San Juan – Fideicomiso de la Tierra (CLT)

1957 PR-25, San Juan, 00915, Puerto Rico

‘Using a land trust model gives a community a fighting chance to stay where they belong.’
Photograph: Line Algoed. Image from
Country Puerto Rico
City San Juan
Name  Fideicomiso de la Tierra del Caño Martín Peña (Community Land Trust)
Date 2000’s
Description of the project Fideicomiso de la Tierra, the Community Land Trust created in San Juan by the government, residents and technical professionals, was born to preserve and develop informal communities along the Martín Peña Canal: today, the communities’ population nears 30,000 and it is the most densely populated area in Puerto Rico.

The canal stopped flowing because of pollution, and calls to dredge the canal prompted government action. In the early 2000, both the US Army Corps of Engineers and the government committed to dredge the canal and revitalize the communities. Under the leadership of two employees from the Transportation Authorities, the government organized 700 participatory meetings from 2002-2004, where experts faced the communities’ doubts and concerns and presented some legal tools to preserve affordable housing and formalize landholdings.

At the end of the process, residents opted for a Community Land Trust as the best way to achieve their goal (dredging the canal without displacing them), because of its collective vocation. The CLT has been operating successfully under the Regulations for eight years, and in partnership with ENLACE has made significant progress towards being self-funding and relocating residents humanely and as necessary to dredge the canal. In 2015, it won a Building and Social Housing Foundation World Habitat Award recognizing it as a model for other informal communities.

The CLT is run by an 11-member board of trustees which has a duty to administer the CLT for the community’s benefit.

Urban Co-Governance Strong
Enabling State Moderate
Pooling Strong
Experimentalism Strong
Tech Justice Weak
Project Website 
References, sources, contact person(s) Interview ;

Other links :
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Community gathering website :
Other information concerning the CLT : 

Contact :

San Juan

Project Details

Added: 8.06.18