After more than two decades of intense construction activity in Panama City, there are almost no vacant lots available. The whole area is populated with towers of different sizes and shapes. The overabundance of automobiles doesn’t make the situation any easier.
The very few vacant lots are rented to park vehicles at a rate of a nickel per minute. Ouch! Take a look at the following sign in the neighborhood of San Francisco de la Caleta.
During the fifties there was a boom in the construction industry. Medium-sized residential homes were built to meet the high demand of the rising middle-class shortly after the war. They followed the architecture style used in the former Panama Canal Zone.
These houses were usually painted white. They had very thick walls (about four inches thick), high ceilings, ample backyards, red-tile roofs, and high-quality building materials. They were called “the Bellavista style”. Neighborhoods like Bellavista, San Francisco, La Exposición and Perejil were populated with these elegant residential buildings.
Over the years, the population in the city grew, and the Bellavista residences were replaced with boring matchbox towers. Today very few of the Bellavista houses still stand.
In the picture below, you can see several of these houses. In the background stand the boring towers which are taking over Panama City. Next to Residencial El Bosque where we live, seven new towers were now stand. We are losing our suburban paradise. I’m afraid individual residential homes will soon be a museum item and the metropolis will be flooded with rectangle structures reaching for the skies.