San Juan, Puerto Rico, is not exactly the sort of place you’d imagine to be in dire need of a facelift and urban renewal. Images of a gorgeous coastline and old colonial architecture come to mind, but guess what? The old part of the city, “the Isleta,” is rife with poor urban planning scars, such as inaccessible beaches due to ports and an excessive reliance on cars. The government has decided to infuse the city with $1.5 billion dollars to re-develop San Juan and, most of all, make it a walking city, with no cars allowed.
The plan, announced last month, also lays out a new mass transit network, new roads and intersections, and beach access points. The motivation for the city re-design is in part due to the city’s massive decrease in population over the years (see infographic below). By making the old city more appealing, the government of Puerto Rico hopes to see more people staying put and moving in. Hey, I’ll come by if you can ensure that Mark Anthony and Jennifer Lopez won’t run me over! But in the meantime, New Yorkers, watch out!