The infrastructure in Puerto Rico has been flawed for many years, with its energy source, water supply, and the road and housing foundations. PREPA,
the government owned electric power company, has been struggling for years and filed for bankruptcy. Hurricane Maria had destroyed the entire distribution leaving many with no electricity for months. Cell phone towers have been destroyed by the hurricane making communication difficult. The power grids have not been stable even before the hurricane losing power many times. This leads us to think about better ways for a new electric infrastructure that could sustain strong and modest winds.
The water supply has elevated lead levels and bacteria which create a toxic mix and the government has failed to conduct the required safety test. San Juan has the worse water system in the nation the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and sewer authority had 64 safety violations and 24 health violations in 2015.
Most of the island housing infrastructure do not follow the building codes. Many low income families build their homes with materials like light wooden structures and corrugated tin that are stitched together. Because of this, the structures were easily ripped apart by the hurricane winds. The major roads that have been damaged by the hurricane left people with no access to reach the supplies.
Our team goal is to achieve building a hurricane resistant structure as well as design a program that would be of use to the community we would build for. We have researched and gathered this information on the infrastructure in Puerto Rico to have a better understanding of our goals and how we can make an improvement in their system. We hope to build a structure that can educate the community or assist them during this time of disaster and recovery. We thought of these programs that might be of most benefit to the community: emergency center, garden, clinic, community center, community kitchen, workshop space, or a library/educational space.
Reaching out for assistance is also difficult at this time in the island, so a space where the residents can get resources and local help would be of great use to them in the future. There’s an opportunity to help the community and we hope that it could spread amongst the whole island so that there is better infrastructure built with less damage to repair in the future.
Pavement detail for water draining.
Collapsed road infrastructure in Utuado, Puerto Rico.