SPUR 2022: Building Resilience in Vulnerable Older Adult Communities Facing Increased Exposure Risks to Wastewater Contamination from Flooding in Puerto Rico

Background

The objective of this study is to gather data that will aid in building resilience in vulnerable populations against contamination risks posed by flooding. The underlying hypothesis is that even in vulnerable older adult communities exposed to natural disasters and resulting contamination, community-based risk reduction efforts can significantly decrease risk and increase the resilience of such populations especially when factors such as psychosocial vulnerabilities and the built environment are taken into consideration. Specifically, as researchers we are interested in determining:

  1. What secondary/modifying psychosocial variables affect the vulnerability of older adults to risk posed by contaminant exposure.
  2. Learning how to build resilience in vulnerable communities with older adults.

Student Role

The objectives will be met through a combination of 1) research about flooding and vulnerable communities in the disaster scenario, 2) surveys and interviews to identify the socioeconomic vulnerabilities, social capital, and disaster housing risk and exposure in the impacted community related to flooding, and 3) community-based risk reduction to build resilience in the vulnerable, older adult population within the impacted community via the participation of meetings.

Student Learning Outcomes & Benefits

  1. Students gain ethical consciousness and awareness of their own worldview as they interact with diverse others and knowledge of local, global, international, and intercultural issues, the connections between them, and the multiple viewpoints around these issues.
  2. Categorizing and describing concepts relevant to the study at hand and outline a relationship between them. Students will read, discuss and analyze five articles of relevant theory and/or empirical research.
  3. Experience an expansion of their capacity to understand multiple cultural perspectives, including their own identity and values, as they collaborate with others to investigate and address issues pertaining to cultural complexities, environmental sustainability, geopolitical interdependence, inequities, and other topics with local and global implications.
  4. Students will write a post-reflection and prepare a final report and public oral presentation where they apply their understanding of interconnected world issues, diverse perspectives, and expanded awareness of self and cultural diversity to collaborate with others in addressing community needs and developing equitable and sustainable solutions.

Ivis Garcia Zambrana
Assistant Professor

City & Metropolitan Planning
College of Architecture + Planning
Global Change and Sustainability Center

We will meet every week to talk about project progress.

In addition, the student will be expected to go to the by-monthly team meetings and report on their progress.

Students will take a CITI training, a how-to conduct interviews, and surveys training. Students will also take CONVERGE Training Modules (Social Vulnerability and Disasters and Cultural Competence in Hazards).

I believe students learn by doing and interacting with professionals. Students will conduct research while engaging in a real-world program. Thye will be also asked to reflect on their community engagement.