Does Haiti need model urban zones?

Economist argues for new cities, new rules, a new development model for fragile nations

The problem of how to rebuild Haiti brings into new focus the bigger problem of how to deliver aid effectively to the poorest countries. Paul Romer, a Stanford University economist and expert in the field of economic growth, argues for a radical new model in his recent essay for Prospect magazine. He calls for creating charter cities where the sorts of poor governance and failures of the rule of law that hold back growth in fragile nations would be banished. Romer suggests Hong Kong’s history as an example of how it might unfold, but he leaves open the question of whether a single rich country, or a group, of a multinational body, would partner with a poor country on setting up the cities. “In the case of Haiti,” he writes, “if nations in the region created just two charter cities, they could house the entire population of that country.”

Prospect magazine