Upcoming Events

Workshop Directors

Martha Kohen
PR_RS Director
University of Florida

Anna Georas
PR_RS Director
University of Puerto Rico


After the consequential Hurricanes Irma and Maria passage through Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands, the Office of Research VP Dr. David Norton opened the possibility of supporting faculty and graduate students from the University of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands for a limited stay at UF. We were able to receive 3 faculty members and 7 students for 4 weeks in October 2017. The Center for Hydro-generated Urbanism (CHU-DCP) acted as the host of the activities and actively engaged in logistics and academics with the SOA visitors. Sponsored by Dean Chimay Anumba from the College of Design, Construction, and Planning (DCP), and Director Jason Alread from the School of Architecture, we developed jointly the ideas for an International Project + Research Workshop, to be held yearly in Puerto Rico. The first edition will take place in 2018 from March 16th to 25th.

The Puerto Rico Re_Start PREP, was the preparatory instance held between October 16th and October 30th, and presented its results publicly on November 1st at the School of Architecture. It produced extensive background data, mappings, bibliographic and web content, alumni linkages, consolidated in a google drive data bank. The damage extent was assessed and documented for key areas and interest focus subjects. The visitors returned to Puerto Rico after the conclusion. Documentation continues to be gathered by both Institutions.

The PR RS International Project + Research Workshop to be held in March has gathered already the support of The Chancellor of the University of Puerto Rico, the Dean of Architecture UPR, the UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Quality and Culture Rome, the UF Center for Latin American Studies, the UF International Center, the UF Office of Research, the College of DCP, the School of Architecture, the Shimberg Center, CityLab Orlando, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, City University in New York, the University of Rome, La Sapienza, the University of Seville, Spain, the New York Institute of Technology, the Politecnico di Torino, the University Politecnica of Puerto Rico and the University of Turabo.


The Puerto Rico Re_Start International Project + Research Workshop, PR_RS co-organized by the Universities of Florida and Puerto Rico will address the resiliency of the Islands, with expected consequences for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guadalupe, Dominica, Barbuda, Haiti and more. Interdisciplinary participants, professionals and academics will gather around subjects of investigation and project proposals. The international research participants will work in the establishment of a comprehensive long-term research agenda, where topics related to a wide selection of issues will be addressed, and long term priorities established. Three main sections will guide the workshop:

Research Tables

Will gather data and prioritize research objectives; this scientific meeting will discuss its conclusions publicly by the end of the workshop (economics, population, migration, infrastructure, housing stock, legal environment, finance). The research table clearing house would promote mixed teams to develop grants and further research.

Open Lecture Series

Will present the work of international and local experts addressing the challenges of the Island and similar scenarios around the world.

Design Laboratories

Professionals, faculty and students from UPR, UF, and international institutions from Europe will participate in the preliminary projects for solutions. The Labs will convene interdisciplinary expertise into integrated proposals. Representatives from stakeholders and public officials will be invited to join the discussions. Results will be presented publicly and publicized.

Design Laboratories

A synthetic outline of research topics and proposals has been developed by UPR + UF under the umbrella concerns of resilient infrastructure, settlement patterns, environmental, economic and human sustainability. The expressed need regarding re thinking before acting is shared by multiple agents, professionals and researchers. The specific topic developments are outline below for each lab.

Design Lab 01


Proposals to address flood issues in existing communities and settlements linked to water management, runoff and more autonomous energy sources towards a resilient recovery.

Subjects: high-risk mountain + riverbed + coastal settlements | riverbed + coastal reconsiderations | risk-free relocations | landslides + sinkholes |rethinking land-use policies | informal settlements consolidations | rising-sea-level response + challenges | riverbed flood abatement | ocean surge protection | solar energy | fisheries + reservoirs | food water energy strategies

Design Lab 02 


Following the opportunities for reuse up to 40,000 abandoned buildings including historic, contemporary and public buildings, the goal is to create economic opportunity for repopulating urban areas where infrastructure is already in place.

Subjects: unfinished structures | historical stock | abandoned buildings | empty lots | storm-damaged properties | closed school | city park systems | urban reforestation | housing adaptive reuse | sense-of-community awareness in relocation | safe houses & shelters | food water energy strategies

Design Lab 03 


This lab will explore habitat building and restoring methodologies regarding formal and informal housing stock.

