TRAVELING, MAYNE/NOW INSTITUTE SUPRASTUDIO
The Mayne / Now Institute SUPRASTUDIO is currently traveling in Haiti, visiting multiple locations in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien as part of a multi-year research initiative in the country examining urban potentials for resilience, cultural development and economic sustainability.
Over the course of a week, Now Institute Director Eui-Sung Yi and a group of 14 students will meet with officials in government, planning and tourism, as well as local architects, artists, engineers, NGOs and community groups. Priority issues are the role and economic sustainability of the historic district, and the ecological revitalization of the River Mapou in the heart of Cap-Haïtien.
In 2012, The Now Institute initiated Haiti Now as an intensive, cross disciplinary research and design project dedicated to contemporary urban issues and design potentials in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. The project encompassed a comprehensive critical analysis of Haitian modern history and politics, a data-driven research investigation of planning, infrastructural, and social issues, and a set of collaborative design proposals developed in concert with Haitian governing and community partners to target reconstruction through the lenses of resilience and culture. A comprehensive publication of the same name is expected in Spring 2014.
In 2013, the Mayne / Now Institute SUPRASTUDIO brought the focus of the study to Cap-Haïtien, the historical and former capital of Haiti, which has experienced dramatic growth in population and commercial activity in the past 20 years. These changes have fueled an uncontrolled growth in informal settlements and strained the capacity of the city’s roads, utilities and the ecology to meet and mitigate the burgeoning demand. As a result, the operations and locations of the city market, the quality of residential neighborhoods and access to cultural centers have diminished. According to studies by the Word Bank, the population of the city has more than doubled between 1995 and 2005 and its area has increased tenfold in forty years, from 1.22 km2 in 1960 to 12.39 km2 in 2002. The Institute’s aim is to respond to these conditions and recognize Cap-Haïtien’s existing cultural and natural assets as opportunities for urban development, economic growth and community enhancement.