TULUM Neighborhood Resource Portal

Photo: Ben Palmquist


A rapidly emerging Caribbean coastal town of 18,000 inhabitants, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico, is a tourism hotspot. It became a municipality only in 2008, and since then has begun comprehensive urban planning efforts. The Urban Master Plan projects significant growth over the next five years that will more than double the size of the town. Community volunteer organizations are in place, and local residents are interested in benefiting their community. Success in local volunteer Red Cross programs shows that there is a strong commitment to community engagement. However, Tulum currently lacks a centralized information resource to facilitate dialogue and foster collaboration. The municipal staff has agreed that creating such a resource is of high priority to the health of their growing communities, and they have engaged the Tulum Raiders to carry out this objective.

Project Objectives
1. Supporting Municipal Agendas: The neighborhood website will provide technical and social knowledge for use in updating the comprehensive Urban Master Plan and making other citywide investment decisions. With the data created on this portal, the municipality will consider the wealth of ecology and public interest present, while fostering economic growth vital to improving the quality of life for Tulumeños.

2. Fostering Community Engagement: Community webpages will grant a platform for citizens to express ideas and concerns about their town, as well as a centralized place to collect information. As the website becomes widely accessed, citizens will use this resource as a virtual extension of their neighborhoods. Creating a sense of belonging and ownership of residents to their neighborhoods will increase security and improve these areas overall.

3. Assessing the environmental impact of rapid urbanization: A town of 18,000 inhabitants, Tulum is growing rapidly with little attention to the impact on the environment. Not only is Tulum in a tropical forest and on a coastline, but it also sits on three interconnected fragile water ecosystems; the largest underground river system in the world, the mangrove forest and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. Our team aims to map where population growth and infrastructural development is happening (by overlaying the geographical map) to identify vulnerable areas and planned growth. As a community resource, this information will help to educate the public, as well as provide a reference tool for the Urban Planning staff in updating their Urban Master Plan as growth continues.

List of functionalities

•Provide information on neighborhood resources in downtown Tulum
•Business can post updates of their services (campaigns, new menu, holidays)
•Users can post their pictures or look pictures posted by tapping the pictures on the map.
•Users can post youtube links to show their footage of underwater caves (cenotes)
•Polling: for the city government to understand residents’ needs
•Forum: residents post what they want in the neighborhood, problems in the neighborhood (street light is broken, tree fall down….etc).
•Twitter: tweets using a certain hashtag will be posted on the website.

Final Product
Neighborhood Resource Portal

1. Residents of Tulum
2. Tulum Municipal Offices

By the midterm presentation due week six, we hope to have the following completed for the beta version of the Tulum Portal:
• User Interface
• General Page layout
• Neighborhood outlines (KMZ files from Google Earth)
• Markers for points of interest on the map (Businesses, offices, etc.)
• Static Photos for web page layout
• Connection to Twitter API

By the final presentation, we hope to have completed the aforementioned for the Tulum Portal, as well as the following additional elements that will already be in use by the presentation date:
• Translation of content to Spanish
• “Search my Address” function
• Replacing static photos with flash photos for the web page layout
• Connection to Google Tables API
• Completed content

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