10 years on: What Haiti taught us about urban crises and community planning

International Institute for Environment and Development, January 23 2020, London

In the wake of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, significant resources were channelled to neighbourhood-level projects, precipitating numerous innovations in community planning. On 23 January, an IIED event will draw out the lessons learned from the emergency relief and recovery phases that continue to be relevant for the planning community and humanitarian actors operating in complex urban environments.

In January 2010 the Haiti earthquake devastated the capital city of Port au Prince, with significant loss of life and tremendous damage to housing and infrastructure. The impacts of the earthquake directly affected some three million people in Port au Prince and the surrounding area.

The crisis triggered a global outpouring of aid. As part of the recovery effort, more than 50 organisations and the government of Haiti engaged in an extraordinary collective effort of humanitarian community planning that engaged over 30 neighbourhoods.

These initiatives led to a great deal of variation in community planning, but also considerable soul-searching among humanitarian actors who struggled to engage with issues of chronic urban poverty and informality and the complexity of urban systems.

Ten years on from the earthquake, this IIED event will launch a new working paper, ‘Learning from community planning’, by Darren Gill, Laura Smits and Maggie Stephenson, and a related digital archive that reflect on and document the wealth of experience generated by community planning initiatives across the city of Port au Prince after the earthquake.


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