Island Community Resilience Initiative: Incorporating Lessons from Hurricane Maria into Oahu’s Resilience Strategy

As an island chain in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii shares many similarities with Puerto Rico in terms of its isolation, natural resources, economic drivers, as well as its vulnerabilities to extreme events such as Hurricane Maria.  Oahu, in particular, is similar to Puerto Rico, having a densely developed urban core and tourism hub surrounded by more isolated low-density coastal communities. Oahu - like San Juan, Puerto Rico - was also selected as a member of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network.  

Hurricane Maria and the challenges facing Puerto Rico present an opportunity to identify key lessons for Hawaii and other island communities developing resilience and disaster recovery strategies.  The Island Community Resilience Initiative is a graduate student Planning Practicum at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (DURP), which aims to identify some of those key lessons through targeted research and collaboration with 100RC partners.  Working with the Honolulu Chief Resilience Officer and the City's Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency, this project informs the development of Oahu's Resilience Strategy.  In this presentation, DURP students will summarize the findings of the Practicum and highlight key considerations to make Oahu more resilient to events such as Hurricane Maria.