El Chaltén, Argentina, South America
Year1985latitude: -49° 19'
longitude: -72° 53'
Initiator(s)Arturo Antonio Puricelli
Planning organizationProvincial government
Nationality initiator(s)
Designer(s) / Architect(s)
Design organizationProvincial government
Inhabitants371 (2001)
Target population
Town websitehttp://www.elchalten.gov.ar/
Town related linkshttp://www.guiachalten.com.ar/
Literature- None

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy

source: http://www.welcomeargentina.com/elchalten/index_i.html

The town El Chaltén is located in Patagonia, a touristic region in Argentina that is famous for it's glaciers and it's hiking possibilities. The region used to be difficult to reach but that changed when El Chaltén was founded. The town was founded in 1985 by governor Arturo Antonio Puricelli. He made the decision to found this town because of a border dispute with Chile. The exact location of the border between Argentina en Chile wasn't clear because of the altitude of the glaciers. When the dispute heated up, the province of Santa Cruz decided to build a town directly next to where they were convinced the border was, defending the land from Chile by physically claiming it. The provincial government subsidised and constructed the town. They chose for a spacious grid layout, in which they constructed about 10 houses and a building for the provincial government. In the first 5 years the town got inhabited by about 40 people, but because of the touristic possibilities that this region offers, people from all over the world settled in El Chaltén, pushing the number of official, year-round inhabitants up to 371 in 2001. These inhabitants developed the plots that were already part of the planned grid. They designed and constructed their homes as they wished, which resulted in a varied collection of buildings. The new settlers started exploiting hotels and arranging hiking tours for tourists, that arrive at El Chaltén using the airport in El Calafate 200 kilometers south of El Chaltén and the recently paved road between these two towns. Helped by the proclamation of El Chaltén as the trekking capital of the world, annual tourist visits now reach 80.000 a year. This wouldn't have been possible without the strategic founding of this town in a region that was formerly so difficult to reach.

source: Ellen van Holstein

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