País Utopia Pilot Archive






Plebiscito Protest




There is a small strip of beach in Santurce, Puerto Rico where there isn't development. You walk through lush plants and a skate park before getting to a huge blue horizon. To imagine this was once an entire island without beach-side condos is eerie and curious– building up utopias out of sea and sky makes sense.

Perhaps part of the mainstream's indifference when it comes to sociopolitical and environmental crises is our comfort level. Living on the brink of economic collapse puts everything into perspective — what's necessary to our existence and how we can access it. More often, we're able to pull resources and view long-term relationships as part of a sustainable future.  Our sleepover with Casa Taft was a practice of getting out of our physical comfort zone and thinking through the connection we have with our labor.

When Puerto Rico's colonial base collapses, informal anti-capitalist initiatives and movements will model sustainable living for the rest of us. Although historically marginalized in their resistance, groups that find value in alternative economic models and consumption patters are where should ultimately look to answer questions of long-term existence. We are interested in questions of resources and time— what and how we do with the time and energy we do have. How do we foster communal energy for something greater than right now?

What is abundance?

Do we have it?


During the clinic on cooperative worker groups, one student spoke to the "debt crisis" reality of living with $0.00 money for several months.  New economies require modes of seeing each other and seeing the world. To recognize we live in abundance when we don't have personal debt, and that we live in abundance when we have land and clean water. How do we better use our resources to sustain ourselves and our communities? How do we learn to share?

There is power in the way we make decisions.


Amidst heightening economic pressures, on June 11 there was a “plebiscito” (plebiscite) which recurrently polls citizens on the choice to become a state, become independent or stay in the same “common wealth” position.


On June 11, only 22% of registered voters went to polls and many turned their energy to the street to demonstrate diminishing faith in the government.

San Juan's urban space is fascinating in its potency and in its neglect. During the País Utopía pilot, we lead frequent walks where we thought about our individual and collective roles on sidewalks, streets, parking lots and garages. This took place at a time for shifting commerce and very public manifestations of anger, sadness, hope.