Pro Bono



Arcahaie Vision Report: English

Arcahaie Vision Report: Creole

Immediately following the catastrophic earthquake that devastated much of Haiti on January 24, 2010, numerous nations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private foundations and ordinary citizens joined together to contribute to the relief efforts.  As a result of the large Haitian population in Miami and at theUniversity of Miami (UM), along with our proximity to the nation, and long-term partnerships, concern for our neighbor ran particularly deep after the earthquake. From in-the-trenches medical response to grassroots initiatives, community outreach, and fundraising efforts yielding millions, UM provided essential support to help the survival and recovery of the Haitian people. These activities were most pronounced in the immediate days and months after the disaster, but the University continues to make aconcerted effort to ensure that our support and partnerships endure. 

In an effort to best deploy the resources of the School of Architecture in the aftermath, and to make certain the most pressing needs were addressed, the School looked to existing relationships. Following initial trips byfaculty members to Haiti, bonds were further strengthened and the School was able to effectively establish channels of communication with Haitian ministries, government leaders and, humanitarian NGO’s. Attention was given to the chaotic and immediate requirements for safety and reconstruction, but also to the more historically chronic needs of the country.

Through a dialogue that began with the Ministry of Planning and the Commission of Reconstruction, it was confirmed that a considerable number of their staff were lost in the earthquake and that the School of Architecture’s collaboration would involve enabling Haitian planning professionals to continue their work over the coming year. In addition, the Haitian government’s Commission for Reconstruction asked the University of Miami School of Architecture to host a 5-day event to address post-earthquake planning. On March 24-28, 2010, a collaborative workshop, the Haiti Charrette, provided a forum for Haitian architects,planners, and engineers to work with University faculty and students, and design professionals from the Haitian community in Miami. The purpose was to develop spatial concepts for the government’s vision andits Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, as well as sustainable development models for prototypical communities.

The charrette projects focused attention on the following categories: Impact within the Community; Sustainability; Land Use; and Public/Private Cooperation.  The 200-page report was broken down into two sections: one focused on general analysis and recommendations and a second on case studies.  The body of work produced during the Charrette supported the Haitian government’s recommendations and request for backing, presented at the Donors Conference for Haiti in March 2010 in New York.  The representatives of the Haitian government which participated in the Charrette included individuals from the Prime Minister’s Bureau of Counselors and the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation (MPCE), as well as the Conseil Interministériel pour l’Aménagement du Territoire (CIAT), which formulated the mission of the Temporary Planning Office (TPO).  The School of Architecture’s efforts to assist in Haiti’s rebuilding did not end withits initial endeavor. We recognized that the School could help create significant change and have the most impact through efforts that are multi-faceted and unfold over-time.  Several faculty members continue to support health and educational initiatives, spearheaded by other departments across the University.  More recently, Haitian architecture students were hosted for a summer long design course at the UM School of Architecture.