The Caño Martin Peña connects San Juan neighborhoods with the San Juan Bay National Estuary. Photo provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Building Resilient Communities: Insights from Puerto Rico

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island of Puerto Rico, wiping out nearly all public access to power, water, health facilities, and supermarkets. Before Hurricane Maria made landfall in 2017, Puerto Rico was already struggling with environmental issues, and it was clear that the problems were tied to social and economic issues. In the 1950s, sparked by several large storms and a stock market crash, the people of Puerto Rico emigrated to the cities of the island where industrialization was favored, and jobs were promised. In the process, the natural resources – wetlands and mangrove forests – were filled in and turned into living spaces. Urban Waters Learning Network (a partnership of Groundwork USA and River Network) asked Ingrid Vila, co-founder of CAMBIO, an organization promoting sustainability in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean: How do communities effectively respond to devastating storms?  And, what does it mean to build resilient communities? Read the full story on the Urban Waters Learning Network blog.