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Land, disasters, and built-environment professionals: Examining urban design for post-disaster reconstruction in Centre-ville, Port-au-Prince

Valbrun, Rachel; (2022) Land, disasters, and built-environment professionals: Examining urban design for post-disaster reconstruction in Centre-ville, Port-au-Prince. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines the interrelations between land tenure, vulnerability, and post-disaster reconstruction and interrogates how built-environment professionals influence them. The occurrence of disasters results from social processes that expose populations to hazardous events. Societies’ claims to access, occupy, and own land are processes that influence vulnerability and ultimately influence the impact of disasters. In Haiti, customs that trace back to colonialism inform relationships with land. However, in the attempt to rebuild Port-au-Prince after the 2010 earthquake, recovery efforts demonstrated limited understanding about how processes to access, occupy, and own land evolved and how land tenure influenced the susceptibility of human livelihoods and physical space to disaster. This thesis aims to understand how land tenure, and the vulnerability it creates, influenced post-disaster reconstruction in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. By focusing on urban design proposals to rebuild Centre-ville, the historic district of Port-au-Prince, this research studies the role of built-environment professionals in disaster recovery and how they engaged with rebuilding the city after the disaster. Through interviews, analysis of historical records, and review of design proposals, the thesis draws on social vulnerability theory to explain the influence of land tenure on rebuilding the built environment. The research findings reveal how a history of parallel statutory and customary land tenure systems contributed to vulnerability and disaster risk. The overlapping land tenure systems and associated human exposure rarely guaranteed secure land ownership claims in Port-au-Prince. In the aftermath of the earthquake, insecure land tenure disabled the implementation of urban design proposals for recovery. Land tenure transformed the role of built-environment professionals and impeded their ability to inform reconstruction in Centre-ville. This thesis finds that in Port-au-Prince, the disregard for underlying limitations of land access has encouraged built environment design interventions that perpetuate vulnerability.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Land, disasters, and built-environment professionals: Examining urban design for post-disaster reconstruction in Centre-ville, Port-au-Prince
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10152186
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