Earthquake leaves devastation in Haiti: what role does planning have?

On 12 January 2010, Haiti was struck by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake, causing widespread damage and destruction, killing tens – maybe hundreds – of thousands of people and affecting some 3 million, according to the United Nations.

This article brings together articles and multimedia that illustrate some of the planning and development implications of the Haiti earthquake.


Podcast: Will Design and Architecture Help Haiti Rise Again?

Haiti's catastrophe has killed thousands and destroyed Port-au-Prince, once a jewel in the Caribbean. We look at the architecture past, present and -- possibly -- future in Haiti's heart. Is there a design solution to the desperate need for low-cost housing in overpopulated cities? Can good design trump political mayhem? We hear from experts here and from Haiti: historian Patrick Sylvain, Architecture for Humanity's founder Cameron Sinclair, Global Green's Ted Bardacke, Alejandra Lillo, co-creator of Make It Right, and others.

Source: KCRW, 19 January 2010 <>.

Article: Haiti was 'catastrophe waiting to happen': infrastructure ‘world’s worst’

CNN article examines some of the issues contributing to the devastation caused by the Haiti earthquake, including poor building standards and lack of land use zoning.

It cites a report published by the Organization of American States: "Among the numerous factors explaining the extent of the loss of lives and goods are the absence of land use zoning and building guidelines, and comprehensive enforcement mechanisms."

The article also quotas Haiti's ambassador to the United States, Raymond Alcide Joseph, who states that "it [the earthquake] was a catastrophe waiting to happen" in a country with poor infrastructure at the best of times.

Source: CNN, Haiti was 'catastrophe waiting to happen', 12 January 2010, <>.

Article: How to fix Port-au-Prince

"Turning adversity into opportunity: How the devastation visited upon the Haitian capital may make it a much better place to live." Mark MacKinnon examines how Port-au-Prince may be rebuilt, following the devastation caused by the earthquake. 

Source: Mark MacKinnon, 'How to fix Port-au-Prince', Globe and Mail, 16 January 2010, <>.

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter

Newsletter Subscription - Banner

Urbanalyst Banner