Solving problems by building community

Building community by solving problems

El Laboratorio brings people together from different cultures and disciplines to find creative solutions to some of the most intractable environmental challenges facing the Americas.


Each of the Laboratorio Principals brings a transdisciplinary approach to facilitating community-led problem-solving efforts. They have decades of project management experience at the international, national, state, and local levels, and share a deep commitment to their projects and the people they work with and for.

(click on the photo to see a bio and email to connect)

Paul Cawood Hellmund




Green Infrastructure, Greenway Planning, Conservation Planning, Ecological Design, Green Urbanism, Process Facilitation​

Arq. Nancy Araceli Saldaña




Innovative Municipal Project Planning, Design and Management, Transdisciplinary Project Development, Strategic Alliances

Jorge Figueroa

Laboratorio Director, Principal

(Puerto Rico)


Innovation Processes, Market-Based Solutions for Conservation, Natural Resources

Planning and Policy

Why El Laboratorio?


  • We are a Latino-led solution generator, incubator, accelerator—anchored in social capital.

  • We are a binational group of experts that enjoy working together to develop and implement transdisciplinary solutions from soups to nuts for the betterment of our communities.

  • We approach our work from advanced systems thinking the perspective that brings multiple disciplines and angles to solution-making, including a profoundly integrated sense of the needs and aspirations of local communities.

  • We work from a river basin, watershed-level.  

  • We involve and train citizens and stakeholders in the full project cycle of complex planning processes and projects: from solution generation to implementation, measurement and verification, and adaptive management.

  • We focus on innovative strategies, projects, and policies that meet local, regional and binational needs.

  • We acknowledge that yesterday's solutions are poor fits for today's and tomorrow's problems. (E.g., climate change and innovation mean the old patterns no longer apply.)

  • We can advance sensitivity to diverse cultures with issues (related to conservation) whose solutions need cultural sensitivity.

  • Our support can be designed to "jumpstart" planning processes and build local capacity, but not to dominate from the outside.

  • We are reliable partners that can be fast in to aid and advise, and then out when not needed.

Non-profit Organization

Tax Exempt Status: 501(c)(3)  EIN 32-0241204 July 2012



Address: 1942 Broadway St., Suite 210

Boulder, Colorado 80302

Contact: Irene Vilar, Founder & CEO

Phone. 303.330.6597


AFC+A Puerto Rico Offices


AFC+A Metro

P.O. Box 13934

San Juan, Puerto Rico. 00908


4 Calle Santo Domingo

Yauco, Puerto Rico 00678


Contact: Jonathan Cintron, Director PR

Initial design by Rafael Lopez / Manage and updates by Jonathan Cintrón

©2019 Americas For Conservation + The Arts

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