Subjects: Existing housing typologies | public housing complexes| new prototypes | codes and regulations | green communities | community-based empowerment | adaptable-flexible housing | modular housing | resistant housing | collaborative design build | food deserts and community gardens | food water energy strategies

Design Lab 04 


Development of a network of emergency cores nodes in urban, suburban and rural populated areas as the basis for resilient recovery for future disasters.

Subjects: container reuse | prototype and fabrication | wifi hotspot | solar energy | rainwater collection | shade and safe haven | food supply and preparation | first aid and medical supplies | accessibility |communications I community gardens | food water energy strategies.

Design Lab 05 


This lab will seek to identify economic development proposals that will capitalized on existing assets.

Subjects: American railroad | dismissed military bases | airports + shipping ports | public transportation systems (bus + train) | tourism hotspots + beaches + reefs | water sports + fishing charters | hotels + paradores + rental by owner units | convention centers | natural reserves | estuaries + bioluminescent bays | caves + ziplines + observatories | historical town centers | first-response medical facilities | regional hospital centers | industrial Parks | green enterprise

Workshop Location

Invited Speakers + Participants

David Gouverneur

Professor of Practice in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania; Author of Planning and Design for Future Informal Settlements

Jonathan Marvel

Founding principal at Marvel Architects, FAIA

Edwin Melendez

Director Centro de Estudios de Puerto Rico – Hunter College (CUNY)

Lucio Barbera

UNESCO in "Sustainable Urban Quality and Urban Culture, notably in Africa" Sapienza University of Rome

Anna Irene del Monaco

Secretary General
UNESCO in "Sustainable Urban Quality and Urban Culture, notably in Africa" Sapienza University of Rome

Antonino Saggio

La Sapienza University - Rome

Gentucca Canella

Politecnico di Torino

Nancy Clark

Director, UF Center for Hydro-generated Urbanism UF|CHU
Associate Professor, School of Architecture University of Florida

Yazmin M. Crespo

Professor + Director
Department of Architecture of the International School of Design and Architecture at the University of Turabo, PR.

Mar Loren

Architect, Professor University of Seville

Stephen Bender

Lecturer UF – City Lab Orlando

Dr. Omayra Rivera

Professor of Architecture
Universidad Politecnica de Puerto Rico
Author of "Procesos de participacion: proyectar, construir y habitar la vivienda contemporanea"

Silvia Aloisio

Architect + Ph.D. Candidate
La Sapienza University, Rome

Albertus Wang

Lecturer UF – City Lab Orlando

Abhinav Alakshendra

Assistant Professor and Director, Center for International Design and Planning
Urban and Regional Planning - University of Florida

Farzana Gandhi

Associate Professor of Architecture
New York Institute of Technology
Principal, Farzana Gandhi Design Studio

Farah Akiely

Architect + Ph.D Candidate
University of Florida

Maria Estefania Barrios

Research Associate - University of Florida
M.Arch, MCM
University of Florida

The University of Florida is an American public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university on a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) campus in Gainesville, Florida and traces its origins to 1853. The University of Florida is home to sixteen academic colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes. It offers multiple graduate professional programs—including business administration, engineering, law, dentistry, medicine, and veterinary medicine—on one contiguous campus, and administers 123 master’s degree programs and seventy-six doctoral degree programs in eighty-seven schools and departments.

University of Puerto Rico

The mission of the School of Architecture is to train our students to learn by encouraging them to discover and build knowledge. The learning of our students should be directed to auscultate, know and interpret the different architectural ideologies and possible techniques that will facilitate the understanding of the architectural work in Puerto Rico. Above all, to achieve success through education that allows them to design beautiful, useful and safe structures that strengthen the sense of community and improve the environment. That allows them, also create and make architecture within pre-established parameters, in an environment of collaboration and interdisciplinary. In this way, by refining knowledge through research and reflection, they will achieve the necessary internalization to share it through their lives.


Center for Hydo-generated Urbanism

The Center for Hydro-generated Urbanism (CHU) proposes new paradigms for the evolution of water-based settlements. From retrofitting the metropolis to envisioning future development on the water, CHU advocates a reconsideration of fluvial and coastal urbanism and a recalibration of our settlement patterns in the context of climate variability; sea level rise and flooding; water, waste, mobility, and energy management; global economic shifts; post-industrial legacies; urban retreat, environmental migration and population growth within a urbanizing world. The Center develops interdisciplinary research and collaborative programs, symposia, and academic courses bringing global involvement in prospective studies on adaptation, environmental justice, and asset preservation of water borne cities around the world.


Participants + Sponsors

Interested to join?