Early Resilient Framework Plan for the Toa Baja Municipality


This content was presented at the Caribbean Strong: Building with Equity conference, which was hosted by the Puerto Rico Science Trust in February of 2019. The analysis was developed by ResilientSEE partners: MIT Urban Risk Lab, Álvarez Díaz Villalón, and Perkins+Will. This work represents the steps of an early Resilient Framework Plan for the Toa Baja Municipality. It is also informing a consensus process within the Municipality and the piloting of an early resilient planning tool under development by MIT Urban Risk Lab.

What is resilience?

We believe the 100 Resilient Cities definition is fitting to our work: “urban resilience as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”

What is ResilientSEE-Puerto Rico?

ResilientSEE-Puerto Rico formed because after Hurricane María, a group of people had the urge to contribute in a significant and coordinated fashion to rebuilding a resilient Puerto Rico. We became an alliance of academic institutions, private sector and non-profit organizations. Whether we were diaspora, natives or global citizens, our expertise intersected, and we decided to provide pro bono design and resilient planning services to communities of different scales. Within the alliance, we also partner to advance research and share knowledge as we believe education is critical to change.

This presentation focuses on 3 Key Points:

  1. The problems we face today are too complex to be solved in silos, therefore, we adopt a S-E-E approach: Social, Environmental and Economic Resilience.

    True resilience requires a multidisciplinary lens with a “SEE” approach.

  2. In our methodology, we conduct a co-authorship process to ensure communities are strategic partners in creating solutions and no one is parachuting ideas that are out of context.

    True resilience requires Community Co-authored solutions.

  3. It is not easy to break free from preconceptions. To avoid that, we conduct a data driven / scientific process founded on the principles that all systems are connected. This process begins with understanding vulnerabilities and risks, dissecting the problem through different lenses, and overlapping these lenses to diagnose problems and find solutions through synergies. This image illustrates Puerto Rico’s natural events since 1900, including major hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes and landslides. With climate change, these events will become more intense and frequent.

    True resilience requires a Data Driven Process.