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  • City profile: Canaan, Haiti - A new post disaster city
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City profile: Canaan, Haiti - A new post disaster city

Source(s):  Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning (Elsevier)

From 2010 to 2015, Canaan was perhaps the urban settlement with the fastest exponential growth in the Western hemisphere. Technically, Canaan is not a city—at least not in the administrative sense of the term. Nor is it simply a slum on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Instead, it is a vast, new and almost entirely self-constructed post-disaster settlement. In this city profile, we reveal the causes of this unprecedented urban phenomenon, draw a portrait of its current problems and opportunities, and present a critical review of recent policy, planning and management responses. Canaan emerged in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that partially destroyed Port-au-Prince and paralyzed the Haitian government for several months. In a matter of only five years, over 250,000 people occupied a previously empty zone.

Today, Canaan lacks public infrastructure, but it is a relatively functional city. This profile reveals the gaps that exist between different perceptions of Canaan.Exposing the case of this new city sheds light on the impacts that disasters can have on urbanization dynamics. This profile invites readers to reflect on both the positive and negative impacts that the state, the aid industry, and citizens can have on peri-urban development in the Global South.



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  • City profile: Canaan, Haiti - A new post disaster city
  • Publication date 2020
  • Author(s) Pettera , Anne-Marie; Labbé, Danielle; Lizarralde, Gonzalo et al.
  • Number of pages 11 p.
  • ISBN/ISSN 10.1016/j.cities.2020.102805 (DOI)

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