Sergio Palleroni is a professor of architecture and a fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University. In 1995 he cofounded BaSiC Initiative to support service-learning work with architecture students in underserved communities. The program has designed and built nearly 100 projects, ranging from schools and clinics to infrastructure, including cisterns and solar fields. In 2005 he received a National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and, in 2010, a Global Impact Award in Architecture.

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Two hundred million people have been affected by natural disasters and hazards in the last decade. For every person who dies, some 3,000 are left facing terrible risks. Ninety-eight percent of these victims live in the developing world, where billions of dollars in aid are absorbed annually by climatic and geologic crises. Extreme …

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