What did Haiti have to say about urban equity at UN’s Colombia talkathon?


wuf7498908Let’s hope Harry Adam, the czar of Port au Prince’s (re)building, returns from the Medellin Cities for Life jamboree with more ideas than took from Haiti. The World Urban Forum ended Friday, April 11, with Haiti proudly participating much in the way of ‘normal’ countries that worry about city-building, sustainable design, easing congestion and basic services for everyone.

(Click here to read my March 12 blog on the World Urban Forum, which is organized by UN-Habitat every two years.)

Anyway, Mr Adam, who has some rather good ideas on how to go about building Port au Prince – slowly, steadily – runs the UCLBP or the Unit for Housing Construction and Public Buildings. (Click here for my Guardian Cities report.) He reports to Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and has a multi-pronged list of tasks: the removal of tent cities and relocation of displaced people to repaired houses; public buildings.

For the last six days, Haiti and 159 other countries discussed “urban equity in development”. One has to wonder what Mr Adam was able to offer because, sadly, Port au Prince has neither urban equity nor development.

Jack Kerouac

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
– Jack Kerouac