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Recovery and Resilience

Thu, Oct 27, 2022    2pm

Recovery and Resilience: Lessons in housing and community-led adaptation from San Juan to New York City


This event invites students, faculty and affiliates to join us for round table reflections from the field and practice on housing, recovery, climate resilience and community-led strategies. This round table will be moderated by Hugo Sarmiento, assistant professor in urban planning at GSAPP, and Elizabeth Alvarez, doctoral student in urban planning at GSAPP. It features University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras faculty members Lyvia Rodriguez and Raul Santiago in conversation with Victoria Sanders from the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, Dariella Rodriguez from the THE POINT Community Development Corporation, GSAPP Adjunct Assistant Professor Deborah Helaine Morris, and Paul Gallay from Columbia Climate School’s Center for Sustainable Urban Development.


We welcome our speakers and thank them for facilitating the timely discussion.

  • Lyvia Rodriguez has served as the executive director of the ENLACE Project, a community-led initiative to restore Caño Martín Peña, a polluted channel of water in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and respect the dignity and rights of the people who live nearby.

  • Raúl Santiago-Bartolomei is Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Planning of the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras and a Research Fellow at CNE. He has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Development from the University of Southern California (USC). His research interests lie in the intersection between institutional change, social networks, and economic development, and how these relate to urban change.

  • Dariella Rodriguez is Director of Community Development at The Point, a Community Development Corporation dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. Celebrating over 20 years of service, THE POINT offers a multi-faceted approach to asset-based community development.

  • Victoria Sanders is the Research Analyst at the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA). Founded in 1991, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) is a non-profit, 501©3 citywide membership network linking grassroots organizations from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color in their struggle for environmental justice. NYC-EJA empowers its member organizations to advocate for improved environmental conditions and against inequitable environmental burdens by the coordination of campaigns designed to inform City and State policies.

  • Paul Gallay is an attorney and educator, who has worked to promote the sustainability of human and natural communities since 1987, when he left the private practice of law and joined the New York State Attorney General’s environmental protection bureau. Before joining the Earth Institute in 2018, his trajectory includes serving New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as being part of the land conservation movement for a decade before serving as president of Riverkeeper, New York’s Clean Water Advocate, from July 2010 to June 2021.

  • Deborah Helaine Morris is an urban planner, urban designer, and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia GSAPP. Her work centers at the nexus of climate adaptation and social equity: more specifically, on how cities manage housing opportunity in geographies facing substantial physical risk. She advises communities and non-profits in how to incorporate climate risk and resiliency initiatives into community development and revitalization plans. Deborah has extensive experience in public administration, disaster recovery initiatives spanning from 9/11 through COVID-19, and the facilitation of climate change adaptation in affordable housing. In her recent practice in public service, as the Executive Director of Resiliency Policy, Planning, and Acquisitions at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Deborah created a new team, focused on the development of programs to lead aggressive climate change adaption in affordable housing including the recovery of housing damaged by Hurricane Sandy; climate-risk focused community planning initiatives; and the management of a property buyout program.


The roundtable is sponsored by the Center For Sustainable Urban Development, the Environmental Justice and Climate Just Cities Network, the Coastal Resilience Network and the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) at Columbia University.


For information regarding directions and accessibility, please visit The Forum website.