July 5, 2011
Behind closed doors: What’s blocking the reconstruction of Port-au-Prince? — Haiti Grassroots Watch / Ayiti Kale Je

On June 10 Haiti Grassroots Watch reported on another stunning lack of cooperation and example of duplication of efforts in the reconstruction process.  Working with students from the Journalism Lab at the University of Haiti, Haiti Grassroots Watch issued a three-part expose on competing schematics for the reconstruction of Port-au-Prince:  one by the Prince Charles Foundation for the Built Environment in concert with a US firm Duany-Player-Zyberk (DPZ); one by Groupe Trame (a Petionville architecture firm), along with an associated group, the Haitian Center for Planning and Development Research (CHRAD); and yet another by Canadian firm Daniel Arbour & Associates, which has been engaged by the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation.  Port-au-Prince Mayor Muscadin Jean-Yves Jason complains of being excluded from much of the planning process, as do elites who own land and buildings in the downtown area.  Certainly, members of the tent camps have not been central to the process.

The coordination problems are structural, as UN-Habitat revealed in a 2009 concept paper entitiled  “Strategic City-Wide Spatial Planning”.

“The Haitian state and the city authorities do not have the capacity to plan and manage metropolitan Port-au-Prince. In addition to a lack of financial resources, … [the] eight municipalities share the responsibility of the city’s management with numerous central government bodies, with unclear and overlapping mandates and responsibilities, and no system for coordination.”

To read the series and see drawings of the plans click here:   

Impasse ? What’s blocking the capital’sreconstruction?http://haitigrassrootswatch.squarespace.com/7pap1eng 

Read here the companion piece about the persistent tent camp crisis in the capital city: 

While the heroes are watching http://haitigrassrootswatch.squarespace.com/7chaneng1

Haiti Grassroots Watch is a partnership of AlterPresse, the Society for the Animation of Social Communication (SAKS), the Network of Women Community Radio Broadcasters (REFRAKA) and the community radios of the Association of Haitian Community Media (AMEKA).  

Haiti Grassroots Watch is a 2011 grantee of the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation.  I traveled to Port-au-Prince in April to tour a radio station and meet with the founder and coordinator of Haiti Grassroots Watch, Jane Regan.  Just days before our visit one of the organization’s partner radio stations — Radyo Tèt Ansanm – was attacked after broadcasting election results. Read the articles (in Haitian Creole) from  SAKS or from Committee to Protect Journalists.