How Should Port-au-Prince be Rebuilt?

With Haiti's capital city in ruins, and emergency response still underway, rebuilding efforts are a ways off. But the rebuilding following recent disasters may provide guidance, writes Mark MacKinnon.
January 18, 2010, 1pm PST | Michael Dudley
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The task ahead seems almost impossible:

"With as many as 45,000 people believed to be dead, it's hard to imagine that eventually life will return to something approaching normal in Port-au-Prince...But history tells us that Port-au-Prince will rebuild and recover, at least to its previous state...Simply rebuilding Haiti is one thing, reconstructing Haitian communities is another....People who have lost their homes and livelihoods usually welcome outside help. But they don't want to be cut out when their community is being reconstructed. In the end, Haitians must decide what they want the rebuilt Port-au-Prince to look like."

MacKinnon suggests that China's experience rebuilding Sichuan, as well as the Indonesian efforts following the tsunami show how, with locally-appropriate planning that avoids "cookie-cutter solutions," disasters can result in improved living conditions.

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Published on Saturday, January 16, 2010 in Globe and Mail
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