Keep Safe Guide

October 8th, 2019

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Keep Safe - A Guide to Resilient Housing Design and Construction is a new manual for safe, resilient housing construction for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Florida Keys developed in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Enterprise Community Partners led a large team, including the University of Puerto Rico School of Architecture and Planning, the Puerto Rico Homebuilders Association, Perkins and Will, and the MIT Urban Risk Lab, among others, to develop a comprehensive manual for rebuilding in the Caribbean in the most sustainable, long lasting way in the face of escalating hazards due to climate change. The manual features strategies on resilient energy and water systems for homes; protection of roofing and structural systems; strategies to enable habitability of homes without power; strategies to embolden communities and how to implement strategies outlined through code compliance and funding.

Our contribution, led by Larisa Ovalles with extensive contributions by Jean Carlos Vega Diaz, was the introductory chapter on Puerto Rico’s hazards, risks, and vulnerabilities to disaster. It includes both a survey of disasters on the island stretching back 100 years and a projection of future hazards due to climate change.

The book will be released to the public on October 8, 2019, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Juan, PR.

Netherlands x Boston Water and Climate Resiliency Events

July 22th, 2019

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Last week a large contingent of Dutch business, design, and government leaders came to Boston for a series of meetings and workshops with Massachusetts based organizations working for a more resilient future in Boston. By sharing ideas and best practices, and looking for ways to develop future collaborations, the goal of the trip was to build stronger connections between the generations of experience in the Netherlands dealing with interconnected water issues, and the increasing need for greater Boston to do the same.

We were fortunate to be able to take part multiple events during the week. It was a great opportunity to share some of our ongoing research and learn from others doing important work, both in the Dutch delegation and our local community.

‘Explore prephub’ at portland state university

June 29th, 2019

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Being developed through a partnership between MIT Urban Risk Lab, Portland General Electric, Portland State University and the City of Portland, PREPHubs are innovative community-driven installations tacking disaster preparedness in the community around them.

On June 29th, Portland State University's Center for Public Interest Design organized an interactive planning session to inform PREPHub’s features and to help shape the way people engage with the PREPHub every day and in the event of a disaster. During this event, David Moses, lab’s project lead for the PREPHub project, interacted with the community partners and introduced the community to the design ideas behind PREPHub. The discussion focused on challenges and opportunities around community programming.

PREPHubs are designed to operate off-grid during and immediately after a disaster, providing vital services that include power, emergency communication equipment, information and emergency supplies provided by the City of Portland’s BEECN program. It will also be a place where people can charge their cell phones with power stored from the electric grid, supplemented with power generated by solar arrays and pedal-power. In non-disaster periods, PREPHubs are expected to function as interactive knowledge sharing nodes about disaster preparation and how people can become involved in preparedness.

RiskMap Japan - RiskMap platform piloted during Kumamoto emergency drill 2019

April, 2019


For the annual emergency day drill in Kumamoto, Japan Urban Risk Lab in partnership with messaging app LINE, and the city of Kumamoto piloted a novel approach of using chatbot system to manage evacuation shelters during emergency events. Specially developed for Japanese cities, the Shelter Operation Chat-bot helps shelter managers communicate with the emergency control room directly. Through its guided interface, it collects pertinent data and also updates a map interface to show the latest status of the shelter on the Emergency Management Dashboard. The dashboard is designed to reduce the information overload during a crisis, allowing disaster managers to communicate with shelter operators directly, check the latest vital stats and manage resources.

Additionally, RiskMap platform was used to test the public reporting functions to share flood and road closure information, with over 13,500 people participating in the drill across the city.

PREPhub-Nepal : Completed Paati handed over to Thecho women's cooperative

November, 2018

Urban Risk Lab - in partnership with Lumanti support group for Shelter, Nepal - completed the pilot project - PREPhub Nepal - A a community-driven design innovation of the traditional building type known as Paati. In the Kathmandu Valley, paati - small, public pavilion - represents a living example of collective management of public infrastructure with centuries-old cultural legacy. In addition to improving their role as a day to day public anchors, this project aims to create a place for people to gather after a disaster, supporting communities in these extreme events. This pilot project in the village of Thecho tackles everyday water scarcity, through storage, treatment, and community-led distribution as well as acts as an emergency back up in the times of disaster with access to water, power and emergency supplies.

PrepHub Nepal has won MIT IDEAS Global Challenge 2016, Lafarge-Holcim Foundation Acknowledgment Prize 2017 and was a finalist for UN RISK Award, 2017.

PrepHub Nepal project is supported by MIT TATA center for Technology and Design , Lafarge-Holcim Foundation and locally implemented by Lumanti Support Group for Shelter.