Modular construction for refugee shelter as sustainable infill development in Berlin
a Workshop with students from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in collaboration with the University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin and KU Leuven.
Over the past 3 years, the number of food vendors at Broadway and 116th Street in Manhattan has increased very…
Written during a month-long stay at the Unesco Chair for Social and Spatial Inclusion of International Migrants at the IUAV…
Walking through the streets and neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince the destruction of the January, 2010 earthquake is still eerily evident. There are still tens of thousands of destroyed buildings throughout the city and many appear to have been completely untouched since they collapsed two years ago. Like most things involving rebuilding in Haiti, the process of rubble removal is complex. The costs of hauling away rubble is quite high and even for those who can pay, there is no suitable dumpsite that can absorb the amount of rubble that still needs to be removed. Additionally, owners are reluctant to allow for hauling until rebuilding plans are in place as it is difficult to secure a vacant lot in a city full of squatters where the poor are desperately seeking any space to rebuild their homes outside of the IDP camps.
Despite the challenges rubble removal does offer some opportunities, one of which is now underway in Carrefour Feuilles. Processed rubble can be used as construction material for things like retaining walls, steps, drainage channels and other infrastructure needed to improve and secure neighborhoods built on the steep topography of the Port-au-Prince hillsides. Given the high costs of hauling, it makes sense to process and sell rubble locally allowing for easier access to markets and creating jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities in the community. The rubble processing operation pictured here is located on the site of the former Haitian Red Cross building destroyed in the earthquake. The business operates under a production based payment system and while still in the nascent stages, there are plans to scale up with larger equipment expanding production to meet the growing market for construction materials driven by NGO and Haitian government investment in local reconstruction efforts.
photo:New York Times
Somehow it seems fitting that my first blog post from Port au Prince should be on the topic of Haitian migration. As luck would have it the New York Times is reporting this week on Haitians migrating to Brazil in search of opportunities in construction and other service industries. Brazil is happy to accept Haitian workers due in large part to longstanding cultural and political ties between the two countries but also because of the large unmet demand for labor in Brazil’s growing economy. As Haiti struggles to cope with the impact of the January 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of Port au Prince, Brazil offers opportunities for Haitians that their own country cannot provide. Haiti will commemorate the two year anniversary of the quake this week on January 12. Many are hopeful that as the country begins the long process of rebuilding, Haitians will soon find opportunities for work at home that they are now seeking abroad. Click here for the full text and slideshow.
Stay tuned for more original reporting in the coming weeks as I settle in to life and work in Port au Prince.