UCF, Orlando launch ‘resilience hub’ for underserved communities

ORLANDO, Fla. — The University of Central Florida and City of Orlando are working together to co-design an equity-centered, portable resilience hub.


“Not everyone can afford a backup generator or afford to stock up food for a hurricane,” Michael Hess, the Director for the Sustainability, Resilience, and Future Ready initiative for the City of Orlando, said.

Also known as the REACH Hub, it will provide a haven in case of severe weather and serve as an education center for underserved people in Central Florida.

“[It’s] a place to charge devices in the event of a power outage,” Kelly Stevens, the project leader through UCF, said.

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“It will also have a freezer and refrigerator to deliver cold water and ice to the community. We’ll have satellite and Wi-Fi connection. We’ll also have a place to cool off.”

The hub design was inspired by the Tiny Green House at the Orlando Science Center.

“It will be primarily powered through clean solar energy with a solar array on top and a battery backup,” Stevens said.

When the hub is not being used for emergencies, it will be used as an education space.

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“We want to educate on resilience programs... like free trees or some of our local food initiatives to help people be more resilient on their own,” Hess said.

UCF was awarded more than $1 million in grants through the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy to bring this hub to life.

The REACH Hub is only in the design and construction phase. Planners hope to have it up and running by the end of the year.

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