The Border and the Market

Exploring the spaces of conflict and exchange in the Dajabón (Dominican Republic) and Ouanaminthe (Haiti) Border Market

Published June 11, 2020

Samendy Brice.

Samendy Brice, winner of the 2019-20 ARCC King Medal and Department of Architecture thesis prize.

Samendy Brice, a 2020 graduate of the Master of Architecture program, has been awarded the 2019-20 ARCC King Medal, the Department of Architecture's Thesis Prize.

Her thesis examines the Dajabon market and the border between Ouanaminthe, Haiti, and Dajabon, Dominican Republic, as a structural element and condition of exchange along a contested border. Current border and market conditions between the two countries along the Massacre River challenge equal access to food and goods, due to limited agricultural resources and political unrest.

"UB has provided me with many great opportunities, including the chance to experience field research with the support of my advisors and the UB Community for Global Health Equity," says Brice, who studied in the Department of Architecture's inclusive design and urban design graduate research groups. "My thesis not only prepares me for future career interests but also allows me to gain a better understanding of architecture and urban design on a much larger and global scale."

Brice's work was selected by a jury of faculty members from a selection of student research completed over the course of the 2019-20 academic year. 


Since the 2010 earthquake, the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic has emerged as a vital economic engine, where seventy-five percent of the imported food and goods come into the country through fourteen border crossings.

The northernmost border crossing between Ouanaminthe province in Haiti and Dajabón in the Dominican Republic is the most important and contested of these crossings between the two countries. The livelihood of thousands of Haitians depends on the bi-national Dajabón market, located on the other side of the Massacre River separating the two cities. Yet, exclusionary regulations, arbitrary enforcement, and racial tensions introduce major precarities in their lives.

To ease the tensions and provide a more equitable trading arrangement, the European Union has funded a new market structure on the Haitian side, due for completion in 2020. On its own, the structure is unlikely to address the underlying inequities stemming from existing policy arrangements organizing access and trade.

Through literature review, case studies, and field observations, this thesis examines and situates this contested border setting as a condition of conflict and exchange between the two cities. The thesis also speculates on the possibility of a new policy framework based on the notion of a new regional agricultural business cluster, and how the space of the border could be articulated as a marker for a more prosperous Ouanaminthe.


Samendy Brice (MArch '20, BS Arch '18)

"The Border and The Market: Exploring the spaces of conflict and exchange in the Dajabón (Dominican Republic) and Ouanaminthe (Haiti) Border Market"


Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah
Erkin Ozay (chair)
Korydon Smith