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Haiti. Remembering Port au Prince

Jan 14th 2010
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On April 2007 I traveled to Haiti like a consultant for a project of renewal of the Jacmel old town, located to the South of the capital Port-au-Prince. Before the earthcaque of 2010 catastrophes are still happening in that country, worried about the friends that I have left there and by its future, I want to rescue the images and the text that it published in 2008. Thinking about the deep inequality which I knew and the big efforts of which they fought by its improvement.

Port-au-Prince over the years has become rather disorderly in its urban planning, dominated by informal settlements and a ring of districts that radiate out from the political Downtown. Approximately 1,3million people living in the capital, and 3.5 millions in the metropolitan area. Nearly 80% of city dwellers live below the poverty line and the majority of residents are unemployed or underemployed. An estimated 40-85% of the metropolitan residents live in slum and squatter settlements with poor housing conditions, lack of basic infrastructure and services, poor sanitation and unclear tenure status. Many of the city’s inhabitants live in densely populated slums such as La Saline, Bel-Air, Martissant, Cité Soleil and there is a rapid informal settlements expansion in the peri-urban areas and around other middle class suburbs such as Pétionville, Delmas and Carrefour.

The unplanned urbanization experiencing of the metropolitan region is further stretched by poor urban governance, lack of capacity building, absence of land record, and inefficient land administration. Furthermore, the city suffers from severe environmental problems (sanitation, sewage, natural and human-induced disasters such as fires and hurricanes), economic under-performance, security and safety, poor infrastructure and services and socio-political instability.

Travelling along the main city roads the landscape is viewed as a  fragmented urban layout composed by unfinished constructions placed in between hills, where people walk exchanging their mercancies all around. In the middle class suburbs there are not public activities in the streets, the expensive city life with their exclusive restaurants, hotels, shops, buildings and houses are built up closed by high walls. Denying the coexistence and constructing a sheltered individualistic city in the fear to the violence.


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Haiti. Remembering Port au Prince

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