The World's Largest Haitian Diaspora Looks On

Architect and urban designer Hector Fernando Burga looks at Haiti through the lens of a Haitian enclave in Miami and wonders what role designers can play in the devastated country's revival.
February 2, 2010, 11am PST | Nate Berg
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With more than 200,000 Haitians and Haitian Americans, the Miami metropolitan region is the largest Haitian diaspora in the world.

"The catastrophe in Haiti feels like a local experience in Miami. Soon after the news and the first images of devastation in Port-au-Prince, I visited Liberty City to meet with friends and colleagues from the field. This time, however, I didn't come as a researcher, an ally or partner asking questions. Rather I was an ordinary Miami resident struggling to comprehend the depths of calamity. I attended meetings in churches, community centers and schools, and became aware that a conversation about the prospects of reconstruction is taking shape. Community leaders are asking essential questions: Who will be the leading actors of reconstruction? Where will the funding come from? How to avoid past mistakes? How to ensure transparency, an equitable platform for reconstruction and the fair distribution of resources?

The Haitian community in Miami is in deep mourning - but it is also taking action. Haitians and Haitian Americans are framing these questions based upon their first-hand knowledge of Port-au-Prince."

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Published on Friday, January 29, 2010 in Places
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