Education Resource

Meet the Journalists: Jacob Kushner and Allison Shelley

Writer Jacob Kushner and documentary photographer Allison Shelley traveled to Haiti for their project "Canaan: Haiti’s Promised Land."

In the six years since Haiti’s major earthquake, the world has been focused on building a quake-resistant, investor-friendly Port-au-Prince. But ten miles north of downtown, over 200,000 of the displaced are creating their own solution, with virtually no government or NGO support. Residents are transforming this scrub-covered range of hills with no water, electricity, roads or other city services—biblically named Canaan—into what will soon be Haiti’s third-largest urban center, erecting their own electrical poles, making cinder blocks and trucking in water.

What can a group of impoverished, displaced people—who for six years have been regarded as helpless victims—teach the global aid industry about urbanism in the 21st Century? Is Canaan a promised land or another disaster in the making?