Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Environmental Engineering
Alexandra González Cabrera - University of Puerto Rico
Co-Author(s): Natalia Marrero Ortiz,University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus; Elmer Irizarry Rosario University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus; Dem Ele III Santiago Santiago, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus; Jorge J. Reyes Padilla, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus; Luz I. Bonilla Ramírez, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus; Mateo I. Muñiz Velázquez,University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus; Andrea P. Maldonado Jaramillo,University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus
Puerto Rico has suffered from natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, which has affected homes. The communities most affected are marginalized communities that mostly settle in vulnerable areas with fragile infrastructure. In order to address these challenges, we developed a case study that presents these conditions. Our project included the development of emergency housing intended to function as an emergency shelter in case of a natural disaster. The project contemplated spaces for a family/group of four people, in the context of the neighborhood Ingenio in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, a community prone to multiple natural hazards. The case study was developed by an interdisciplinary group of students from the School of Architecture and students from the Departments of Civil and Electrical Engineering. The project contemplated an initial analysis of the area using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools together with Best Value Procurement. Our research included determining flooding risk, liquation, and building density, which were used to frame the site selection. The design parameters for the project included a set budget of $40,000 for construction of four units, the need to withstand the impact of multiple natural hazards and to be able to operate off the power and water grid during emergencies. The resulting unit provides 270 sq ft. of usable space and can partially function off the grid due to solar energy generation and rainwater harvesting. Local materials were used, and a manual of components and suggested construction methods were developed. We concluded that the resulting project highlights the benefit of an interdisciplinary-integrated approach to the infrastructure challenges caused by natural hazards, providing emergency housing that is resilient and sustainable. Future research will focus on exploring economic off-grid emergency units designed for Puerto Rico, and other locations exposed to extreme environmental hazards. Further exploration of the benefits of interdisciplinary work to integrate more disciplines to do a project and evaluate the potential.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants No. HSI #1832468 and 1832427 (HSI program). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Faculty Advisor: Humberto E. Cavallin Calanche, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: The part of the research that I worked on was the area analysis, it consisted of the following variables such as: flooding risk, liquation and building density. I also designed the spatial organization of the emergency homes whilst taking in consideration minimizing space following American with disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. Along with, awareness towards the budget, water and energy retention. To ensure the workflow was seamless our team used a Responsible Accountable Consulted and Informed (RACI) chart to keep everyone in touch with other parts of the project and help each other.