A participatory process in a Port-au-Prince neighborhood
This assignment consisted of an urban diagnosis and participatory planning in the neighborhood of Christ-Roi, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for the NGO Solidarités International. For 4 months, a team of planners, architects, sociologists, anthropologists and social mobilizers assisted 100 people to develop an urban neighborhood improvement strategy. The results were presented to the mayor and formed the basis of an urban renewal project.
– Solidarités International
The process was divided into four phases: a festive launch, with traditional brass bands that involved people walking through the neighborhood thus enabling them to cross certain “invisible barriers”; a diagnostic phase that included generating thematic maps (water and sanitation, services, leisure and culture, waste, environment, road conditions, etc.); a rehabilitation strategies definition phase; and, lastly, a phase in which the final document was presented to city officials.
The participatory mapping exercises were all progressive. The phase began with training sessions on map reading and awareness-raising on the importance of such tools, at the same time as promoting local knowledge and grassroots map production. After several weeks, the inhabitants had gained confidence in their knowledge and learned about spatial representation. At the end of the process, they were able to hold complex discussions with the team on integrated urban strategies, aware of their neighborhood’s challenges and opportunities.