In 1956, the San Juan Metropolitan Area was in the midst of a substantial growth period. These were the golden years of the Puerto Rican miracle and the eyes of the world were upon us. San Juan became, along with the rest of the island, a laboratory. One of the many experiments performed in the island (if one can call a plan an experiment) was the Regional Plan for the San Juan Metropolitan Area devised by Dr. Eduardo Barañano.
Source: UPR Coleccion Puertorriqueña. Shows (left to right) Helen Tooker, Dr. Eduardo Barañano, Luis Muñoz Marín, and Santiago Iglesias visiting a neighborhood in San Juan.
Like all land use plans, the "Barañano Plan" had a particular world view that reflected what was then perceived as modernity, it included large patches of land dedicated to high density residential areas, it proposed the removal whole communities to make space for transportation systems (for cars not old fashioned rail systems!) to improve interconnectivity between townships, but it also provided for the protection and use of green spaces within the metropolitan area.
And like with all land use plans, not all was implemented. It was a good exercise. Download the KMZ file from the free stuff page and see how much (or little) of the plan became reality.
On the previous post, I mentioned that almost all of Puerto Rico's 1930 townships or old downtowns (cascos urbanos) are available for download (here) for viewing using Google Earth (as well as with other software). From the 1930s Puerto Rico has changed enormously in many respects and urban area growth is definitely one of the most dramatic changes that the island has suffered . This is a brief tutorial on how to load the KMZ files to Google Earth.
1. Install Google Earth Pro. (it is FREE!)
2. Run Google Earth
3. Download all the KMZ files from here. There are other free datasets available on this page as well. You are welcome to these as well. The download is relatively large (130MB approx.) It contains one ZIP file with 76 individual KMZ files, one per municipality. Culebra and Morovis are missing.
4. You have to save all these files to an uncompresed folder for them to work effectively.
5. On Goggle Earth, under file-open, choose KML/KMZ files (there are many other options here). Navigate to the folder were all the unzipped KMZ files for the municipalities are, and select the ones you want to see. I recommend that you select one or two at a time since Google Earth has a tendency to crash.
6. If you did everything right you should see the image (in this example I used the City of Ponce) display over the Google Earth display area. Now you can play with other Google Earth features such as available databases (photos for example). Enjoy!