Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Learning from community planning following the 2010 Haiti earthquake

Darren Gill, Laura Smits, Maggie Stephenson

International Institute for Environment and Development



Humanitarian responses to urban crises are focusing increasingly on integrated programming and area-based approaches. This paper contributes to the emerging literature of urban area-based planning in humanitarian crises through a case study of community planning projects carried out in 28 neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince seven years after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. These initiatives involved over 50 humanitarian organizations, and resulted in both practical improvements to living conditions and far-reaching institutional changes in planning policies and the status of informal settlements.

Experiences from the seven years of urban recovery interventions in Haiti also raise questions about the scope of planning, the roles of planners, and challenges around data and coordination.

Learning from community planning in Haiti requires access to the plans developed in Haiti. As such, we retrieved and consolidated extensive planning data from the 28 neighbourhoods and the broader response and made them available through a digital archive linked to this paper. Our intention is that this archive should be useful both in Haiti and for wider reference in future urban crises. We also hope it will promote learning from the reality of implementation for those involved in crisis recovery and urban planning education and policy development.


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