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Equity, participation, and planning for recovery in Puerto Rico

Karl Kim, PhD, Roberto Porro, MURP, Jiwnath Ghimire, PhD, Lillian Ramirez Durand, MS, Ruperto Chaparro Serrano, MS, Bernardo Gonzalez, MURP, Eric Yamashita, MURP


Based on a survey of stakeholders from 34 municipalities in Puerto Rico 1 year following Hurricane Maria, this study reports on progress and priorities for longer-term recovery. Following a description of the storm and its impacts and an overview of recovery principles, initial insights expressed after the storm are studied. Over 56 percent of respondents ranked the need for equity considerations as the top recovery priority, while 23 percent ranked building back faster, and 11 percent supported building back stronger as the top priority. Building back greener was the top recovery goal for 10 percent of the respondents. In addition to broad recovery goals, specific actions and initiatives to support recovery are also investigated. While the needs for more robust data collection and information sharing emerged, gaps in training and capacity building were also reported. The analysis sheds light on the need for more participatory, deliberative processes, and the challenges of leadership, management, and inclusive governance following large-scale disasters. The findings are relevant to other island communities and the development of effective systems for disaster recovery.


Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, recovery, planning

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