The Chinampas garden
In the background, you can see the wind turbines of the Palo Alto park, inaugurated one year ago, which provides 129 MW of clean energy from the State of Jalisco, in the heart of the Mexican plateau. Nearby, there is the town of Chinampas, which bases its economy on livestock farming and boasts an extraordinary past.
Its Jardín, literally “garden”, a term used colloquially in Mexico to describe parks used as gathering spaces, has been the centre of the community’s cultural life and leisure activities.
The Jardín de Chinampas (Chinampas Garden) experienced a period of splendour when the town was part of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, also known as the Camino a Santa Fe. This was a historical road, 2,560 km long, between Mexico City and San Juan Pueblo (now Ohkay Owingeh, in New Mexico Mexico, USA). A sort of American “silk road”, used for trading between 1598 and 1882.
During the colonial era, a variety of inns and places to eat popped up for travellers and merchants who traded mainly silver, other minerals and precious stones here.
Nowadays, the US part of the road is protected as a historic route, and the tract in Mexico was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.
However, its more recent history has less appeal. This road fell into disuse and the Chinampas garden, once a place full of life and energy, gradually declined, until it was completely abandoned.
Recovering Historical Heritage
Getting to know this part of history is important to understand the reasons behind our reconstruction project of this community area, the symbol of a rich past of both commercial and social exchange.
When we arrived in Chinampas to lay the first stone at the Palo Alto wind farm, in 2016, the panorama we found in front of us was desolate. We started making our first contact with the Municipal Presidency of Chinampas and with the Government of Jalisco to redevelop what had been the centre of the commercial, social and cultural life of the area for hundreds of years.
"The main value of this initiative is that it was born and developed in collaboration with the community of Chinampas and with local authorities. Working together, we managed to a regain a gathering place dedicated to educational and cultural activities, a place that had been abandoned and unused for years and that now has come back to life."
Óscar Salcido, Head of Sustainability for Mexico and Central America
Alongside the local authorities, we sponsored 50% of the restoration works, allocating 50,000 US dollars. This investment allowed the rebuilding of the old central gazebo, the redevelopment of the garden with the public green and the creation of a playground for children.
Creating Sustainable Cities
With this project, we continue our commitment to work towards the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, the renovation of the Chinampas Garden responds to two specific goals: guaranteeing conditions of health and well-being for everyone, at all ages (3) and making cities and communities safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable (11).
Public spaces are places to meet, socialise, exchange experiences. They have a positive effect on the habits, the lifestyle and the solidarity of communities, in addition to being a stimulus to organise cultural and recreational-educational events.
This is why redesigning public spaces, from a sustainability point of view, to make the city more liveable by giving a gathering place back to the local people, is an essential goal for Enel Green Power.
"Every stage of our work is guided by the Creating Shared Value (CSV) model, starting with the desire to listen carefully to the needs of the communities we are working with."
Enel Green Power’s presence in the area has been an enormous benefit for the local community. The wind farm, with its 129 MW of installed capacity, is a significant benefit for the environment: in one year we recorded a reduction of 163,083 tonnes of CO2.
Furthermore, the 1,863 residents of the community now have a renewed enjoyment of spending time together, perhaps thinking back to the glorious history of Chinampas.