Recovery Planning Concepts: LaPlaya de Ponce, Puerto Rico

Community Planning Assistance Team



La Playa is Ponce’s historic port, and because it is located three miles from the city center, it has a sense of identity as a unique and separate place, with its own cultural traditions and history. La Playa faces longstanding economic and environmental problems. As the island economy has declined over the past 15 years, so has port activity. La Playa, in a low-lying coastal location, also is subject to both coastal storms and flooding from much of the city’s urban stormwater runoff. La Playa was affected by the wind, rain, and infrastructure disruptions from Hurricane Maria in September 2017, and the M 6.4 earthquake on January 7, 2020 damaged highways, historic buildings, and the La Guancha boardwalk. Hope for La Playa’s future lies in the large amount of disaster recovery money that is yet unspent.

We recommend using recovery funding as an opportunity for sustainable investment and growth of the local economy, relying on four general planning principles: Dignity, Placemaking, Economic Revitalization, and Sustainability.


Page Count
Date Published
Sept. 28, 2021
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

Table of Contents

Executive Summary


La Playa Today

Planning Principles
Empowering the Community
La Guancha/The Port
La Playa’s Historic Center
Parks and Open Space

Appendix A: Acknowledgements