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Developing an Integrated Transit and Land Use plan, Ciudad del Este



Erick Guerra


Jingzhi (Jacey) Chang,

Zoe Covello,
Tingting Huang, 
Emily Kennedy,

Gil Lehmann,
Gabriela Newell,
Seunglee (David) Park,
Andrew Sandweiss,
Kate Sutton,
Jiazheng (Dennis) Zhu


A city street in Ciudad Del Este. The studio will look at improving wayfinding, and creating dedicated walking, bicycling, and motorcycling paths.

The Ciudad del Este studio has been working with a team of partners and advisors to develop an integrated transit and land use plan for Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. The city of 300,000 residents sits on a “triple frontier” between Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina and is a well-known commerce hub that attracts thousands of Brazilians daily due to Paraguay’s lower tax burden. It has, as a result, become one of the largest informal commercial centers of the world and draws expats from Lebanon, China, and Korea to settle and become retailers of imported products. Additionally, the city sits near Iguazu Falls in Brazil, a major global tourist attraction.

While the city has considerable economic opportunity, Ciudad del Este (CDE) faces several issues related to congestion, poverty, poor transit, and a fractured urban form. The objectives of the studio’s transit land use plan was to make Ciudad del Este a “transit metropolis” that better connects the region and residents to the city’s assets. Transit Metropolis is a term used by Robert Cervero in his book by the same name that describes the cases of cities that have successfully integrated transit and land use policies for their benefits. The key objectives of our plan aim to ensure equitable accessibility for all residents, support commercial tourism, attract people to stay, better connect city assets, manage convection, and improve safety.

The studio began by exploring the existing conditions present in the city, meeting with stakeholders, and identifying issues and opportunities. In lieu of a site visit, the group has met with numerous officials, citizens, students, and professors from Ciudad del Este and Paraguay.

Topics explored included traffic patterns, land use, public transportation routes, population density, housing quality, and economic activity. The studio will develop a series of intervention recommendations. These may include the installation of a high quality transit corridor along the main east-west route and the pedestrianization of several narrow streets in the city’s central business district; improving wayfinding throughout the city; and creating dedicated walking, bicycling, and motorcycling paths.

Proposed interventions will aim to be practical, implementable, and effective to forwarding Ciudad del Este as Paraguay’s “Transit Metropolis.”

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