architect, Mary Bon

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Which innovative technologies in communication, transport, healthcare, education or construction are needed in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti?

In the aftermath of the Earthquake of two years ago, there is a need to assess priorities and evaluate a short, medium and longterm sustainable innovation strategy for a rapid economic and social development of Haiti; perhaps implementing this strategy at its devastated former civic core, that of the ruined National Palace and surrounding Champ de Mars area of the capital of Haiti, Port au Prince.

some links to consider:

  • Feb 25 2012: Education is key. Teach a man to fish!
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    Feb 21 2012: What any society needs after a disaster is bottom-up organisation for producing food, fresh water and shelter.
    Bottom-up meaning that residents of the affected area have to organise on small scale and tackle local problems one at a time.

    Being dependant on external help for more then 1 year is a sure way into long term poverty and slavery.

    For architects here is some inspirational video on building shelters / homes:

    For the impassioned, here is the part about help after a tsunami hitting Andaman Islands in 2005:
    • Feb 25 2012: Thanks for the links Simon; I agree about bottom-up but I believe also in external help for establishing efficient communication / infrastructure / transport systems in disaster areas, that way populations affected can learn fast and share knowledge effectively, understanding and assessing the importance of traditional building techniques and skills and anthropological factors of the population (traditional roles of men and women) of any land is obviously useful too before embarking on engaging with and employing innovative solutions. Sometimes a big stick marking the sand is as useful as pen and paper...
  • Feb 27 2012: After watching this, a series of movie theatres perhaps:
  • Feb 21 2012: Reply from Linked In Group London Architecture Network, Martin West •
    I did a piece of work with my interns 2 years back. It actually began as a competition for Yeli Haiti which was a brief for a music studio. During this exercise the earth quake struck and we ripped up the brief and proposed a manifesto for change. Its thought provoking in its approach. We wanted to refine the scheme to develop on the ideas that would create a more refined structure but alas my students went back to university and that moment was lost. Still there are some interesting ideas here.
  • Feb 21 2012: Reply from Linked In Group London Architecture Network, Anup Magan •

    Good day,

    In rebuilding a country whether after political or natural turmoil, the basic principles are the same. People need to be employed and housed. The culture of saving and financial responsibilty needs to be inculcated in the citizens to ensure begging bowls are substituted with cash in hand.
    Very often we find architects and urban designers ignoring the basic principles, especially when working in developing countries. We sit and brainstorm brilliant concepts and masterplans, only to later find that people on the ground wanted a simple tar road and not a four lane Autobahn.Here in South Africa many have made the mistake of developing infrastructure which does not fully serve the most pressing needs of the disadvantaged communities, which unfortunately results in unhappy people and wastage of money.
    Accurate surveys(by architects themselves) and first hand comments from the people on the ground should form the basis of creating the Haiti masterplan.
    Relying on reports and information from third parties to build up your urban regeneration design will once a again result in the building of a Formula One circuit in a country where a train station was required.
  • Feb 20 2012: Low cost housing (manufactured) and education first.