This article was published in NextCity on September 19, 2022. Read full version here. Versión en español aquí.
The structure of an old sugar mill sits in a once-abandoned parcel of land in Ponce, a city along Puerto Rico’s southern coast. Believed to be owned by the Puerto Rico Department of Housing, the space was used for over two decades as an illegal landfill.
It’s one of many abandoned buildings and spaces in Puerto Rican cities, the result of countless ongoing social, political and economic crises, coupled with a barrage of deadly earthquakes and storms.
But that land, about 10,000 square feet, is also one of a growing number of abandoned places that have been reclaimed by communities. Organizers of the El Huerto Urbano del Callejón Trujillo, the community garden and gathering space that has since taken over the dumpsite, say their aim is to effect change and take into their hands what the government is neglecting. Cotinue reading here.