Background and Significance

In June 2022, a successful International Symposium titled “Resilience in the Built Environment” was held in Cuenca, Ecuador, as part of a memorandum of understanding signed between the University of Florida (UF) and Universidad de Cuenca (U. Cuenca). This symposium was a significant milestone. It marked the first meeting between research groups from both institutions: SHARE-Lab and FIBER at UF and Virtualtec Llacta Lab, and City Preservation Management at U. Cuenca. The symposium served as a platform for exchanging knowledge and experiences on resilience in urban environments.

In line with UF’s international mission, this project aims to strengthen global collaboration by promoting research collaboration and conference planning on resilience in urban environments. Resilience has become an essential concept in disaster risk management and sustainability science, presenting an opportunity for knowledge exchange between countries facing similar urban development challenges. These challenges include creating resilient and healthy urban environments, disaster risk reduction, environmental management, and community engagement in fostering resilience.

This proposal includes follow-up activities to strengthen international collaboration in resilience research. As the SDG of sustainable cities emphasizes, improving city resilience is crucial for creating livable, safe, and sustainable cities that promote innovation, development, and community well-being (Figure 1). To achieve this goal, we propose organizing an international workshop at UF and an international conference at U. Cuenca to explore ways to create more resilient built environments and promote sustainable cities. The events will focus on urban resilience, aligned with the targets set by the SDG of sustainable cities, especially Goal 11, Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. By taking a comprehensive approach that considers sustainable urban planning, resilient infrastructure, and social cohesion, we aim to foster global collaboration toward a more resilient future.

Aims and objectives

As a natural continuation of the Symposium in 2022, “Resilience in the Built Environment,” we are planning to organize a follow-up workshop and international conference on the topic of “Resilience in Urban Environments toward SDG Sustainable Cities.“ The primary aim is to have a research exchange regarding strategies to mitigate and adapt cities to climate change, tools and methods to deal with natural and anthropic risks, and how to respond to the problems of weak urban planning and urban sprawl. The panels at the international conference will align with each participant’s research interest from the University of Florida and the Universidad of Cuenca. This seminar will create unique spaces for unconventional encounters that spark debate, international exchanges, and networking. The meeting also aims to align the ongoing discussion of sustainability and resilience in urban areas presented by the SDG Sustainable Cities by empowering local and international practitioners, researchers, policymakers, activists, students, and volunteers in their collaborative practices.

We were awarded a grant to fund two-way travel from the USA to Ecuador by the International Center and the Center for Latin American Studies at UF. To prepare for the seminar Resilience in Urban Environments towards SDG Sustainable Cities. The Ecuadorian partners will travel to the USA to visit the University of Florida in February 2024 to participate in workshops and meet with UF researchers with similar interests and advance research projects that will be presented at the seminar the following year. The next trip will happen in July 2025, when UF researchers will visit the U. Cuenca in Ecuador and join the co-organized international conference to continuously activate the partnership established with the signed MoU between the UF and U. Cuenca.

Organizing Committee


Dr. Chimay Anumba
Alfredo Ordoñez



Dr. Karla Saldana Ochoa
Jeff Carney
Dr. Carla Brisotto
Dr. Whittaker Schroder
Christian Calle
Dr. Juan Fernando Hidalgo Cordero
Francisco Valdez Apolo
Dr. Natasha Cabrera
Dr. María Sigüencia
Dr. Daniel Orellana