"It has long been a pattern that when the government in Haiti changes hands — which has been often, given the country’s history of political unrest — land is often forcibly redistributed," says James P. Stuckey, dean of the Schack Institute of Real Estate at New York University and a former vice president of Forest City Ratner Companies.
The New York York Times presents observations from Stuckey, Elizabeth K. Blake of Habitat for Humanity International, and others about postcatastrophe reconstruction in Haiti and around the world. About Haiti, the article says:
“'We don’t want to build a shelter that will cost $5,000 for a family that doesn’t own the land,' Ms. Blake said. 'We learned the hard way that after the shelter is built, someone else will say the land is theirs and throw the family off, and so the donor money will be spent on some other family and the family in need remains homeless.' About 40 percent of the world’s population is subject to forcible eviction from their homes because of a lack of documentation proving ownership, Ms. Blake said. In Haiti, that number is closer to 70 percent."
"Postcatastrophe reconstruction — which Mr. Stuckey defines as the period following a disaster from Week 2 to Year 5 — is an emerging field in development circles, and it gained momentum after the tsunami that shook Indonesia in 2004. While many organizations focus on disaster preparedness and the emergency humanitarian efforts that crop up immediately after the event, 'there is a void that occurs in the interim period,' Mr. Stuckey said. 'After the humanitarian aid ends, how do you transition to the rebuilding stage?'”
"The devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, provided an opportunity to put Mr. Stuckey’s theory into practice. Starting last fall, students at the Schack Institute began assisting on three development projects there."
"With the help of a $30 million grant from the World Bank, a redevelopment plan is under way, and New York University students have been helping analyze the infrastructure, transportation needs, housing and social patterns, and are thinking of ways to determine land ownership."