The Nerdy Nomad

North Pole… in Haiti?

The first week of my job basically entailed catching up on the work that has been done in the past 8 months, i.e. read, file, and process all the documents, maps, meeting minutes that pertain to the project. In my second week I started on the actual work, which entails coordinating the various stakeholders involved in planning for the development of a large greenfield site to the North of Port-au-Prince. I had a chance to head up there a few days ago and see the site for myself (see photos below).

This New York Times article sums up most of the elements of the project, and for now the rest is not in the public domain. Here are the relevent exerpts of the article:

The devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, provided an opportunity to put Mr. Stuckey’s theory into practice [Jim Stuckey is a dean of the Schack Institute of Real Estate at New York University]. Starting last fall, students at the Schack Institute began assisting on three development projects there.

The third project is a joint effort of the Schack Institute, Architecture for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity. Called the North Pole, it is the redevelopment of roughly 16,000 acres just north of the capital.

Before the earthquake struck, some 10,000 to 12,000 squatters were on the land, but after the catastrophe and the announcement that the government was redeveloping the area, people flocked to the site. There are now 50,000 squatters, said Elizabeth K. Blake, the senior vice president for government affairs, advocacy and general counsel at Habitat for Humanity International.

“If we don’t do something, don’t get some commercial developers involved, get infrastructure up and running, and have the land rights sorted out, there is going to be a slum there no matter what,” she said.”

Squatter settlement, now dubbed “Canaan”

Corail IDP (internally displaced person) camp in North Pole area

This entry was published on June 11, 2011 at 5:12 am. It’s filed under Haiti and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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