Kreyol Settlement Structure

Photo by Remi Kaupp

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Kreyol Settlement Structure is a Haitian environmental pattern–part of “Haitian Kreyol Living Wisdom”(“Kreyol Entelijans Viv” in Kreyol).  It is part of the structure of Haitian towns.

Haitian culture and society is a dynamic blend of African, European and American threads.  In order to be coherent and accessible, landscape and urban structures must accommodate all of these.

From the rural farming compounds to the bustling metropolises of Port Au Prince and Cap Hatien, Haiti’s human settlements incorporate a range of large grain economic, social, and architectural patterns, from the French & Spanish Colonial gridiron city plan, to the more topographically determined landscape and layouts of the agricultural villages and urban Bidonvilles (informal settlements).


Colonial planning was centered on natural and human resource exploitation.  Conversely, a program of refurbishing the Bidonvilles could provide a prospect for the emergence of intense urban as well as rural landscape restoration, an opportunity to humanely harness and leverage the social genius and energy of Haitians in the cities.



Although it initially appears chaotic and disordered, the landscape and urban structure of Haiti is finely tuned to the culture and reality of the Haitian experience.

The Lakou (courtyard) is an essential element of the Kreyol Settlement Structure.

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