Cornell alumnus Luis E. Santiago to speak on post-Maria coastal planning in Puerto Rico

The US Coast Guard speaking with boat owners in Vieques, Puerto Rico, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria. (US DOD)

Next week, Cornell alum and University of Central Florida professor Luis E. Santiago is returning to campus to present findings from his study of coastal sites in Puerto Rico post–Hurricane Maria. Santiago, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida School of Public Affairs, examined green, blue, and gray infrastructural changes after the hurricane, with an eye towards developing a coastal marine ecosystem data bank that could assist in future post-disaster responses.

Santiago received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning at Cornell in 1999. His talk, “Coastal Indicators to Plan for the Sustainable Recovery of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria,” is slated for Thursday, September 13 at 4:30 p.m. in W. Sibley Hall, Room 113.

An abstract of the talk is reprinted below:

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, bringing sustained category four winds and up to 45 inches of rain. Residents experienced widespread flooding, vegetation loss, and physical infrastructure systems failure. Santiago’s study assessed post-hurricane changes in green, blue, and gray infrastructure and associated changes in ecosystem service provision levels at two coastal sites. The research team aims to develop a coastal marine ecosystem databank that will inform extreme event planning and emergency response efforts. Post-hurricane coastal infrastructure and ecosystem services data became critical due to the magnitude of losses in community assets, resulting in fragmentation and displacement.

More information on this and other Department of City and Regional Planning (CRP) lectures can be found here.

Ben Austen to discuss the rise and fall of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green on September 14


Next Friday, journalist Ben Austen is coming to Cornell to discuss the rise and fall of Cabrini-Green, the Chicago public housing project that was razed in 2011. Often portrayed in the media as a crucible of vice and violence, Austen’s recent book on the development, High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing, explores Cabrini-Green’s origins and decline through the stories of its residents.

An abstract of the talk is reprinted below:

The rise and fall of high-rise public housing is the story of America’s ever-changing inner cities — and the story of the country’s always uneasy relationship to poverty and race. Cabrini-Green, located just blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast, was the most “infamous” of these housing projects. Depicted constantly in the news, in TV shows, in horror films, Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and government failure. For the thousands of people who lived there, it was also a much-needed home. What was myth and what was reality there? What went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor? What can we do now?

Austen will deliver his talk, officially the Russell Van Nest Black Lecture. on September 14 at 12:20 p.m. in the Milstein Hall auditorium. More information on this and other Department of City and Regional Planning (CRP) lectures can be found here.

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