Urban Land Institute Releases Expert Panel’s Report on Recovery Recommendations for Hurricane-Ravaged Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
Panel Included RGME’s Sustainability Practice Manager Michael Bloom, P.E.
Toa Baja, Puerto Rico – devastated by Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 – can rebuild in a strong and prosperous way, according to a new report issued by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) that presents the recommendations of a panel of nine recognized experts in land use and urban development who visited the municipality last December.
Michael Bloom, P.E., Sustainability Practice Manager for R. G. Miller Engineers, was part of the panel, which was convened by the ULI through its advisory services program to study the area and present strategic recommendations on how best to build local economic and climate resilience as well as boost prosperity for all residents.
ULI has now released the report, which is divided into three sections covering physical, social and economic resilience.
Physical resilience recommendations include using natural drainage systems on private property and future development and redevelopment projects, integrating nature-based design and recreational opportunities into a planned flood risk reduction project, and using HUD disaster recovery funds to strengthen critical utilities.
Social resilience recommendations include prioritizing consensus building and civic engagement activities, designating a Municipal Resilience Liaison to coordinate efforts, and enhancing preparations and emergency response capabilities by implementing the region’s 2018 Operational Emergency Plan.
Economic resilience recommendations include launching a strategic planning effort to identify locations for housing relocation and growth, studying the feasibility of meeting residents’ needs in the Sabana Seca district, supporting storm-impacted businesses with grants and mentorship programs, and pursuing workforce training and job creation programs through HUD.
The full report can be accessed here.