Documenting the Spatial Practices of Global Migration

Removing Rubble

Category : FIELD TRIP, SPACES 01/21/2012

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.


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