Bonneau, population of approximately 8,000, is located along the northwest coast of Haiti. A rural community, Bonneau is a small town with poor infrastructure, unstable housing structures, and little access to education and skills-based training. Residents must rely on small-scale subsistence agriculture, construction and domestic services for income generation. Only half of the children attend school, as tuition is too expensive. In addition, there is extensive deforestation, soil erosion and inadequate supplies of potable water in the region. Existing public spaces are run-down and inadequate for safe recreation and efficient economic use.
In early summer 2010,Northwest Haiti Christian Mission - NWHCM, requested assistance from KDI to engage the community and design a sustainable children's academy serving up to 500 users in Bonneau,. On October 17, 2010 KDI and SMAQ Architecture set out with members of NWHCM for Northwest Haiti to learn from the community of Bonneau and the existing NWHCM projects.
During community workshops and interviews we heard from residents that Bonneau's isolation means residents face poor access to schools, health care, electricity, higher education, food, water and jobs. KDI found that there were three main areas where a Productive Public Space as part of the children's academy could provide the community with an economic and environmentally sustainable solution: 1. Food Security, 2. Capacity/Skill Building, 3. Safe Public Space for Gathering and Play.
Supplementing The Academy's academic curriculum with income generating programs would allow the project to be both successful and sustainable. KDI made the three key recommendations of a small business incubator, a nutrition program linked to the natural landscape, and agricultural training and a seed bank as essential components of economic and environmental sustainability for The Academy project and community.