According to the authors of this report, written in September 2010, the physical reconstruction of Haiti through the construction of new human settlements cannot wait any longer. Now is the time to rebuild, beginning with schools, health clinics and hospitals (always addressing the public sphere before the private sphere); to repair and reopen buildings with structural damage; to “knock down” certain elements of the country’s infrastructure damaged beyond repair, selected by experts; and to reuse the rubble that has built up in the streets, as a large part of the population cannot afford raw materials, especially after the earthquake. Today, as in previous decades, conditions in Haiti are not conducive to recommending the construction of “adequate housing” using development cooperation funds. Not only is such a recommendation impossible to carry out, but it would also have a paralysing effect on the population, and without the participation of Haitians, there can be no development.
This report proposes housing solutions that involve tens of thousands of Haitians (female heads of households in particular) participating in self-build processes. There are no magical formulas, but there is an international consensus that these projects are more successful when they factor in the fact that poverty is heterogeneous and participatory and involves multiple sectors. We must keep in mind the conclusions drawn at the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I; Vancouver, 1976), which warned of the impossibility of alleviating huge deficits through conventional policies based on “adequate housing for all,” as well as Habitat II’s significant, more recent contributions (Istanbul, 1996), based on an enabling strategy and progressive habitat policies.
The report aims to call attention to the value of a basic habitability proposal for those without shelter as a feasible, realistic alternative to the different proposals offered by cooperation programmes and a way of addressing the lack of concrete solutions in the Action Plan for the National Recovery and Development of Haiti (March 2010).
Spanish edition available
1. Basic habitability in Haiti before the earthquake of 12 January 2010
2. The impact of the earthquake on Haiti’s population and infrastructure
3. Proposals from the Institute for Cooperation in Basic Habitability immediately following the emergency
4. The Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti
5. Basic habitability as a feasible proposal
6. Final thoughts