Luis Villanueva-Cubero

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)


Main Advisor: Mei Yu, PhD.

Co-Advisor: Pending

Dissertation Research Topic/questions:

How does land use in the past thirty years affect coastal ecologic and socio-economic systems outside the Metropolitan Area in Puerto Rico’s Northern Coast?

How does Territorial Planning at the municipal and regional levels affect critical coastal ecosystems as the costal squeeze effect intensifies because of urban sprawl and climate change, and what are the socio-economic implications?

Can the answer to the previous questions be used to predict accurately enough worst-case scenarios as to implement the changes necessary in Land-Use Planning to prevent them?

Education Background

Master in Planning, Graduate School of Planning, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus

Bachelor Degree in Computer Science, Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla Campus

Research Interest

Creating a Self-Sustaining, Conservation-Based Economy in Coastal Recreational Areas of Northeast Puerto Rico: Guidelines for the Valuation of Beaches and Coastal Parks

The Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) and the Travel Cost Method (TCM) are used to measure non-market transactions, such as recreational experiences in nature-based coastal recreational areas. The purpose of this study was to find mean Willingness to Pay (WTP) for an average recreational experience in a Puerto Rico beach, based on surveys conducted in eight beach facilities. Using the Logistic Regression Model, the odds of acceptance of the visitor to pay more for their recreational experience (based on a hypothetical increase in transportation costs) was determined. Mean WTP for all beaches surveyed using CVM was $66.30. It was also determined that mean WTP for Blue Flag beaches ($73.37) was greater than that of beaches without this designation ($53.82). Using TCM, the Negative Binomial Count Model was incorporated to predict the average number of visits within a 12 month period. TCM WTP proved to be $35.05.

Based on the results of this study it is proposed that a business plan be developed for a Blue Flag beach in Northeast Puerto Rico operating at a loss, based on the recovery of marginal WTP or Consumer Surplus. The results of this study may be useful for managers of coastal recreational facilities and government agencies concerned with tourism economics in Puerto Rico.

Environmental Impacts of Inner-City Suburban Decline in the Río Piedras Watershed

In this research Luis E. Ramos ARQ, PPL and I intend to apply Boyden’s Nature-Human Society Interaction Model and Goodall’s Neighborhood Decline Cycle Model to study the factors that affect suburban socio-ecological system degradation. We will use as study areas two 500-meter radius segments within the Río Piedras Watershed already being analyzed by a host of researchers working with the San Juan Ultra project. It is hoped that by applying an interdisciplinary approach that spans Environmental Science, Sociology and Planning, the cycle of Neighborhood Decline can be refined for Puerto Rico’s unique suburban context in order to equip city managers with better tools to deal with deterioration of these systems.