ISSUES IN HAITI'S
Haiti, like many developing nations, lacks a robust building economy. Understanding the problems is not straightforward, as the web of roadblocks inhibiting a successful building economy are complex and intertwined with the entire nation. Assessing these issues requires a look across multiple sectors:
Haiti's history has been wrought with corruption, violence, and poor economic leadership.
This turbulent journey has informed much of the current situation.
The nation lacks a sound economy. Haiti imports most of its goods, but has a very low purchasing power per capita relative to other nations, a situation that prevents the majority of its citizens from being able to afford adequate housing. Haiti exports few goods, and tourism remains low. The largest source of revenue for Haiti is remittances
(money sent to Haiti from family abroad).
Haiti's poor infrastructure reduces production and reliability within the industry. Building codes and land rights are rarely enforced, port transport is slow and expensive, and road quality is very poor. The building economy is not providing secure jobs for Haitians, and lacks a sufficiently educated workforce.
Ultimately, as the January 12, 2010 earthquake showed the world, much of the Haitian building economy has been creating unsuccessful buildings; buildings that are unsafe and under-serving of the people.
The design and construction of buildings are far worse than that of many other developing countries due to years of poor methods and norms that have pervaded the industry. And even just months after the earthquake people are rebuilding under the same flawed system.
In a turbulent world, where natural disasters provide a real and all-too-frequent threat to lives and livelihoods, Haiti must reform its building practices to ensure safety and get the building economy on its feet. With construction costs rising and the economy devastated, the need for cost-effective and sound construction methods is more apparent than ever.
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