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  1. null (Ed.)
    To preserve the stories of resiliency and document the infrastructure damages caused by Hurricanes Irma and María and the 2020 earthquakes in Puerto Rico, the timely collection of evidence is essential. To address this need, case studies of damages caused by the natural disasters and a repository of information aimed to keep record and centralize information regarding relevant cases that provide examples of evidence of infrastructure damages and processes worth preserving is needed. To develop said case studies and a repository, a two-prong approach was used in this study. First, the case study methodology was followed. According to Yin, a case study is “an intense study of a single unit with the purpose of a larger class of (similar) units”. Case studies are used in academia for both research and teaching purposes. Our research team advocates for the use of case studies as tools to inform both learning and decision-making. Secondly, the repository model was developed. This paper presents the results of the development of the repository and includes sample case studies. The repository allows students, academics, researchers, and other stakeholders to understand the impact of extreme environmental conditions on the built environment. Faculty can use the repository in their courses to teach Architecture, Engineering and Construction students topics related to resiliency and sustainability in the build environment. Each case study developed and deposited in the repository, answers to research questions regarding what, how and when the damages happened, who were the stakeholders involved in the processes, what were their actions, and what are the lessons learned. The case studies have the potential of becoming responses to hypotheses for those mining the repository. The paper contributes to the body of knowledge by presenting the results of the development of case studies and a database that can be used for both research and teaching purposes. These can be replicated in the US and other countries, in need of recording and systematizing information after natural events. 
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  2. The devastation caused by recent natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes, has increased awareness regarding the importance of providing interdisciplinary solutions to complex infrastructure challenges. In October 2018, the University of Puerto Rico received a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) collaborative award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop an integrated curriculum on resilient and sustainable infrastructure. The project titled “Resilient Infrastructure and Sustainability Education – Undergraduate Program (RISE-UP) aims to educate future environmental designers and engineers to design and build a more resilient and sustainable infrastructure for Puerto Rico. This paper presents the design, initial implementation, and assessment of a curriculum encompassing synergistic interactions among these four domains: integrated project delivery, user-centered design, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and sustainability and resiliency. The project seeks to foster interdisciplinary problem-solving skills involving architects, engineers and construction managers, in order to better prepare them to face and provide solutions to minimize the impact of extreme natural environment events on infrastructure. The new curriculum stresses on problem-settings, the role that participants have on defining the characteristics of the problems that have to be solved, learning in action, reflecting on the process, and communication between the different stakeholders. This multisite and interdisciplinary program provides students with the necessary support, knowledge, and skills necessary to design and build resilient and sustainable infrastructure. This instructional endeavor consists of four courses designed to reduce gradually the difference between what students are able to accomplish with support structures and what students are able to accomplish on their own. To maximize and enhance the educational experience, the program blends a technology-infused classroom learning with broad co-curricular opportunities such as site visits, undergraduate research, and internships. As students advance in the program, they will be exposed and required to perform increasingly complex tasks. During the first year of the program, the following outcomes were achieved: 1) implementation of the faculty teamwork process to develop courses and analyze cases from an interdisciplinary perspective, 2) development and approval of an interdisciplinary curriculum on resilient and sustainable infrastructure, 3) development of case studies on situations associated with disaster and interdisciplinary responses, 4) development of a case study database, 5) establishment of an Advisory Board with government agency representatives and faculty, and 6) recruitment and enrollment of 30 students as the first RISE-UP cohort. In summary, the body of knowledge acquired from this project can serve as a model that can be replicated to develop and enhance academic programs at other institutions. 
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  3. After a natural disaster, multiple disciplines need to come together to rebuild the damaged infrastructure using new paradigms. For instance, urgent restoration of services demand to abridge the projects’ schedule and provide innovative solutions, thus making collaboration and integration essential for the project’s success. Commonly, the academic preparation of scholars on infrastructure-related disciplines takes place in isolated professional domains, rarely tackling interdisciplinary problems and/or learn from the systematic research of previous experiences. In Puerto Rico, the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria has heightened awareness regarding the education on infrastructure-related disciplines to provide transdisciplinary solutions to pertinent complex challenges. This taxing context compels the academia to train a new cadre of professionals properly prepared in those STEM disciplines. Further, current public awareness of the vulnerability of the existing infrastructure creates an opportunity to recruit and prepare students to become those much-needed professionals. The present work offers the conceptual framework of a collaborative effort among Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) to develop an interdisciplinary program in resilient and sustainable infrastructure. The framework includes the development of transformational pedagogic interventions and changes that will challenge the disciplinary splits among AEC. The framework targets values and skills for inter and transdisciplinary problem solving, as well as helps smooth the transition from academic education to professional practice. To implement the initiative, the project created a collaborative platform among three campuses of the University of Puerto Rico System. Each of these campuses offers a different educational component relevant to the enriching educational initiative. We expect this approach to create a new breed of professionals ready to face the challenges posed for the development of robust infrastructure. The strategy fosters readiness in environmental design in engineering and construction through evidence-based design and inter/transdisciplinary problem solving. Thus, this research contributes to the body of knowledge by presenting a collaborative effort to train future professionals to design and build a robust infrastructure that can overcome the impact of major natural catastrophes. 
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