Accidental Sustainability

Cubans who own cars from the 1950s and earlier once rehabilitated them out of necessity. Today, many classic cars are used as tourist taxis. (Credit: Alex Garcia)

​Between “el bloqueo” and the present day, Havana’s population has essentially doubled within the same urban footprint and with limited resources. Residents have had to get creative, sharing and reusing materials, everything from automobiles to apartment buildings. Orlando Inclán, an architect and planner with the Office of the City Historian in Havana calls it an “accidental sustainability,” borne of necessity. An American planner wonders whether Cuba’s culture of reuse will persist.

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