TS Abstract and Bamboo Production in Haiti

 

Technical Studies
Bamboo Based Building Systems for Port au Prince

Chapter 1: Project Overview
1.1 Project Abstract (Picture of Haiti and Dominican Rep Border)
At the local time of 16:53 on 12th January 2010 an earthquake of 7.0 hit one of the most densely populated suburbs of Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake. 250,000 residences, 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed, a million people homeless and 316,000 people dead. One month later an earthquake 500 times more powerful, hit central Chile resulting in the deaths of 525. Haiti was a disaster of working practices in engineering and construction, not nature.

Introducing any new practice of working is difficult in any field. In a proud culture such as Haiti preaching a new form of building to the construction sector is riddled with problems. Low skills, lack of equipment and illiteracy, not to mention theft from a project, whether political corruption or material theft on site, all cause an environment not in a position to implement quality output which is all the more dangerous in Haiti, a site of huge seismic and natural threat. Materials in this location are defined by skill and natural resources. A lack of timber due to deforestation has resulted in concrete becoming the 21st Century vernacular and as a result any skills associated with construction have been aligned to work with concrete.

1.2 Deforestation (Spiral Diagram Deforestation)
Deforestation in Haiti is a severe environmental problem. In 1923, over 60% of Haiti’s land was forested; by 2006, less than 2% was.
In 1804, Haiti won its independence from France after the world’s only successful slave revolution. For Haiti to be recognised as an independent state, and to allow Haiti to trade, France demanded a payment of 90 million gold francs (equivalent to US $21.7 billion today) to repay its lost property which included the freed slaves, land, raw materials, coffee and sugar. Haiti’s trees were felled and exported to France, in order to service the debt.
Deforestation sped up after Hurricane Hazel downed trees throughout the island in 1954. Beginning in about 1954, concessionaires stepped up their logging operations, in response to Port-au-Prince’s intensified demand for charcoal, thus accelerating deforestation, which had already become a problem because of environmentally unsound agricultural practices, rapid population growth, and increased competition over scarce land. Rather than using techniques which could make forestry more productive for fuel, like coppicing and pollarding, the lack of title on much land results in charcoal burners digging up and using tree root structures. There is also a less discussed problem with feral goats which overgraze and eat seedlings that might otherwise replace ground cover.
The most direct effect of deforestation is soil erosion. An estimated 15,000 acres (61 km2) of topsoil are washed away each year, with erosion also damaging other productive infrastructure such as dams, irrigation systems, roads, and coastal marine ecosystems. Soil erosion also lowers the productivity of the land, worsens droughts, and eventually leads to desertification, all of which increase the pressure on the remaining land and trees.
Most of Haiti’s governments paid only lip service to the imperative of reforestation. As was the case in other areas of Haitian life, the main impetus to act came from abroad. USAID’s Agroforestry Outreach Program, Projè Pyebwa, was the country’s major reforestation program in the 1980s. Peasants planted more than 25 million trees under Projè Pyebwa, but as many as seven trees were cut for each new tree planted. Later efforts to save Haiti’s trees focused on intensifying reforestation programs, reducing waste in charcoal production, introducing more wood-efficient stoves, and importing wood under USAID’s Food for Peace program. Because most Haitians still depend on wood and charcoal as their primary fuel source, energy alternatives are needed to save the forests. The 15-year Environment Action Plan, authorized in 1999, proposed to stop deforestation by developing alternative fuel sources. Political instability and lack of funding have limited the impact of this reform effort. However, various grassroots projects have begun planting thousands of trees in an effort to combat deforestation and to reforest the country.

1.3 Concrete and cement as materials of choice (Picture Building with Concrete)
The world vernacular construction method of concrete block and cement has proliferated the construction industry in Haiti. The vast majority of buildings in Port au Prince are made from this mixture of cinder blocks and cements and this has given the city a white appearance replacing the once green landscape.
The cost of these materials in very cheap at 15 gourdes per small brick which equates to 30 pence per brick.

1.4 Current material sources and infrastructure (Infrastructure Map and Picture of Port au Prince from the Hillside)
The high cost of importing goods has also forced the Haitian population to source all construction materials locally. As a result an organised system has emerged where a mountain side in Boutilliers, 2km south of Port au Prince has become the primary source of limestone used as an aggregate and foreign companies have built a chain of cement factories encircling the capital city. Both materials have given the city a new vernacular.

1.5 Lack of Education in the Haitian construction industry (Construction Education in Haiti diagram)
Haiti is a country with a distinct lack of architectural input in the construction industry. The lack of formal education is also a major part of the reason why the

1.6 Haitian Earthquake (Pictures of disaster and diagram showing ratio of fatalities to density to magnitude for other earthquakes in 2010)

Chapter 2: Bamboo
2.1 Historical Significance
Bamboo was first used
2.2 Bamboo as Construction Material
2.3 Bamboo in Haiti
Outside port au Prince in an area called Kenscoff a reforestation program has been ongoing since

Chapter 3: Site Visit (Video)
3.1 Deforestation explanation

3.2 Brick manufacturer Delmas 75
3.3 Brick manufacturer Delmas 91
3.4 Cement distributer visit Delmas 41
3.5 Construction site visit Delmas 75
3.6 Wood sourcing Delmas 75
3.7 Kenscoff and Bamboo
Chapter 4: Structural Strategy
4.1 Case Study: Hong Kong Scaffolding
4.2 Case Study: New Chinese Bamboo Architecture

Chapter 5: Occupational Strategy

Chapter 6: Educational Strategy
Case Study: Indonesia Bamboo Schooling in Architectural Schools

Chapter 7: Material Infrastructural Strategy

Chapter 8: Construction Strategy

 

 

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