Heritage, Education, and Urban Resilience: Building Alternative Futures in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

The turn-of-the-century Gingerbread houses are an icon of Haiti’s rich past. While they remain an enduring element of the urban fabric of Port-au-Prince and proved resilient after the 2010 earthquake, more than half have been lost to redevelopment and the ravages of time. Many of these houses have been adaptively reused as educational and cultural institutions, presenting important opportunities for preserving and reactivating this heritage toward greater societal and environmental benefit. In cooperation with the Haitian Education & Leadership Program (HELP), the Fondation connaissance et liberté / Fondasyon Konesans Ak Liberte (FOKAL), MASS Design Group, and World Monuments Fund, a studio of Columbia graduate students in historic preservation and urban planning, with the collaboration of HELP students, embarked on a study of how this Gingerbread heritage can serve an integrative and catalytic function in relation to urban form, creative place-making, and community resilience.


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