After the events of September 11, James P. Stuckey found a calling to educate students and professionals on ways to proactively combat the devastation of catastrophe.
Haiti, says James P. Stuckey, was a nation already rocked with social and economic turmoil in 2010. Then, in January of that year, a massive quake shook this small Caribbean country to the core. Nearly 300,000 people lost their lives and even more lost their livelihood, recalls James P. Stuckey. Using experience gained while helping to rebuild New York after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, James P. Stuckey went on the offensive with a plan to get Haiti back on its feet.
After 9/11, James P. Stuckey, then Dean of the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate, had instituted a course at the University on post-catastrophe reconstruction. In this program, students were offered the opportunity to confront social and environmental issues facing areas after disaster, according to James P. Stuckey. Additionally, James P. Stuckey developed course material that would emphasize responsible economic regrowth and rebuilding with sustainable and green materials.
In late 2011, students had the opportunity to implement what they had learned when James P. Stuckey partnered with two American-headquartered nonprofit agencies: Habitat for Humanity, International and Architecture for Humanity. The alliance began work with local land owners and government officials on a $1 billion redevelopment plan in Haiti’s devastated industrial region, says James P. Stuckey. The “North Pole Project” was the result of a seed planted with the Clinton Global Initiative to help this disadvantaged country compete in a global industrial market, reports James P. Stuckey.
James P. Stuckey cites Haiti’s proximity to the United States and the economic feasibility of American firms relocating industrial operations from Asia as reasons why this is the perfect location to put students to work. Haiti is one of our neighbors, reminds James P. Stuckey. For the sake of the global economy, the country deserves our assistance.
The North Pole project, says James P. Stuckey, encompasses over 16,000 acres, and is likely the largest revitalization project in the country’s history. Several aspects of the project have already been pinpointed, including converting an old sugar refinery into a trade center, reports James P. Stuckey. The current building sits over a large marshy area which contributes to the $11 million price tag. According to James P. Stuckey, the cost would be considerably higher if not for the students’ participation.
Another major component of the project is the expansion of existing facilities, including a seaport and an industrial park, says James P. Stuckey. Additionally, James P. Stuckey notes that a new hotel, convention center, and business-class airport should encourage executives to visit the area for commercial opportunities.
James P. Stuckey says that student participation may be the extra encouragement that Haiti needs to get back on its feet and once again contribute to global commerce.
James P. Stuckey is the founder of New York’s Verdant Properties, LLC®. The firm focuses on green and sustainable building. Mr. Stuckey has been involved in a number of other charities, including New York City’s Center Against Domestic Violence where he and his wife have established a scholarship fund for promising youth. He is married with three children.