Technology, infrastructure and the future of Haiti

Haiti Rewired

Donations continue to pour in to the Red Cross, Wylef’s Yele and other organizations to help in relief efforts in Haiti. As rubble is cleared out of the way and rebuilding Port au Prince begins, there’s a need to think and plan strategically. Haiti Rewired, a Ning Network created by Wired magazine, is a place to do just that. From their mission statement:

Will foreign aid to Haiti fail this time? Or will the tragedy bring with it a chance to reboot one of the world’s poorest countries — and rethink the the traditional ways of delivering aid and development? Port-au-Prince may be effectively razed and rebuilt from the ground up, and many other communities will be starting over from scratch.

Paradoxically, the disaster may prove to be a unique chance for an architectural and communications reboot of an entire country.

That’s why we’ve created this community, Haiti Rewired. We believe that better answers to the difficult questions could be created through the collaboration of technologists, researchers, geographers, infrastructure specialists, aid groups and others. Our writers and editors can aggregate information, report new stories and add to the discussion, but the focus of this effort is squarely on the thoughts, plans and actions of our contributors.

One of the largest needs is to rebuild housing that destroyed in the earthquake. But how to make housing that won’t be destroyed in a future quake? Members are offering up their suggestions. For example, one member shared that floating houses are inexpensive and durable in hurricanes and quakes. Another suggested an organization, BuildChange, that’s shown it can design earthquake-resistant houses. Yet another wrote about the potential uses of open-source waste-to-power technology.

The issues Haiti is facing are significant; the potential to make a difference is great. Join in the conversation at Haiti Rewired.

About the Author:

Laura Oppenheimer – who has written posts on Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites.


  • Bruce A. Gambe

    I recently inquired at the Fuller Foundation (They started habitat for Humanity) about possible work they might ba able to contribute to Haiti. This is what they said. I put it here so inspire groups to get involved and the info here can be an answer to the housing problem in Haiti. The Fuller Foundation is an outstanding organization! BTW, does anyone know how to recycle cement rubble into useable cement again?

    Thank you for your interest in making a trip with The Fuller Center to Haiti. While the immediate relief efforts have been taking place, we have been hard at work planning and preparing for the long haul, and some promising pieces are beginning to come together. Funds have been coming in, although more is still needed. We expect it will not be too long, perhaps as early as March, before we are able to send down our first work team to take those first meager steps down the long, hard path of longterm rebuilding.

    With the particular urgency of the need, there may be less time before the start of these Global Builders trips than is typical. As such, you may want to begin reviewing and updating your vaccines and making sure your passport is up-to-date. We always recommend that travelers check the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov for the latest information, where a recent article was posted for Haiti relief workers.

    Meanwhile, there is action we can take now. While Haiti is still in the news and on the minds of the world, this is the time to raise the money for the longterm recovery efforts of which you will be part. We estimate that $3,000 will build a simple earthquake and hurricane resistant house. Why not use our new individual fundraising pages to raise sponsorship for an entire house!

    You can also follow the latest plans through our website as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

    Thanks again for your interest, prayers, and effort. We’ll stay in touch.

    Ryan Iafigliola

    P.S. Some folks are also signing up for the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure to raise money for Haiti. Perhaps you’d like to join them?

    The Fuller Center for Housing
    Director of International Field Operations
    office: 229.924.2900

    http://www.FullerCenter.org