Puerto Rico has recently experienced an extreme climate event in the form of Hurricane Maria, which killed a number of people and destroyed much of the island’s infrastructure. Extreme climate events are bound to become more frequent with climate change and we must be prepared to face the consequences for our cities and regions.
There are no “natural disasters”, only ill prepared cities and regions, which suffer from lack of integrated planning that can help them adapt to new conditions.
Puerto Rico and other Caribbean Islands are especially vulnerable to extreme climate events that threaten the lives of citizens, and damage infrastructures and economic assets.
We believe our summer school can make a difference in preparing young people to shift the way in which urbanisation is planned in the island, producing spatial strategies that allow cities to live with water and “build back better” (BBB), helping Puerto Rico to prepare for the challenges of climate change.
For this reason, in 2018 the Summer School will fund one Puerto Rican student entirely (fee, plane tickets, accommodation and other expenses) and will have special fees for other selected Puerto Rican students.
In order to apply for this scholarship, please follow the same steps as other candidates for the Summer School, explained HERE. Please note that applications will start on February 1st 2018.
Isabella Hillman, Puerto Rican student at the 4th edition of the Summer School (July 2017)
“As you know Puerto Rico was devastated after the passing of hurricane Maria (the 100-1,000 year storm everyone was waiting for). We are still without power and poor communications in some areas, but everyday we try to get better. The Summer Course gave me so much information for these kinds of situations and I have this need to share it with my school.
An example of the lessons learned is the meaning and action of the word resilience. Resilience is a word i heard many times in the Summer School as a very important value, word and goal. Now it is all I hear with my family, my professor, the government and media. It is a word that shows strength and perseverance, the quality every Puerto Rican can say after surviving this crisis. I believe this word should be demonstrated in our future projects and a goal that should be attainable once we get back up.
As future Architects and Urban Planners we should be ready to create resilient and powerful cities that use history and experiences, such as this, as foundations for the future.
The School of Architecture in Puerto Rico decided to use this devastation and turn it into an opportunity to rethink and re-create, as every Puerto Rican is doing. The professors decided to give back to the communities in need. Today we visited our project’s site in Loiza, Puerto Rico. Loiza suffered greatly from floods and many lost their house. We found the most beautiful site and community for a Recreational Masterplan.
Our initiative starts with the little things as restoring the wooden structures that where use for picnics and revitalising the growth of medicinal plants. With our initiative I was wondering if there was anyway to contact the associations that go abroad to help mitigate the flood problems and create a safe, resilient and recreational environment. This contact would be for the planning ahead and safety of the community.
I believe we as architects and urban planners of the future (and especially in an island as PR) should have knowledge in this area. Thank you so much for the great opportunity in TU Delft, it opened my eyes into a new and bright future. Muchísimas gracias, Isabella