17 Harvard GSD Alumni from Puerto Rico have assembled as a group to protest the limited civic engagement and transparency in the reviewal process behind the adoption of significant and potentially detrimental changes to the island’s Zoning Maps, led by the Planning Board of Puerto Rico. Together, they wrote an open letter to María del C. Gordillo Pérez, chairwoman of the Planning Board.
The group is made up of the following alumni:
Pedro Manuel Cardona Roig MAUD ’91
Hugo Colón MLA ’13
Manuel Antonio Colón Amador MLA ’14
Irene Figueroa-Ortiz MUP & March I ’15
Nataniel Fúster MAUD ’96 & DDes ’99
Fabiola Guzmán Rivera March I ’18
Yanick Lay Fumero MLA ’18
Eduardo M. Llinás Messeguer MAUD ’13
Maria Victoria Mateo MLA ’11
Oscar Oliver Didier MAUD ’06
Judith Rodríguez MLA & MAUD ’13
Gabriella S. Rodríguez MLA & MAUD ’16
Ángel Y. Rodríguez Colón MAUD ’11
Joanna Rodriguez-Noyola MArch I ’14
Héctor Tarrido-Picart MAUD & MLA ’15
José Juan Terrasa Soler MLA ’07
Emmanuel Torres MAUD ’14
In the past months there was a recent upsurge in democratic mobilization to demand transparency and democracy in the way politics and business are conducted in Puerto Rico. This led to the recent resignation of Governor Ricardo Roselló and will likely lead to fundamental changes to the political and institutional structures of the Caribbean island.
While these mass civil protests were taking place, the Planning Board of Puerto Rico conducted most of the public hearings for first-time proposed major revisions to the Zoning Maps. In addition, the Planning Board failed to provide key information and a suitable timeline for a comprehensive examination by all the parties affected by the zoning changes, including the island’s 78 municipalities. Some of these zoning changes go against the interest of vulnerable communities, the ones most affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.