We are the second group of six graduate students and a faculty member from the University of Minnesota to travel to Haiti to work with Architecture for Humanity. The first group came in Spring 2011 and documented their experiences here. Now, in Spring 2012, we will track our work here as well, beginning with our arrival on March 19 through our departure on May 8. If you have any questions or comments, please submit them below.

Mar 25

Villa Rosa Site Visit

Jessica and I embarked on our first site visit to the Villa Rosa project on Friday.  Villa Rosa is an informal settlement (similar to a favela) located between downtown Port-au-Prince and Petionville, on the side of a steep hill.  The area was one of those most affected by the earthquake, and the cheaply constructed and unplanned hillside houses were particularly devastated. AFH is engaging the community in a large-scale planning effort to rebuild better; in this case to manage the torrential flooding that affects most of the houses every time it rains, and to insert a number of small public spaces amid the complex network of houses.The team Jess and I are joining has been hard at work both collecting data on every aspect of the area, as well as organizing and meeting with the various leadership groups of Villa Rosa, engaging them in planing their own community through activities ranging from drawing mental maps to building models of development priorities.  The following is a link to an AFH video of their process (I hope this works)

During this site visit, we sat in on a community meeting, then documented the decisions as citizens of Villa Rosa marked out the boundaries of a new pathway through a neighborhood (pictured at top).  It was incredible to see how, with appropriate methods of engagement, real community-based planning can happen in even the most challenging circumstances.