Improving quality of life with green cities

Biodiver_CITY San José – establishment of interurban biocorridors

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV)

  • Country
  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2018 to 2023

  • Products and expertise

    Climate, environment, management of natural resources

Plants surround a fountain in Morazán city park in San José. Photo: GIZ/Manduca


With a population of 2.8 million, the San José metropolitan area is the largest urban agglomeration in Costa Rica. Uncontrolled development – with huge economic, social and environmental consequences – is a by-product of the city’s growth. More and more people are suffering from noise, air and water pollution, flooding and heat. Climate change is further exacerbating the situation.

The first urban biocorridors, or natural areas, were defined as countermeasure. Forming part of a large network of green spaces in and around the region, they are interconnected by city parks, green streets and railway lines, and create spaces for biodiversity. However, the biocorridors are at risk from deforestation, illegal settlements and urban expansion.


Public authorities, civil society initiatives and the private sector have improved the degree to which urban green spaces are interconnected. The region is better adapted to the consequences of climate change.

People buying and selling goods at the Aranjuez market in San José, against a backdrop of green spaces. Photo: GIZ/Manduca


The project advises the Government of Costa Rica and other partners in three areas. It helps to improve the political, conceptual and methodological framework for urban planning and to recognise the benefits of urban ecosystems. It also promotes dialogue with all the actors concerned and develops guidelines, procedures and instruments.

Furthermore, the project develops the capacities for planning and implementing strategic flagship measures. It works with the National System of Conservation Areas (Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación, SINAC) and the local authorities to improve the coordination of local committees in the biocorridors of Río Torres and Río María Aguilar. The committees also receive advice on planning, coordination and implementation.

The project supports and uses instruments for communication and knowledge management to share and disseminate experiences. These raise awareness among decision-makers and the population about how urban ecosystems and biocorridors contribute to quality of life.

A woman standing in the ‘Pollination Garden’ in Curridabat, Costa Rica. Photo: GIZ/Manduca

Last update: February 2023

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