The parish of Cotogchoa is located about 19 km south of Quito (Ecuador). It is a mountain area that still features considerable natural resources due to its proximity to the ecological reserve Pasochoa, and is central to the local economy based on livestock and corn production. The local population is mainly comprised of indigenous peasant families who were given land ownership following the agrarian reforms in the 1960s. The manifestation of rich local traditions is demonstrated through the many Andean festivals and religious celebrations held regularly throughout the year.
Despite the community’s strong cultural roots, there is a lack of awareness of the risks of urban pressures exerted by the nearby city of Quito. Uncontrolled urban sprawl risks threatening endogenous environmental and agrarian resources, which could instead become the backbone for a local sustainable economic strategy.
Since 2014, the Laboratory of Living Landscape (Paisajes vivos) of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE), is working to raise awareness at the local level through the organization of participatory workshops on how to strengthen the community’s cultural sense of belonging, envisioning alternative forms of local economy based on cultural and environmental tourism.
Source: Giulio Verdini, Culture as a tool for harmonious territorial development