Caribbean Recovery, Walkability, and Green Infrastructure

What You'll Learn

  • Learn how APA's Community Planning Assistance Team engages communities.
  • Understand the collaborative process for federal, state, and professional organizations working together to solve a unique challenge in an underserved and vulnerable neighborhood.
  • Learn about engaging outside organizations more fully to explore potential collaboration to work through difficult problems and develop holistic solutions.

More Course Details

In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the U.S. Virgin Islands, causing widespread damage and leaving the islands with a very long road to recovery. The hurricane recovery process revealed the interconnected nature of many systems. This course explores the connections between disaster recovery, the built environment, public health, and disaster risk reduction.

Multiple federal entities (FEMA, CDC, HHS) and territorial agencies (Department of Public Works, Department of Health, Department of Education, Housing) partnered to identify strategies for rebuilding the islands to mitigate loss from future disasters while also supporting the long-term health and resilience of community members.

The planner-volunteers from APA's Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) were invited to a neighborhood on St. Thomas that sustained extensive roadway damage. The CPAT was used to facilitate a design workshop that engaged multiple stakeholders and vulnerable populations, including a senior living facility and an elementary school.

Working together, the neighborhood developed a design for a new roadway that includes green infrastructure and pedestrian improvements, and meets the needs of the whole neighborhood. The project will help ensure stormwater is sustainably managed, while also providing residents with safe and accessible areas for physical activity.