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A global initiative connecting neighborhoods on-the-ground with web-based crowd-mapping tools designed to explore, measure and act upon holistic urban health data from a citizen’s perspective.

Utilizing geographic data sourced from the Urbinsight Lima partners, participants assessed local conditions. Via additional research and auditing on the ground, they explored Lima’s water subsystems in context with the geographic analysis using tools to assess the urban metabolism of water as an “information system.” Explore Lima’s data in the geoexplorer above and the Urban Metabolic Information System (UMIS) Meta Diagram for Water / San Isidro below.

Urban Metabolic Information System (UMIS) Meta Diagram for Water / San Isidro


Most of the water for direct use other than drinking (residential and non residential) comes from the Rimac River watershed. Drinking supply for residents and visitors is imported as bottled water. The most common brands of bottled water are reportedly “San Mateo”, a Backus brand, and “San Luis”, a Coca Cola brand.

A large allocation to the water system is “Indirect” water – which includes water used to generate energy for residents and visitors in San Isidro. 72% of Peru’s total electricity generation comes from hydroelectric plants.

Rainfall is a minimal source of water in San Isidro. Nonetheless, San Isidro, like all of Lima, is particularly vulnerable to El Nino storms. In 2017, a record El Nino year, nearly 10 inches of rain fell between January and March, when, on average, the entire rainy season usually total just two inches.


Most of San Isidro’s water allocation from the Rimac is treated at the City Water Factory of La Atarjea located in El Agustino, Lima. Green space irrigation in San Isidro utilizes partially treated water via a water channel, called Surco, sourced from the Rimac. Around 2% of the irrigation water comes from La Atarjea.


Water demand seems to be around the global average, but opinions and studies to date vary on the exact number and there is currently debate on these figures. The Urbinsight project will conduct an audit of residential and commercial use to get a more accurate calculation of of both volume and types of uses by residents and visitors, and by business and industry. The other major sector of demand is “indirect” which for now is a ‘catch all’ category that includes water used to make electricity and other products used by residents and businesses in San Isidro.


Wastewater is treated at the new La Chira plant which opened in 2016 as a service to Sepal, Lima’s Drinking Water and Sewerage Authority. This new facility added much needed capacity to Lima, and is expected to result in cleaner beaches and healthier coastal waters.


The treated La Chira wastewater is discharged into the Ocean via a 3.65 km-long underwater outlet on the Pacific seabed. Water used in green areas and parks returns to the ground or is evaporated. “Indirect” water has a variety of sinks which include waste heat into the air for example.

Explore the diagram information by clicking on the sections above to learn more about the story of water as it moves through the district, from its source locations in the Rimac watershed, through the built environment (demands), and back to nature (sink).

Data for this diagram are courtesy of the Municipality of San Isidro. Three sectors are explored: Household/residential (R and R HH), Non Residential (NR) and Parks or Green Areas (P). The flows are shown in cubic meters per year.

Urbinsight Project in San Isidro and Santa Eulalia

Ecocity Builders collaborated with the PUCP course participants and municipal officials from Santa Eulalia to collect basic yet essential geospacial information for the two neighborhoods: Huayaringa and Pomaticla. Information such as Land Use, Parcel lots, streets, public spaces, parks, potential distaster relief spaces, and more were collected and mapped using arcGIS. This information will now become part of the municipalities toolbox for understanding these neighborhoods and planning for future development and risk aversion. The Municipal government has reviewed these maps created as part of the Urbinsight initiative and has let us know that they hope to conduct similar mapping exercises for all other neighborhoods within the district and to use these neighborhoods as precedent studies for planning these future initiates. In order to better understand the district in a fine-grained context, the San Isidro focused course participants worked with Ecocity Builders and the Project data providers and the municipality to develop a neighborhood archetype map for the district, the first of its kind for Lima. These archetypes are an integral component of the Urbinsight methodology of assessing “neighborhood ecologies” in order to support more localized sustainability interventions with the participation and engagement of residents.

Study Area Final Map Samples

Santa Eulalia

This ArcGIS map shows land uses and proximity to a mudslide channel (huayco) in the Santa Eulalia study area. This area was previously unmapped.

San Isidro

District of San Isidro and its 16 Functional Areas.

Neighborhood Archetype 1

In this archetype, there is a low density of houses and generally high economic strata. It is influenced by collective roads, the same ones that converge in their central parts, allowing for this location to be the home of commercial, residential, and zonal centers. In this archetype, the overall range of population density is between 70 and 140 people per hectare. Likewise, buildings are generally between 1 and 3 floors. 10 neighborhoods meet the criteria for A1.

Neighborhood Archetype 2

The presence of the high-traffic metropolitan road axis (Av. Javier Prado) has made possible the presence of considerably tall buildings (15 or more floors) along Avenida Javier. The presence of housing as well as high density residential areas in both margins of the main roadway, in this archetype predominate the residential areas of medium, high, and very high density with high economic stratum. 1 neighborhood meets these criteria.

Neighborhood Archetype 3

Large private recreational zone with extensive green space, bordered by very 24 high density housing (generally more than 200 inhabitants/ha). High economic stratum. Presence of buildings up to 30 floors. 1 neighborhood meets these criteria.

Neighborhood Archetype 4

Public Recreational Area (park and garden), bordered in majority by low density housing with 3-floor buildings and high economic stratum. 1 neighborhood meets these criteria.

Neighborhood Archetype 5

Metropolitan commercial and financial zone, political-administrative center, tall buildings (up to 30 floors), floating population, high economic stratum, access to metropolitan roads such as: Vía Expresado de la República and Avenida Javier Prado. 3 neighborhoods meet these criteria