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“Building the city”, the first urban national Forum (10 - 18 March 2014)
The CIAT involves citizens in solutions to urban problems

The Haiti Observatory participated in the activities organised by the interministry committee of land-use planning, Comité Interministériel d’Aménagement du Territoire (CIAT) last March. The Forum was an opportunity to see how the CIAT intends to take into account the citizens’ view points about the problems in their cities. A week after the event, the CIAT organised a workshop on land reform allowing different professional corps – lawyers, surveyors, anthropologists and sociologists – to collaborate and share ideas.

One part of the Forum (12 and 13 March) was dedicated to three large official conferences gathering among others, members of the civil society, citizens and city inhabitants and senior managers from Ministries and public organisations. In the first session, the participants discusd the theme of “urban growth” and shared their views on the “urban macrocephaly” of Port-au-Prince, but also the limits of cities, the issues at stake and challenges of urban sprawl, the need for zoning schemes, the environmental impact of urban growth and governance. The Forum did consist of bringing together a panel of experts on the problems effecting Haitian cities but rather it was more of an open space where the point was to listen to the population and furthermore to encourage the citizens to engage in the debate about their cities. They now seem aware of the complexity and interest of the urban question.

However, despite efforts made to make the citizens’ ideas about their cities heard, too few spokespersons from deprived neighborhoods in large Haitian cities were able to put forward their opinions.