As part of the UCLG GOLD V1 Report, partners of the CoHabitat Network have contributed a number of case studies based on their experience of successful projects overcoming urban and territorial inequalities.
Pierre Arnold y Bea Varnai (urbaMonde)
CIUDADES/PAÍSES QUE INCLUYE
San Juan (Puerto Rico)
In urban and peri-urban areas where land pressure is high, the regularization of existing settlements through individual land titling has proven to induce market-driven displacement of owner-occupiers and tenants. The over 50-years-old Community Land Trust (CLT) model is based on the management of land as a common good, protected from speculation to ensure long term affordable housing, green and commercial areas for the residents and grassroot organizations of a neighbourhood or community.
However, the adaptation by local authorities, civil society and communities of the CLT approach to an informal settlement, the Caño Martín Peña (CMP) area of San Juan, Puerto Rico, opens a new perspective on how to successfully achieve both, land regularization and protection against displacement of the residents. A community empowerment process was initiated in 2002 by the government of Puerto Rico, to implement a dredging project of the Caño Martín Peña channel, and the upgrading of the surrounding self-built neighbourhoods (home to 25,000 people). In this process the issue of the neutralization of land speculation was central.
Eventually, CMP’s residents consciously chose to conceive a CLT to steward the land on their behalf and to receive Surface Rights Deeds as an alternative to individual land titles or cooperative property. This way, they will be protected from silent eviction processes like gentrification once the regularization and upgrading process finishes. Through informal settlement dwellers and social movement peer exchanges realized after the CMP-CLT won the 2016 World Habitat Award, the Puerto Rican experience has inspired grassroot organizations from Rio de Janeiro to Dhaka to develop land regularization through collective ownership or stewardship