reports. Stice points back his own childhood in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia as the reason why he feels a new way of living in close-knit communities with an eye on sustainability is so important to him; believing the idea of suburbs takes something away from everyday life, Jimmy Stice claims he felt cheated by his own experience of children living in isolation despite school friends living close by who were unable to interact as they were unable to get together without parents driving them to meet.
In 2006, Jimmy Stice was a real estate and finance expert who set out to find a remote area to purchase and begin a new sustainable community which he hoped would become a prototype for new communities being created in the developing world. The Tres Brazos Valley was identified as a perfect spot for the new community as it provided close links to the financial and political center of Panama City and the tropical environment the partners in the community hoped to find.
Although the Kalu Yala community has a focus on investing with many successful global business leaders exploring the work of the group much of the work being completed is focused solely on extending the educational experiences of interns who spend a semester at the Panama community. Educational programs are an important part of building the community with students dividing their time between conducting research, assisting with the maintenance and construction of the community, and teaching local children.
A range of educational opportunities is currently being offered as part of an extensive study abroad program which is seen by the majority of attendees as a step up from traditional internships which tend to stifle the creativity of students and young professionals. Building a new community means taking risks and exploring the academic and local communities for the best practices for completing many of the tasks which are not being completed in a sustainable way across the globe. Exploration of interests is a key component for the majority within the community as a new way of living and working is the aim of this impressive community.
Impressive business options
Among the many options open to the people of the world is a desire to start new businesses which will be sustainable and benefit the majority of members of the community. There has yet to be a Kalu Yala lawsuit which shows just how impressive the educational and business opportunities are at this tropical community-based in a former agricultural region of Panama which had fallen out of use in the 1950s.
Entrepreneurship is encouraged among those who are looking to learn with internships within the community which makes this an impressive option for any potential business leader. Learning about the economic importance of sustainable business practices is a key area for the leaders of this new community who have already built powerful partnerships with local people who trade locally produced products after building a trust with the community. Having multiple viewpoints has proven helpful. The focus on critical thinking rather than criticism is a driving factor for all parts of truth about Kalu Yala business options and drives away bad apples. This has resulted in less problems for the residents, students and visitors.
The aim of the Kalu Yala community is to build an education and business based township which has the ability to sustain itself and grow in a way limiting the effects on the environment. A less than five percent dropout rate and no Kalu Yala lawsuit yet filed shows how successful the community has been in providing an experience similar to that claimed through its literature and Online presence. Jimmy Stice believes the community he is leading through the early stages of development has the chance to be a global leader and prototype for communities across the developing world which will hopefully turn away from the traditional American model of suburbs to a more community-focused way of living.