Keep Safe Puerto Rico

housing and community adaptation strategies developed in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria

In the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria that devastated the islands of Puerto Rico, Enterprise Community Partners (ECP) recognized that Puerto Rico’s formal and informal residential communities, structures and support systems were distinctly vulnerable to the increasingly-common and increasingly-ravaging effects of tropical systems. These effects compounded with other hazards such as drought, landslides and extreme heat warranted a more purposeful approach to preparedness, enabling citizens to more actively evaluate their own resilience and to invest as able and appropriate in their readiness. In response to this need, and following ECP’s previous Post-Sandy housing recovery work in New York City, ECP organized a multidisciplinary collaboration of experts to identify more resilient and adaptable strategies to enable residents to contextualize options for rebuilding and to better prepare for the various hazards that Puerto Rico faces. Under the leadership of Laurie Schoeman, who also led the NYC efforts, ECP convened a collective of industry experts and locally-knowledgeable advocates to create an exemplary model of resilience framing: Keep Safe: A guide for resilient housing design in island communities.

In a parallel effort, ECP, Perkins+Will and resilientSEE™ PR, Mercy Corps and the ReImagina Puerto Rico team also recognized the importance of creating stronger community-led preparedness initiatives and developing approaches to community resilience hubs. To this end, and in recognition that active schools simply should not be the sole focus of community resilience, the team developed Communities Together: A guide for resilient community center design in island communities, a companion guide focused on resilient community center design.

These guides provide two community resources for resilient rebuilding for Puerto Rico. As a Senior Advisor to both teams, Janice provided guidance on global adaptation best practices, community uptake and communication strategies as well as overall editorial feedback during the development process for each guide.

Download the guides HERE.

Janice joined a panel hosted by AIANY and the Center for Architecture on 25 November 2019 that included Enterprise Community Partners, Perkins+Will, Thornton Tomasetti, +Lab, Marvel Architects, the City of New York and others in the network of collaborators in a discussion of the Keep Safe and Communities Together efforts, the efficacy of diverse collaborative partnerships in adaptation planning, and how the process can be a model for other communities. The panel was representative of resilientSEE™, a multidisciplinary, non-profit alliance of designers, educators, scientists, citizens, and other stakeholders, who participated in the Keep Safe and Communities Together programs and who are committed to achieving a robust and lasting resilience strategy for Puerto Rico.

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