Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca, the capital and largest region of the Azuay region of Ecuador, is located in the highlands of Ecuador. Similarly to New Orleans, its location is not ideal for a city, and its placement in the Andes mountains make it difficult to get to, causing it not to be settled until decades after Ecuador’s other major cities. As seen in the two images below, its grid formation is extremely rigid, although the designers seemingly ignored the river for the most part, as shown by the lack of perpendicularity with its coast, although it is somewhat close. Due to its location in the mountains, the city’s designers also had to contend with rapid elevation changes, which they countered with rapid cutback streets just outside of the city’s gridded area, as seen on the Calle Larga in the first image.
At the center of the gridded area of Cuenca lies the Parque Calderon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is surrounded by a number of the city’s important locations. Thanks to the grid design, one is able to look from any side of the Parque, and see far down the street they are on at the packed marketplaces, as Cuenca is seen as the cultural capital of Ecuador.

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