San Juan, Puerto Rico STEW-MAP

San Juan

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, two previous efforts have described the role of environmental and conservation organizations; however, these were focused mainly on agencies and formal NGOs and on conservation related groups. STEW-MAP provided a way to capture the wide range of civic groups and efforts of urban environmental stewardship in the city.

To implement STEW-MAP in San Juan, we followed the protocol previously developed by Svendsen and Campbell (2008) and Fisher et al. (2012). The survey, translated to fit the San Juan vernacular, was distributed to non-governmental and civic organizations that conducted stewardship activities, including those that plan, manage, conserve, study, defend, or educate the public on the local urban environment. The survey was administered primarily online, but also in person when appropriate, from October 2014 to January 2015.

Results indicate that civic organizations are playing a role in environmental stewardship while also collecting data and generating knowledge about the urban environment, land use, and environmental governance in San Juan. A total of 19 non-governmental organizations responded the survey, a 36% of our initial sample of 53 groups. Over half of the organizations that responded were NGOs with 501(c) (3). Twenty six percent of the organizations worked on environmental projects, (e.g., gardening, protection of green areas, water, and air, etc.), 16% work on education, and the rest work on projects related to community capacity-building, economic and social development, land use planning, or scientific research. The top services provided by the organizations include volunteer/student programs, community outreach, data management and dissemination, public policy, scientific research, and development of education curriculums. Organizations worked across a variety of urban spaces, with the top being on watersheds (67%), vacant buildings (63%), green areas in or around schools (63%), ocean fronts or beaches (60%), gardens (54%), public parks (54%), green areas in or around residential areas (50%), green buildings (50%), restoration areas (46%), and forests or arboretums (46%). The top areas of expertise found in the organizations included environmental administration, natural and social sciences, public and environmental education, community organizing, and public policy.

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Last modified: March 17, 2017