San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, once enjoyed a thriving economy, buttressed by low-cost labor and government investment. But the withdrawal of tax incentives in the mid-1990s led to a significant decrease in foreign investment. The problem was compounded by the financial crisis in 2008, and the city has struggled to maintain adequate funding for infrastructure and services. In areas such as public transportation, which does have reliable infrastructure, they are taking steps to improve the system’s efficiency and effectiveness.

San Juan has made progress developing plans to respond to natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, and tsunamis, but strained economic resources must be marshalled to support both prevention and response strategies. The mayor has also made social and community engagement a cornerstone of her strategy, helping to incorporate the voices of marginalized communities into San Juan’s planning.

SHOCKS AND STRESSES
  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Coastal / Tidal Flooding
  • Declining Population / Human Capital Flight
  • Disease Outbreak
  • Earthquake
  • Hurricane / Typhoon / Cyclone
  • Infrastructure Failure
  • Rainfall Flooding

Meet The Chief Resilience Officer

Alejandra Castrodad Rodriguez has an interdisciplinary background crossing through environmental sciences, economics and public policy, with over 15 yearsÍ experience supporting research in academia, consulting and public policy. She is currently the City of San JuanÍs Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), under the CityÍs partnership with the 100 Resilient Cities Network, pioneered by Rockefeller Foundation.

Since 2013 Alejandra has worked with local governments and communities in Puerto Rico developing strategies to strengthen local economies and institutions, improve access to critical services for vulnerable populations, and support community empowerment. At the Office of the Special Commissioner for Vieques and Culebra she was in charge of interagency collaborations, including the Vieques Sustainability Task Force (PresidentÍs Task Force on Puerto Rico) seeking to advance sustainable economic development and Superfund remediation on the island-municipality. Alejandra also led Vieques and CulebraÍs Rural Promise Zone proposal, a finalist during the second round of designations.

Seconded from the Office of the Governor, Alejandra led the multi-sectoral team for Puerto RicoÍs National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) application. The proposal focused on increasing access to the knowledge, tools and resources needed to implement autonomous adaptive strategies for individuals, institutions and communities in the CaÐo MartÕn PeÐa and Cantera Peninsula.

AlejandraÍs past research focused on uneven economic development, socioeconomic inequality and institutional change. She worked on topics ranging from public space design in transport (MIT) to best practices for psychosocial services delivery (GovernorÍs Office). Whilst at the LSE, Alejandra was a Guest Lecturer and Analyst at several departments and research centers and an LED Consultant for the Danish International Development AgencyÍs (DANIDA) Local Economic Development in the Balkans Program.

Snapshot of San Juan

  • 395,330

    population as of 2010

Stories about San Juan

Around the World

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  • Coastal / Tidal Flooding
  • Declining Population / Human Capital Flight
  • Disease Outbreak
  • Earthquake
  • Hurricane / Typhoon / Cyclone
  • Infrastructure Failure
  • Rainfall Flooding

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