Day 1 – New York – Santo Domingo

 


Day 1 – 24th December 2012 – New York

For the past three months I have been researching a project which suggests a new approach to reforestation on the impoverished island of Haiti. The plan being that architecture and a demand for timber from the construction industry would be the best way to create a profitable and sustainable supply of wood, therefore creating plantations. Even with three months of intensive research into the island of Haiti, I still feel naïve. My first exposure to Haiti properly was dancing the night away in a sweat laden, smoke filled club where the Haitian DJ between songs would tell us the plight of his country, the need for money, the need for the international community to come to Haiti’s aid and rebuild the country following the devastating earthquake three weeks prior. Fast forward two years and attending a lecture in London I am confronted once again with the questions of how do you rebuild Haiti? Two years and the same questions, the same needs. It was fascinating that Haiti’s need was one of design. Simply rebuilding the existing would be like rebuilding the World Trade Centre without learning the structural failures that caused them to collapse on 9/11. Rebuilding Haiti in her sad concrete block vernacular would simply ask nature to kill more citizens in a future earthquake. It is easy for the world to forget about a place like Haiti. If we aren’t shown it we will never look. Today is Christmas Eve and I do not have to look far. It is still dark outside at JFK airport in New York. It has been cold and dark for every one of the uncomfortable hours sitting in Terminal Three waiting for my flight to Santo Domingo. However one my way to the gate I pass the New York Times early edition, which if nothing more important happens today like a celebrity divorce, the front page on Christmas Eve is Haiti! I cannot believe it, a front page of image and text which spills over into 2 more full spreads of diagrams and questions. Questions which were asked before the quake and questions which are still being asked now. $7.5 billion has been spent in Haiti following the earthquake. Divided by a population of 10 million its almost 2 years per capita GDP. $750 dollars for every citizen. Adjusted for economy it’s the same as the UK receiving $4 trillion and the USA receiving $20 trillion in aid.

 

 

 

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