polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

A View of Haiti from Liberty City

by Hector Fernando Burga

We can usually rely on the lines we draw. I pick up my pen and with determination put marks upon the paper. This is often the starting point of an extended creative process that balances delicately between intellectual rigor and aesthetic pleasure. With the sketch, in studio, we are in a zone we can control, a place of direction, maybe even refuge. And with the unfolding work there is always tomorrow.

But like so many of us, in the past weeks I haven't been able to take the pen and draw with purpose. I’ve become one of millions of spectators to the unfolding catastrophe in Haiti, and I am driven to write about a place whose struggles can’t really be drawn or envisioned in plans, whose suffering reveals the comparative inadequacy of design before the immediacy of death and destruction.

This is not a comfortable place to be at or to speak from. It doesn’t provoke quick solutions or prescriptions. So with humility, and unable to just draw, I want to ask: what can I do? Where do I start.

To read the rest of the story, please go to http://places.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=12677.

Credits: Image from UNDP.