In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, land in Puerto Rico is more vulnerable than ever to speculators and outside capital. The economic effects of the ongoing debt crisis, coupled with the accelerating extreme weather effects of climate change, have caused many people to abandon or sell their homes to move to the mainland United States. Nearly 176,000 people have left Puerto Rico for the mainland one year after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
This project looks at the effects of economic and environmental vulnerability in three areas of Puerto Rico: San Juan’s gentrifying district of Santurce, the historically Afro-Caribbean community Loiza, and the island of Vieques, until 2001 home to a U.S. Navy base and bombing range. Each of these areas is engaged in a different struggle to secure land tenure and property rights. Through their investigation, the grantees highlight the struggles communities are facing in order to keep their properties and what communities are doing to prevent from being torn apart.