Resilient Communities
In-between Disasters

Venue: Cedar Key, UF IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station.


(1) Teaching about community resilience through a hands-on exercise, (2) Performing a research walk to learn about field research, (3) Understanding how to use space and the built environment to elicit narratives of place.

Target Audience

This workshop is aimed at DCP and UF students interested in community resilience practices of disaster adaptation.

*There is no requirement to participate.

During the Workshop, we will use a mobile app to collect data around Cedar Key. Please find attached the instructions for downloading the app and how to use it. Get familiar with that before tomorrow, but please do not submit data yet.

09h15 – 10h30


Welcome and context-setting for the workshop.

Lecture on the forensics of urban climate adaptation.

Presenting the app for field data collection (explain how it works, we can send instructions a few days before the workshop to the signed participants).

10h30 – 11h45

Learning by walking

Scenario walk with students organized along three or four stops.

Students will collect observational evidence of risk exposure and adaptation strategies applied to the built environment. Data will be collected using ArcGIS Fieldmaps.


11h45 – 12h00

Conclusion and Q&A

Visualizing the results of the exercise.

Reflecting on the connection between spaces and memories.

Reflecting on the role of communities in shaping their environment.

Adaptation and Transformation: Community-Led Stories of Positive Change


Venue: Cedar Key, UF IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station.


(1) Introduce new perspectives and techniques for introducing positive change to communities, (2) Discuss examples of community-based activities towards turning risk and vulnerable situations into opportunities for transformation, (3) Promote a short “charette” aimed at dealing with climate change challenges through transformative design and visualization.

Target Audience

This workshop is aimed at students interested in documenting and preserving cultural heritage through environmental change and disasters. 

* Recommended software for the workshop: Photoshop 2024 and Midjourney

12h30 – 13h30


Welcome and context-setting for the workshop.

Lecture on Envisioning Future Adaptation in Communities

13h30 – 14h30

Scenario Planning

The morning workshops will center around three or four scenarios according to the input of the UF and U Cuenca communities. These same scenarios can be used to start a discussion on scenario planning.

The participants will be invited to describe the possible ways to conduct community envisioning (agent-based modeling, co-design, etc.)

We will create a workshop to promote a thought experiment about tackling climate change with positive approaches.

14h30 – 15h00

Conclusion and Q&A

We will show the workshop results as possible options to promote the perspective change.

Open forum for participant questions, insights, and feedback.

feb. 22

Changjie Chen, Ph.D. (USA)

Changjie Chen is an urban planner, statistician, as well as an open-source enthusiast. His scholarly endeavors are centered on spatial decision analysis aimed at enhancing the sustainability of urban built environments and bolstering community resilience. The core of his work involves modeling and analyzing integrated systems of land use and transportation, which is achieved through utilizing an agglomeration of technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, spatial econometrics, machine learning, and high-performance computing. A fervent advocate for the Open Science movement, Dr. Chen contributes to the community through actively developing and managing two open-source Python packages dedicated to GIS-based land use modeling. His most recent research aims to advance urban planning by employing leading-edge geospatial analytics and web-based 3D graphics technologies to create urban digital twins, offering a dynamic platform to visualize real-world conditions and explore alternative future scenarios. Dr. Chen’s research has garnered substantial support, including funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and various Florida state government agencies, such as Department of Environment Protection and Department of Transportation. 

Sheyla Santana, Ph.D. (USA)

Sheyla Santana is an urban planner with a background in GIS. Sheyla holds a PhD in Architecture, Urban Planning, and GIS from UFMG. Her research focuses on vulnerability assessment, community-focused planning, citizen science, digital twin, and visioning scenarios to support adaptation to urban spaces. Sheyla applies geodesign techniques to engage stakeholders in collaboratively designing solutions for spatial challenges in built and natural environments. Sheyla is interested in studying the interaction of humans, environment, and infrastructure in the urban context, aiming to leverage their dynamic to foster sustainability and resilience. Currently, she is working on a project for post-disaster recovery/long-term adaptation design and a planning project assisting Lee County following Hurricane Ian.

Jeff Carney (USA)

Jeff Carney is a registered architect and certified city planner working at the interface of housing, neighborhoods, and ecosystems with a focus on climate change adaptation. He is associate professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Florida, director of the Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER), and director of the Florida Resilient Cities program (FRC). Jeff’s work in Florida is focused on the resilience of communities achieved through transdisciplinary and community engaged design processes. Jeff has a B.A in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and his Masters in both Architecture and City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Juan Fernando Hidalgo Cordero (EC)

Juan Fernando Hidalgo is a member of the Virtualtech research group at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Cuenca. He is an Architect (University of Cuenca), Master in Eco-Sustainable Architecture (University of Bologna), and PhD in Technological Innovation in Building Technology (Polytechnic University of Madrid-Cum Laude). His main research lines are the use of non-wood forest products in construction, innovation in construction systems, and materials science. He has participated as guest professor at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, University of Yale, UMPRUM in Prague, UTM in Manabí. Currently he is a professor of construction technology at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Cuenca. 

