CEC hero image, a  photo of Array

NAPECA Project

Building a Sustainable Coastal Community on Magdalena Island

Organization: Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. (Cobi)

Country: Mexico
Other Organizations Involved:

  • ¡Echale a tu casa!,
  • Sociedad Cooperativa Pesquera Bahía Magdalena, S.C.L.,
  • Walton Family Foundation,

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Completed Magdalena Island


Although surrounded by one of the world’s most productive ecosystems, the Magdalena Island community is socially, economically and environmentally devastated. In 2009 Cobi initiated a marine reserves project with the aim of recuperating diminishing species (primarily abalone and lobster) and developing a better understanding of how a marine ecosystem functions. However, that same year, Hurricane Jimena left the community totally destroyed.

As a result of this catastrophe, Cobi adjusted the focus of its initial project in order to take the housing problem into consideration, with an integrated vision of long-term conservation of the ecosystem, and the aim of strengthening the population’s resilience to climate change.


Improve the quality of life for the Magdalena Island community. Promote environmental conservation through sustainable building.

Main activities

  • Workshops with community participation, on varied topics (collective vision of a sustainable community, social organization, training in ecotechniques, labor framework, and contracting within the project).
  • Multidisciplinary scientific research on adapting construction to the location’s climatic characteristics.
  • Construction work on a meeting room, contracting local workers.
  • Communication plans: one for positioning Magdalena Island as a sustainable destination at the cutting edge, and another for disseminating the guide on community conception and sustainable building of a coastal community.
  • Raising the necessary funds for the second phase of the project.


A sustainable coastal community that corresponds to family needs and to the location’s climatic characteristics (30 housing units, meeting room, waterfront, community park, wind towers, solar water heaters). Training in and application of sustainable building techniques. Local contracting and positive economic spillover. Dissemination of a guide with methodology for a sustainable coastal community, for the general public. Positioning of Magdalena Island as a sustainable destination. Fund-raising.