URBAN DWELLINGS, HAITIAN CITIZENSHIPS: HOUSING, DAILY LIFE AND MEMORY IN PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Joos, Vincent
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
Abstract
  • Port-au-Prince is today the site of top-down urban planning practices that deeply affect the lives of its residents and the site of vernacular urban reconstruction by Haitian people who attempt to assert their right to the city. After the devastating 2010 earthquake, the state and many NGOs and UN agencies established and administered vast tent camps or provided temporary shelters designed to meet minimal housing requirements to people affected by the earthquake. However, many people refused to live in these hazardous camps and, instead, implemented housing solutions of their own. Staying or moving into the old districts of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas, people started to negotiate their access to resources such as potable water or electricity and their right to use public space for economic activities. Some of these displaced persons live in houses that belong to the national patrimony, like the Gingerbread Houses which are today included on the World Monument Watch List. Though they seem to be able to negotiate their right to stay in these houses with owners, the stability of their settlements is nonetheless threatened by new exclusionary spatial arrangements established by a state that is demolishing neighborhoods at whim. This research explores how displaced persons are appropriating the cultural patrimony of their city to create habitable dwellings and culturally rich neighborhoods, and how these spatial practices shape the collective rights that emerge amid new security apparatuses and destructive urban practices that reduce access to urban space. People are using the cultural patrimony of their city as a situational basis for the production of new rights and spaces of belonging. This use of a material culture echoing the colonization, US occupation and brutal oppression of the masses in Haiti warrants serious attention as it presents a vernacular response to disasters in which fruitful visions for the future of Port-au-Prince arise.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Colloredo-Mansfeld, Rudi
  • Redfield, Peter
  • Middleton, Townsend
  • Slocum, Karla
  • Sawin, Patricia
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
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