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Exploring Haiti–Design for a Populace in Need

AU Students in Haiti

This past September, a multi-disciplinary team from Auburn University including faculty from APLA, Building Science and the College of Agriculture collaborated on a four-day exploratory visit to Haiti. The purpose of the trip was to identify future research and design projects that have the potential to improve living conditions of the Haitian people. Mr. Jim Gorrie of Brasfield & Gorrie, who was also part of the group, generously supported the trip. The group was hosted by the staff of But God Ministries in their compound in the town of Ganthier, situated twenty miles east of the capital of Port-au-Prince. The ministry offers limited medical help to the villagers in the surrounding area; it also builds simple housing units, providing some relief to the housing catastrophe that escalated after the earthquake in 2010.

After an exhaustive analysis of the present conditions at the compound and a number of visits to new developments in the area, the multi-disciplinary team has identified a series of specific proposals to improve conditions of the villagers in the Ganthier area. Building Science is actively involved in the ongoing planning and expansion of housing, and APLA professors Magdalena Garmaz, David Hill and Cheryl Morgan joined the team to identify additional improvements. For example, in Spring 2014 Environmental Design students in Prof. Justin Miller’s ENVD 3100 course will plan an expansion of the existing medical clinic. Several teams of students will produce proposals to be reviewed by the client and hopefully implemented in the near future. Additionally, ENVD students will research and compile a document outlining best practices in disaster-struck areas including sustainable water treatment practices as well as a range of medical and agricultural tools, devices and procedures.

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