Caguas, Puerto Rico

In an effort to rein in the uncontrolled growth and detrimental impact of this barriada, a high density squatter community, the redevelopment plan sought to redefine the physical and social boundaries of the community in a new direction by enhancing shared assets and facilities, creating linkages throughout with open space while diminishing density created by natural barriers, and provide decent, affordable housing.


Bounded by a deep gorge and a canalized creek, this settlement grew organically following an ingrained, impromptu pattern of human habitation evident in its pre-automobile, Kasbah-like alleyways carved by the ox carts of poor rural families.

Based on a new street pattern and utility infrastructure design, the plan features a central boulevard directly accessible from the barriada’s guarded entrance. New cross-axial green across the boulevard creates a community focal point with a planned school expansion and a community center to follow. Surrounding this framework of civic space, 480 new homes are to be built. New residential typologies for small-scaled homes have been established replacing earlier substandard dwellings and lowering overall density.

The plan is currently being implemented incrementally with some success thanks to commitment of City officials and Federal subsidies, eliminating blight and greatly reducing the drug trade to the appreciation and well-being of this autonomous community.

CLIENT: City of Caguas, Puerto Rico

COST: $15-million

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