In the face of Puerto Rico’s dire socio-economic crisis, Somos Machuchal proposes a groundbreaking alternative to urban blight by placing people and grassroots action at the forefront of placemaking and urban planning processes.
Since 2013, Casa Taft 169 has collaborated with residents and visitors in the inspirational task of transforming a 40 year old abandoned property into the first selfrun Civic Center of its kind in Puerto Rico. This grassroots initiative, located in the historic and culturally rich neighborhood of Machuchal, is now partnering with La Maraña, a participatory urban design firm, to accomplish the Civic Center’s off-grid, eco-oriented rehabilitation and moreover develop a creative, grassroots master plan for the community. By dovetailing participatory design with the unquestionable power of art, “machuchaleros” of all ages will be engaged in the creative processes inherent in visionary planning and city making, thus planting the seed for long-term civic empowerment. In a territory facing more than 70 billion dollars in debt and 3 times the national poverty rate, Somos Machuchal offers an unprecedented opportunity to configure a replicable model that will empower Puerto Ricans to believe in their innate capacity to transform themselves and their cities.
See below for recent updates, press, and events from this project