Villa Rosa: Initial Phase

The Villa Rosa city is located in the 6th Turgeau Section/Commune of Port au Prince, the most devastated city by the earthquake of January 2010, covering an area of approximately 500,000 square meters. Villa Rosa limits to the north with Rte du Canape Vert, to the south with Haut Turgeau, to the east with Bas Turgeau and to the west with the community of Ste Marie.

Villa Rosa has been developing over the last 30 years with no or very limited planning. Houses are constructed on mid and high degree sloped terrain, which is not suitable for construction without taking land stabilisation measures. The settlement presents the structure of an unplanned settlement that has been densified over the years, resulting in very small plots (as small as 10m2) and irregular circulation ways. Often connections are over “private” land.

Many houses are multi story structures of various sizes and configurations that go up to four stories (against a steep slope). The most common building method is confined masonry (cement blocks masonry and concrete columns poured after masonry). Families affected by the earthquake are living in tents or in makeshift structures built partly with materials recovered from the destroyed house.

Towards an integrated approach

Overall objective
To assist earthquake affected urban families, to reconstruct their homes, to rebuild their communities, to improve their living conditions and environments, to create sustainable livelihoods and to be resilient to shock.

In addition to physical outputs such as safe houses, water, sanitation, solid waste systems, retaining walls, roads and footpaths, the aim is to build capacity including livelihood opportunities for longer term improvements. It intends to develop appropriate urban planning principles both at neighbourhood level while connecting to a strategic framework for metropolitan Port-au-Prince.

The strategy
The Integrated Approach builds on the existing urban fabric and community’s ability to organise themselves towards a common goal. It recognises that the city and neighbourhoods change every day and that urban development is a process dependant on numerous social, political, economic, environmental variables.

The principle of the strategy is that the communities improve their neighbourhoods in collaboration with local authorities with technical and financial assistance from international and local partners.

Cordaid, Build Change, IOM (International Organization for Migration), Komite Humanitaire de Villa Rosa, CHF (Cooperative Housing Foundation) and Architecture for Humanity.

Efforts are being made to involve more partners, for example local engineering firms.

Frontline/The World June 2008