Haiti reconstruction will require local input

January 26, 2010

Montreal, January 26, 2010 - Destruction in Haiti, the result of a January 12 earthquake, is staggering. The majority of the capital city of Port-au-Prince will have to be rebuilt from scratch. Isabelle Thomas-Maret, a Université de Montréal urbanism professor who specializes in rebuilding after natural catastrophes, survived hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 and was consulted in rebuilding that city.

Haiti must avoid many pitfalls in its reconstruction, warns Thomas-Maret: "Elected officials and urban planners from Haiti will have to gauge the needs of the local population in their reconstruction plan. The mistake would be to parachute a team of international experts who would impose their vision without consulting the local expertise."

In New Orleans, a reconstruction plan was recently adopted by citizens and elected officials, close to five years after the disaster. It was a long participative process because an initial plan by an outside committee of experts was very poorly received - precisely what Haiti must avoid. "After providing citizens with temporary lodging and rebuilding the basic water, electricity and sewer infrastructures, decisions regarding the reconstruction mustn't be rushed, because mistakes will be difficult to correct," says Thomas-Maret.

Thomas-Maret says Port-au-Prince was ill prepared to face its earthquake. If the capital had possessed an emergency plan the impact of the earthquake could have been much less dramatic. "That said, urban planning in New Orleans didn't take into consideration the vulnerabilities of its territory," she says. "Three weeks prior to the hurricane, I remember speaking with a hydrologist about the technical possibility of the dikes rupturing. His modeling clearly predicted what happened."
-end-
Thomas-Maret teaches a course concerning the risks of catastrophes and climate change on cities as well as the stakes of sustainable development in urban planning. She also supervises three graduate students who are currently studying the reconstruction of New Orleans.

On the Web:

About the Université de Montréal: www.umontreal.ca/english

About the Faculty of Environmental Design: www.ame.umontreal.ca

About the Université de Montréal Haiti Relief Fund: www.umontreal.ca/haiti/

University of Montreal

Related Earthquake Articles from Brightsurf:

Healthcare's earthquake: Lessons from COVID-19
Leaders and clinician researchers from Beth Israel Lahey Health propose using complexity science to identify strategies that healthcare organizations can use to respond better to the ongoing pandemic and to anticipate future challenges to healthcare delivery.

Earthquake lightning: Mysterious luminescence phenomena
Photoemission induced by rock fracturing can occur as a result of landslides associated with earthquakes.

How earthquake swarms arise
A new fault simulator maps out how interactions between pressure, friction and fluids rising through a fault zone can lead to slow-motion quakes and seismic swarms.

Typhoon changed earthquake patterns
Intensive erosion can temporarily change the earthquake activity (seismicity) of a region significantly.

Cause of abnormal groundwater rise after large earthquake
Abnormal rises in groundwater levels after large earthquakes has been observed all over the world, but the cause has remained unknown due to a lack of comparative data before & after earthquakes.

New clues to deep earthquake mystery
A new understanding of our planet's deepest earthquakes could help unravel one of the most mysterious geophysical processes on Earth.

Fracking and earthquake risk
Earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing can damage property and endanger lives.

Earthquake symmetry
A recent study investigated around 100,000 localized seismic events to search for patterns in the data.

Crowdsourcing speeds up earthquake monitoring
Data produced by Internet users can help to speed up the detection of earthquakes.

Geophysics: A surprising, cascading earthquake
The Kaikoura earthquake in New Zealand in 2016 caused widespread damage.

Read More: Earthquake News and Earthquake Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.