Port au Prince Forest City: Project Abstract

 

This project aims to use reforestation in Haiti, as the basis to create a new skilled labour sector, based on the preservation, cultivation and export of timber.

The objective is to bring together these industries in a city design for Haiti which cultivates studies and exports timber sustainably. Education in the timber industry will be central to this city and aims to generate new skills and respect for the use and value of timber, so much so that such a scheme can be easily replicated elsewhere in the country. As the Island of Hispaniola, on which Haiti occupies the western third, lies on a major fault line

By building a sustainable city showing the profitability of sustainable timber production, the skills associated with this will disseminate through the Haitian economy and act as a primer to national re-plantation, and redevelopment.

The past century saw the eradication of all but 2% of Haiti’s forests. This stopped Haitian self-dependence of fuel source at the same time creating a landscape devoid of topsoil limiting agriculture and destabilising the earth2. As the value of this timber is in export I am taking advantage of the strategic location of Haiti at the crossroads of the Caribbean shipping route2. A consequence of replantation is increasing the absorbency and stability of the land. Therefore to maximise solutions I am locating the project North of Port au Prince on land slowly being washed into the Caribbean. This area is also bounded by areas with the most social problems and joblessness, in an attempt to embody as many solutions into the project as well these areas will provide initial sources of labour.

The project is the initial step as a blueprint to find ways to regenerate local economies as well as improving local ecologies in a sustainable way. Ecology and export are designed to employ and educate.

The project begins with looking at urban typologies where a forestry industry in the primer. A system of vocational education is then input into these typologies and this provides the basis of the new Port au Prince Forest City. The design of this new city is also provides the breeding ground to develop wooden seismic architecture. In the same way vernacular Haitian architecture used wood to protect against earthquakes, here this city can provide the breeding ground for the material and the skills to regenerate a contemporary seismic vernacular wooden architecture.

 

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