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Sovereign Living: Housing as Adaptive Process within a Community Land Trust

Culebra faces unique challenges in affordable housing due to the tourism-fueled Airbnb market, high cost of importing materials, and the inconsistent ferry system. This project, Sovereign Living, proposes establishing a Community Land Trust to create a building system that starts in downtown Culebra and is adaptive and responsive to local material streams and community needs. A dispersed set of housing, commercial, and urban agricultural developments get built within underused lots. By partnering with non-profit organizations, businesses, and governmental entities, land is acquired through land transfer/donation, purchasing, and negotiating deals. Guidelines to develop include resilient construction methods, sustainable organization features, specificity of local materials like bamboo and sargassum brick, and recommendations for public programs that reflect surrounding urban contexts. The cluster theory approach allows us to continue densifying the urban core while incrementally spreading toward the lower-density neighborhoods. This method attracts investors and provides more equitable access to the economic market. To access multiple funding streams, we use a mixed-use development approach to gain eligibility to federal subsidies, philanthropic funding, and revenue generated from CLT programming. By developing a system of development that responds to the urban contexts, community needs, and local economy, a sovereign way of building and living is established.