The image that frames our arrival in Panama City is unexpected, yet pervasive. From the moment we land we are aware of the skyscrapers. Improbably enough, in this mostly flat, hot, humid, congested third world urban landscape, fronting on the Pacific, luxury residential skyscrapers are rising everywhere. On our first morning in the city, we take a couple of taxis to the Parque Metropolitano, a small, relatively untouched green area within the city limits. This area is a legacy of the U.S. controlled Canal Zone, protected for now, because of its status as an essential component of the canal watershed! We hike up the hill through an exuberant tropical forest and, within twenty minutes, we have reached one of the best vista points over the city. From our bird's eye view, the city opens up before us, old and new. As we make our way from the first mirador up the steep stairs to the second platform the initial view of a quiet "sea of green" of the Canal Zone, spotted with its distinctive white-painted, red-roofed, barrack villages gives way to the dense, bustling, concrete urban space of the city, engaged, it would seem, in a frenzy of construction. When we get to thirty, we give up trying to count the cranes that sit atop the high rises under construction.
Porras, Ileana M.
"Panama City Reflections: Growing the City in the Time of Sustainable Development,"
Tennessee Journal of Law & Policy:
2, Article 8.
Available at: http://trace.tennessee.edu/tjlp/vol4/iss2/8