1 A SAFER SITE: SITE FORTIFICATION STRATEGIES
Climate change adaptation presents many opportunities to approach building and living in Puerto Rico more holistically; we need to lighten the load on existing power and water infrastructure systems, better integrate what is built with surrounding ecosystems, use resources and manage waste more sustainably, and provide better support for vulnerable populations. Addressing regional risks in this light broadens the options for fortifying your site against disaster. Adaptation also requires new collaborations, and case studies of projects and partnerships throughout the islands are included here for reference and inspiration.
Especially for islands in the Caribbean, geographical isolation compounds water and food security issues. Managing water—whether related to precipitation, flooding, stormwater runoff, storm surge, coastal erosion or subsidence—is the first step toward protecting your home from damage. Combining green and gray infrastructure features is an effective way to do this. Beyond your site, resilient infrastructure recharges aquifers, prevents subsidence, reduces vulnerability of the landscape and agricultural lands to drought, and reduces ambient temperatures.
While green infrastructure refers to projects that draw from nature to achieve desired results, gray infrastructure utilizes man-made, constructed infrastructure like pipes, sewers and sewage treatment works, ditches, dikes, and dams to manage risks of flooding.
This section presents a series of strategies that integrate green and gray infrastructure, including how to reinforce your site through appropriate hardscape and plantings, choose and plant vegetation that is suited to climate variability, and cultivate your own source of food and medicine through an edible garden.