Francisco Valdez (EC)

Francisco is an architect serving as an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Cuenca, Ecuador, and the director of the Master’s program in BIM Project Management. He obtained his master’s degree from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Combining academia with his professional practice, he has worked on and led various projects in both the public and private sectors in Ecuador and Spain. His expertise focuses on BIM consulting, design, and construction. His research explores synergies between physical architecture and digital architecture. 

Christian Calle Figueroa (EC)

Christian Calle Figueroa is an urban designer and assistant scholar at the University of Florida, Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience FIBER. He graduated as an architect from the University of Cuenca, Ecuador, and obtained a Master in Advanced Studies in Urban Design and a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Spatial Planning at ETH Zurich. Over the past decade, Christian has been engaged in urban studies and projects globally, addressing diverse urban challenges. His work has spanned from the re-urbanization of favelas in Brazil to developing housing projects in Ecuador and designing master plans in Switzerland and Germany. 

In recent years, Christian’s focus has shifted towards climate-resilient projects, particularly vulnerability assessment plans for coastal communities in Florida. In his practice, Christian has a profound interest in studying the relationship between human behavior and spatial configuration and how it influences public life in neighborhoods and collective housing. 

Whittaker Schroder, Ph.D. (USA)

Whit Schroder is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida (UF) and an affiliate faculty member with the Center for Latin American Studies and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies program. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019, joining the University of Florida as a postdoctoral Associate with the Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience before becoming an Assistant Professor in 2023. Whit is an anthropological archaeologist interested in how communities shape their landscapes to address socioenvironmental crises. His work has involved the use of airborne remote sensing using lidar and multispectral satellite imagery to map archaeological landscapes and to track land cover change. Whit currently directs the Proyecto Arqueológico Bajo Lacantún (Lower Lacantún Archaeological Project) in Chiapas, Mexico to investigate the political ecology and resilience of Maya communities and political centers beginning at least 1,500 years ago in the fluvial environment of the Lacantún and Upper Usumacinta Rivers.

María Eugenia Sigüencia, Ph.D. (EC)

Dr. María (Mary) is an architect working as an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Cuenca, Ecuador. She obtained her Master’s in Conservation of Monuments and Sites(2014) and her PhD (2018) at KULeuven, Belgium. Since 2012, she has been part of the CityPreservation Management-CPM research group at the University of Cuenca. She is actively engaged in the comprehensive management of cities, with a particular focus on preserving and revitalizing historical centers within their urban settings to promote sustainable development. Currently, she is also actively involved in initiatives such as OurWorldHeritage, Go-HUL, the CIPAEmerging-Professionals group, and part of the Interim National Committee of ICOMOSEcuador.

Carla Brisotto, Ph.D. (USA)

Is an urban theorist and urban storyteller with a background in architecture. Carl serves as the Assistant Director of the Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER)and Assistant Scholar at the School of Architecture at the University of Florida (UF). Brisotto holds a Ph.D. in Design, Construction, and Planning from UF and a Professional Architecture degree from the University IUAV of Venice. At the core of Carla’s research lies the intersection of urbanism and environmental narratives. Her research focuses on productive landscapes and climate change’s asymmetric impacts on population and their places through contemporary and historical lenses. Carla employs storytelling as a research method and works closely with communities within the Florida Resilient Cities Lab to understand the dynamics of spontaneous urban transformation. Currently, Carla is leading the international project “ReclaiMEDLand” funded by the Department of State of the United States of America, APS–Annual Program Statement 2023.

Daniel Orella, Ph.D. (EC)

Principal Professor in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Cuenca, Ecuador, Daniel is a researcher in geoinformation Sciences interested in understanding the interactions among human societies and the environment from a multidisciplinary approach. Has experience in theory and methods on GIS and spatial analysis applied to people-environment interactions. His research focuses on urban sustainability analysis, mobility, and public spaces. Prof. Orellana is co-founder and director of LlactaLAB Sustainable Cities and former director of the Interdisciplinary Department of Space and Population at the University of Cuenca and currently is the head of GraduateStudies. Formerly, was the coordinator of Human Systems Research at the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands. He has a Ph.D. in Geoinformation from WageningenUniversity, an MSc in Geographic Information Systems from the Technical University of Catalunya, and a BSc in Environmental Biology from the University of Azuay.

Karla Saldana Ochoa, Ph.D. (EC)

Karla is an Ecuadorian architect; with a Master of Advanced Studies in Landscape Architecture from ETH Zurich. In June 2021, she finished her Ph.D. at ETH Zurich, which investigated the integration of Artificial and Human Intelligence to have a precise and agile response to natural disasters. Since August 2021, Karla has been an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Florida; her teaching and research focus on investigating the interplay of Artificial and Human Intelligence in architectural practices on building and urban scale. Karla is the leading researcher at SHARE Lab; a research group focused on developing human-centered AI projects focused on design practices.