Theses Master's

Building Adaptive Capacity: An Analysis of Innovations in Information and Communication Technology in Post-Earthquake Haiti

Marini, Megan A.

New information and communication technology (ICT) platforms that emerged in the humanitarian response to the 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, have been hyped for their ability to spatialize and coordinate disaster relief efforts and, more broadly, to assist short-term mitigation efforts. This research examines the role of recent innovations in ICT in augmenting the adaptive capacity of the Haitian state to carry out mitigation and adaptation planning. Case studies, analysis of communication flows, and interviews were used to assess the state uptake of three different mobile and open source platforms, including: Ushahidi/Noula, SIS-KLOR, and OpenStreetMap. Findings suggest while these new platforms do offer the potential to increase state efficiencies, assess community need, and produce geospatial information, a combination of fear of responsibility, limited resources, lack of local ownership, and path dependency render foreign technologies unsuitable for Haitian use and impede institutionalization. Recommendations focus on shifting practice from investing in foreign technologies to promoting domestic innovation in ICT by strengthening and updating intellectual property legislation and investing in domestic tech firms. This research is relevant to strategic planners, policy-makers, and international organizations working in the IT sector

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Srinivas, Smita
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
May 21, 2012