DR Marie Aquilino

Professor of Architectural History, Ecole Spéciale de l’Architecture
Author of Beyond Shelter: Architecture and Human Dignity

Canaan, Haiti: Resilience in the Arrival City

June 29, 2015
 | Time: 
09:15 AM

Four years ago virtually no one lived on this huge swath of dusty territory; the fragile and suffering hills tainted by erosion and extreme exposure though immediately north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.  Born out of crisis, shock, desperation, hope, chance, failed promises, and defiance the region known as Canaan has become a small city. Today nearly 40,000 families have built their homes here, one-third of these as an investment in a future residence. Such “arrival” cities will radically alter our future and change the nature of urban space, forcing us to question everything about the way we live together in cities: from how we govern to what we eat; and from how we share resources to the role of innovation. These arrival cities hold the promise of change and creativity as much as they do the dangers of resentment and exclusion.

Marie Aquilino is professor of architectural history at Ecole Spéciale de l’Architecture (ESA) in Paris and a specialist in contemporary urban redevelopment and risk mitigation. For the past eight years she has been giving seminars on the architect’s role in disaster prevention, mitigation and sustainable recovery as a means of talking with students and professionals about architecture and social justice. Marie is also the author and editor of Beyond Shelter: Architecture and Human Dignity (Metropolis Press, 2011), which aims to inform, educate, and sensitize architects to the best practices of reducing disaster risk worldwide. Marie was honored by the French government in 2011 with a Competences and Talents Visa to develop a program at ESA that educates and trains architecture students to work in the contexts of extreme need and crisis in the developing world. Marie is currently part of an international working group on the reconstruction of Haiti, and is a laureate of the Partner University Fund for her work there in Titanyen. Marie is also co-founder of Future City Lab, an international consortium of architecture schools studying the pressures on urban life. A respected specialist in post-disaster reconstruction, Marie speaks frequently at international conferences. Marie holds a Ph.D from Brown University in art and architectural history and is bilingual in French and English. Her latest book, Abiding Architecture, is currently available online.