Helping Puerto Rico Virtually

In March, the Center for Hydro-generated Urbanism (CHU) at the University of Florida School of Architecture, together with the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR), held the Puerto Rico Re_Start 3 E: Under Emergency as a virtual platform that gathered the participation of over 80 students, stakeholders, agencies, professionals, consultants, architects, researchers and the UNESCO chair in Sustainable Urban Quality and Urban Culture to discuss ideas and proposals for the western part of the Island.

The Workshop had originally been formulated following the pattern established with PUPR for Puerto Rico Re Start 1 and Puerto Rico Re Start 2 held in Puerto Rico. Given the continuing earthquakes, COVID-19 pandemic and other issues, an alternative plan was developed to host the Workshop through the University of Florida Conference Center as an online workshop.

The institutions involved had parallel courses and research tracks in development for the subjects of the workshop at UF, PUPR and their partner institutions. The original areas of study comprising of the western Municipalities, were enlarged to include the earthquake affected areas of Guánica, Guayanillas and Yauco. The Municipalities addressed in this workshop were Aguadilla, Aguada, Añasco, Mayagüez, Cabo Rojo, Lajas, Guánica and Yauco.

Using an online platform via Zoom meetings, TEAMS chats and Google Drive, the group was able to develop a total of 43 proposals with the collaboration of students and professors from the University of Florida, the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, Berkeley University, Iowa State, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in New York, La Sapienza University in Rome, the University of Chieti Pescara and a special collaboration from notable Italian architecture firms that developed a master plan and proposals for the area of Cabo Rojo.

The subjects developed are of global importance and will be disseminated through UNESCO channels, towards addressing growing vulnerabilities in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa.

Zoom meetings and the results of the workshop will be available on the conference website: by the end of May.

Results will be presented at the 27th Global Congress of Architects UIA2020RIO, for which this event has been declared a Preparatory Activity. The congress has been postponed to 2021.

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