According to 2014 WHO’s estimations, in Haiti 74,4% of the urban population live in informal settlements. Due to weak planning practices and law enforcement, during the past 30 years, the urban fabric of the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince developed informally and predominantly configured into private space. Public space results in crowded, dangerous and unhealthy circulation spaces, a problem that exists also in Carrefour-Feuilles, the informal neighbourhood in the Southern outskirts of Port-au-Prince (Haiti), where the proposed project is located. The three newly completed public spaces built by Emergent Vernacular Architecture (EVA Studio) in the framework of the LAMIKA Program, are intended to respond to the scarcity of communal urban space in Carrefour-Feuilles, a neighbourhood which suffered extensive damage in the 2010 earthquake. A year after the construction works completion, the three public spaces, “Place Tapis Rouge”, “Place Kay Alfred” and “Terrain Campeche”, are for residents places of exchange and cultural engagement. The upgrade and the creation of the public spaces functioned as a way to organise the privatised fabric of the informal settlement and to compensate for the lack of adequate indoor housing space. Co-designed by EVA Studio and community members, the three public spaces enhance the participation of different population groups to urban life. As the “public space is the place where legality takes place” (Saskia Sassen, 2016), upgrading and consolidating public spaces in Carrefour-Feuilles, a neighbourhood where the presence and the capacity to intervene of local authorities is weak, is a way to connect the neighbourhood with the rest of the city and enforce human rights and laws. The project shows how public space can enhance community resilience by improving quality of life, providing access to services, ameliorating social cohesion around the care of a common good.
Emergent Vernacular Architecture LTD (EVA Studio)
The Penthouse, Swan Warf, 60 Dace Road London, E3 2NQ