"Barranco de Bolsillo": an innovative proposal for the sustainability of Guatemala City’s ravines through citizens’ participation and the diversification of the public space

Technical details

Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO).

Municipalidad de Guatemala.

Action area:
Central America . Guatemala
Public space
  • AMB: 70.000,00 €


The main objective of the project is to contribute to creating a model and practice for incorporating ravines into the metropolis as inclusive, equitable, safe and sustainable public spaces for citizens in Guatemala City.

Guatemala City has a resident population of 1.8 million people, and a transient population of 1.7 million people who travel into the city every day. Its population has doubled in less than 15 years, and the trend for the coming years is one of continued growth.

In terms of natural spaces, 42% of the city is made up of ravines, which contain basins and micro-basins that are interconnected with rivers, lakes, lagoons and the sea. The ravines and their ecosystems have suffered serious damage and problems in recent decades as a result of pollution, the lack of waste treatment, formal and informal occupation, erosion and deforestation, and some have become illegal clandestine landfill sites.

This situation has created the need to find and develop new strategies for including the ravines in the development of the city and the metropolis, and incorporating them as spaces for inclusion, equality and sustainability in order to progress towards the right to the city.

The project conceptualises the “Barranco de Bolsillo” and builds and systematises a model for it. The ravines are characteristic features of Guatemala City’s morphology, and for decades they have been considered barriers that fragment the urban territory. For this reason they have historically been neglected, they have been seriously damaged by pollution, erosion and deforestation, and they have been used as clandestine rubbish and sewage dumps or have been occupied illegally. With the Pocket Ravines scheme and the current project, the aim is to recover these ravines with the participation of citizens and turn them into inclusive, equitable and sustainable spaces that enhance connectivity and increase the provision of public spaces and green areas.

A pilot project was subsequently implemented in Guatemala City, with the active participation of the municipal council and FUNDAECO and the involvement of citizen’s groups and the community, as well as the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB). It involved a participatory methodology that facilitates the appropriation, use and maintenance of the space after it has been restored.