Puerto Rico

Published on August 30th, 2011 | by Mark Chesnut


San Juan: Puerto Rico’s City of the Future?

Green Space: The Walkable City program proposes a redo of San Juan’s infrastructure.

Future view: Gazing out of San Juan’s proposed Graft Tower.


Is San Juan, Puerto Rico, the next Panama City, or even the next Singapore or Dubai? If you look at a few architectural and city planning proposals, that just might be the case. Some of the developments are part of a plan called the Walkable City, introduced last year by the mayor, which seeks to rationalize the design of the area where the Puerta de Tierra, Condado and Convention Center districts come together (see above). 

Here are a few of the other plans already underway and projected — ranging from impressively modern to nearly sci-fi (if the Graft Tower gets built, it will perhaps lend a Matrix-like feel to the metro area). 

Puente Dos Hermanos: San Juan’s newest bridge.

Dos Hermanos Bridge: It’s taken nearly a decade, and it’s still not completely finished, but the new Dos Hermanos bridge debuted this year with lanes for vehicles, pedestrians, joggers and bicycles. 

Off the rails: San Juan’s new Tren Liviano. 

Tren Liviano: In June of this year, the Sistema Automatizada de Transportación Organizada Urbana (SATOUR) exhibited a replica of one of the cars for the new Tren Liviano light rail. To be completed by 2014, the system will link the Convention Center district to Old San Juan in the first phase and ultimately will link with the existing Tren Urbano in Santurce. (Unfortunately, this new system is partly the result of the underperforming Tren Urbano, which cost a fortune and has failed to attract the number of riders they had hoped for.)

Bahia Urbana: A 21-block area fronting the San Antonio Canal on San Juan Bay is to be converted from abandoned warehouses and docks to create Bahia Urbana, a mix-used neighborhood with shopping, dining, a 660-room hotel and open spaces. 

Future world: San Juan’s proposed Graft Tower.

Graft Tower: According to the Websites eVolo and Fahrenheit, the proposed Graft Tower is a 36-story, otherworldly creation that will include residences, and eco-hotel and a vertical farm, conceived by an architectural firm called LibLab, to be located in the busy Santurce area. The self-sufficient building would provide water, food and energy to the neighborhood. 

Triangulate Hotel: eVolo reports that this project for a hotel in San Juan, designed by Amelia Tabeling and Juliana Esposito would use two contrasting geometries to create a dramatic architectural effect.

What’s New in Panama City, Panama (my report from Passport Magazine)

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About the Author

The founder and editor of LatinFlyer.com, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He’s worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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