The Caño Martín Peña Enlace Project received the Global Impact Award for its Comprehensive Infrastructure Master Plan, which addresses climate change by acknowledging and incorporating nature.
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) granted the first Global Impact award for excellence in landscape architecture in approaching climate impact through transforming actions that provide scalable solutions and aligned with ASLA’s and IFLA’s commitments to climate action.
Both organizations, that include landscape architects in the U.S. and around the world, base their commitments on climate action on United Nations’ recommendations. The Caño Martín Peña ENLACE Project was selected from 87 U.S. and international entries.
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“What is innovative about this plan is that it applies nature’s infrastructure to create a more sustainable, healthier and safer community in the face of climate change by incorporating community participation,” said Mario Núñez Mercado, executive director of the Caño Martín Enlace Corporation, a public corporation of the Puerto Rico Government.
The Comprehensive Infrastructure Master Plan is a critical step in the process of implementing and refining the Comprehensive Development Plan, based on existing conditions and projected future risks. It has been developed by an interdisciplinary technical team with the purpose of providing more specific directions on how to implement the goals and processes of the IMP.
Meanwhile, the President of the G-8, Lucy Cruz Rivera, stated “Once more a global award recognizes the value of community participation in the planning process that goes into comprehensive infrastructure master plans. Community participation contributes to strengthen communities and to design solutions that are in line with the surrounding realities.” The G-8 is the community organization that incorporates leadership from each of the eight neighborhoods to be impacted by the plan.
Núñez and Cruz emphasized that the plan benefits a community comprised of eight neighborhoods in which approximately 14,000 people live in the heart of San Juan, between Santurce and Hato Rey. In addition, it helps restore the Caño Martín Peña, the San José, and Los Corozos lagoons, also contributing to the restoration of the San Juan Bay Estuary. This restoration will create opportunities to enjoy nature, support ecosystems and mitigate flooding while supporting recreational activities, tourism and economic development.
With this international award, Núñez and Cruz called for the completion of the projects as designed in the master plan within the time frame allotted for the use of federal funds. This is a critical issue since a number of agencies are implementing sections of the master plan, and it is key for individual projects to be seen comprehensively to be able to deliver the full environmental benefits and for the investment to be effective in protecting the community from climate change. Both also called to leverage the global acknowledgement to support additional funding to complete the master plan.
The severely polluted Martin Peña Channel received $163 million in federal funding
The Comprehensive Infrastructure Master Plan was designed by Olin Partnership, LTD, the Caño Martín ENLACE Project Corporation and the residents of the eight neighborhoods between July de 2019 and June 2022. This master plan updates the Comprehensive Development Master plan for the Use of Land of the Caño Martín Peña Special Planning District, which was designed by the community between 2004 and 2007 when it was approved by the communities and the Government of Puerto Rico.
“The Caño Martín Peña ENLACE project is one of the few ongoing construction projects in Puerto Rico that is actively addressing climate change in its plans,” added Núñez.
The Comprehensive Infrastructure Master Plan
The Plan incorporates green infrastructure, with the design of resilient systems to provide potable water, collect rainwater separately from wastewater, update electric power infrastructure, streets and walkways, open spaces, and housing.
The plan is a critical step in the process to implement and complement the 2007 Comprehensive Development Plan, based on current conditions and projected risk.
For more information on the award, visit https://thefield.asla.org/2023/02/09/championing-climate-positive-design/